COLUMBIA — Back-in angle parking is slated to replace parallel parking on two blocks of Ash Street this week.
The 28 parallel parking spaces on both sides of the street between Seventh and Ninth Streets will be removed and 27 back-in angle parking spots installed on the south side, weather permitting. It will require re-striping and relocating parking meters to the tune of about $5,000, according to a report from city staff to the City Council.
The Public Works Department is conducting the switch as part of the GetAbout Columbia non-motorized transportation pilot program. It is another step the city has taken to protect bicyclists in town.
Instead of parallel parking spots where cars are parked bumper to bumper, drivers must back into a space on an angle with the back bumper against the sidewalk.
“Back-in angle parking helps prevent ‘dooring’ injuries to bicyclists,” said Ted Curtis, GetAbout Columbia’s Program Manager, in a news release. “This is where a driver opens their car door not seeing an approaching bicyclist, and often times the bicyclist hits the car door or may even be thrown into oncoming traffic.”
Jonny Pez, a Columbia resident, said he “rides just about every day.” He has never been “doored,” but he has thought about it while riding next to parallel-parked cars.
“I try to look and see if there are drivers in the driver’s seat of a car, and if there are, I might try to give distance between myself and the car, if there’s room,” he said.
Ash Street is already a designated bike route, according to the release.
Back-in angle parking also provides benefits to motorists, according to the report. It requires fewer maneuvers to back into the spot than parallel parking, and drivers will not be blindly backing up into oncoming traffic. It also provides easy trunk access from the sidewalk.
Other cities around the United States that have implemented this kind of parking have seen fewer accidents between cars and bicycles, according to the report.
This project is part of the $22 million non-motorized pilot program, funded by the Federal Highway Administration. For more information on GetAbout Columbia and back-in angle parking, go to GetAboutColumbia.com.