Today's Question: Back-in parking proposal

Monday, June 15, 2009 | 2:01 p.m. CDT

Pending City Council approval, GetAbout Columbia  has proposed a re-striping of Ash Street between Seventh and Ninth Streets in order to eliminate the current on-street parallel parking spots and replace them with back-in parking spots.

GetAbout Columbia has stated that the experimental parking could provide drivers and cyclists with better visibility and prevent accidents. On narrow, crowded streets, drivers may have difficulty seeing an oncoming pedestrian or cyclist, which can lead to “dooring,” or accidentally being whacked when drivers open their car doors.

While the re-striping project on Ash Street is only being viewed as experimental, Mayor Darwin Hindman told the Columbia Tribune that he is in favor of the new parking system.

“I believe in being open to trials, and I think, ‘Let’s just see. Let’s try it out,’ ” he said in the Tribune. “It’s not proposed citywide; it’s just a trial.”

Some are concerned that the back-in parking would be confusing for drivers since it is not commonly used and would make parking on Ash dangerous.

There are also financial concerns. Shifting of the meters and re-striping of the road will cost approximately $5,000, and the city would lose one parking spot.

Is back-in parking worth a try on Ash Street? Could it work in other parts of the city?

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Ryan L June 15, 2009 | 10:19 p.m.

I'm not sure if I would support this. What exactly is back-in parking? That was never explained.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro June 15, 2009 | 11:54 p.m.

@Ryan L:
("What exactly is back-in parking?")
I'm glad you asked that question and I'd like to take this opportunity to give you my response to your inquiry.
As an avid jogger and walker, (when I'm not just plain joy riding around town in my 8mpg SUV), there are times when I am jogging and I approach areas downtown like that corner Pizza Store. (You know, the one with the bike racks.) Anyways, all too often, there's some bicycle guy who decides to back out his bicycle out of that bike rack, and lo and behold as they back out, wham...I've been cut off or hit by their back tire, or get my foot stuck in their spokes. (The clinical term of this phenomona is "rear- wheelded," and no one really knows how often this actually happens.)
Well there I go, limping away because, as you know both bicycles and joggers do not carry any "street insurance."
Now, with this experimental "back-in" parking scenario, bicycles will be required to "back-in" to the bike rack and have their front wheel facing out into the paths of pedistrians and joggers. This way, when the biker pulls out, he will be able to clearly see the facial expression of the person he will cut off as he pulls out of the rack.
This experiment is of course solely for amusement purposes and poses no inconvenience or delay to the cyclist.
Joggers and walkers downtown can now feel so much more safe in "The District."
What a great idea.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr June 16, 2009 | 4:56 a.m.


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