At last night’s Newport City Council meeting, the Council voted to receive the recommendations of the City Manager for angle parking on Broadway to remain “front-in”. Following here is the letter read and submitted to the Council by Bari George of Bike Newport, asking the Council to become informed as to the reasons that back-in angle parking is the method now recommended by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) as well as bicycle and pedestrian advocates across the country. Following the letter is a list of some of the many cities where back-in diagonal parking is successfully implemented and a few informational links.
December 12, 2012
Dear City Council Members,
Thank you for taking the time to review and consider back-in angle parking as a potentially safer alternative to front-in angle parking as part of the Broadway Streetscape.
It’s understood that the prospect has been discussed and reviewed by and with experts, residents and consultants over the period of time that the Streetscape has been in the design process.
It’s also understand that back-in angle parking is now officially recommended by AASHTO and numerous regional and national agencies and advocates. We encourage the City to take the time to understand why that is the case and to consider the increasing proof that back-in angle parking both improves safety and reduces risks for all users of the roads as well as the passengers of the parked cars.
In addition to the challenges of schedule and budget, the City Manager’s recommendations to continue the plan for front-in angle parking reference three primary findings from the Louis Berger Group’s original report. I’d like to address those three points and encourage additional consideration in advance of a future opportunity to either test or implement back-in angle parking.
1) Low accident rate (2.5/yr over 9 years): Data includes only reported accidents. Accidents and near-accidents occur more frequently than those quantifiable by police or ambulance reports. We can survey residents for more complete information about car-cyclist encounters and near-hits.
2) Public acceptance: Change frequently raises concern in advance of the change. Adjusting to the change is often less traumatic than anticipated. As one example, left side of street parallel parking is a complicated change from right-side parallel parking, but it was mastered easily on Washington Square. We might consider trying out back-in parking in a less busy location. Our residents, including senior drivers, are worried, but they may find that it’s not difficult. We need to help drivers over the hurdle of change, especially when the increase in safety and decrease in risk is so significant.
3) Implementation followed by negative publicity and reversal in Brunswick, ME and Plattsburgh, NY: Dozens of other cities across the country have implemented reverse angle parking successfully. A list of cities is attached here, along with an email conversation discussing where the parking method is in use on major city streets.
The benefits of back-in parking are substantial enough to have gained widespread acceptance and favorable reviews – becoming the recommended method of parking in busy Main Street areas. We need to understand why that is so, and be prepared to consider the method as an improvement in the context of Complete Streets, Livable Communities and Safe Routes to School.
As always, many thanks for your time and consideration.
Very best regards,
Bari George, Executive Director, Bike Newport
cc: City Manager Jane Howington
Cities with Back-In Diagonal Parking
Kelowna, British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
San Francisco, California
Santa Barbara, California
Brooklyn and New York, New York
Syracuse, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Salt Lake City, Utah
compiled from internet search December 2012. Sources available. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other informative links: