Back-in parking frustrations linger | PostIndependent.com
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Back-in parking frustrations linger

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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People on the streets just don’t like back-in parking, despite the possible benefits it could bring. Back-in parking on Cooper Avenue began a few months ago as an experiment. It was intended to test the waters for possible additional back-in parking sites. The main theory behind it is that back-in parking would create additional spots at a low cost by replacing parallel parking, but on Cooper Avenue it replaced regular front-in diagonal parking, adding no extra spots.City officials have said back-in parking improves visibility, passengers are safer getting in and out of cars and it’s easier to unload items from the back of a vehicle. Back-in parking eliminates the need to back out of spots into trafficThree cars were illegally parked nose-in Thursday around 2 p.m. on the 700 block of Cooper Avenue. Others soon followed. Many cars that did back-in had tires on the white divider lines.”Nobody really ever gets it right the first time,” Larry Gruder said. He owns Glenwood Music on Cooper Avenue and said he’s considering moving his business elsewhere. Friends have gotten tickets and decided to patronize businesses elsewhere, he added.”My sales dropped 35 percent the month they put it in,” he said. “We know of no one who likes it other than the people who planned it.”

Word has it the police department has issued some tickets to people who pull straight in on Cooper Avenue instead of warnings. On Thursday afternoon, a police vehicle drove south past the cars that nosed in, then back north past them without stopping. An illegally parked car remained ticketless about an hour later. Police Chief Terry Wilson could not be reached Thursday. Gad Woodall – visiting from Atlanta, Ga. – backed into a spot neatly and said, “It’s not safe … that’s all. Why wouldn’t you just pull in forwards?”He said it was the first time he’s ever seen back-in parking.”I think people are creatures of habit, and they’re going to keep doing what they’re used to doing,” Glenwood resident Michael Chandler said. He pointed out another car that had parked illegally and crossed a bit over the double yellow center lines when it backed out. Chandler said he noses in when he parks on Cooper.Another problem facing motorists on Cooper comes in the form of ice and snow that cover the lines, making it more difficult to back in to parking spots.Denise Campbell of Faceology and Layers said, “I do get a lot of customers who complain about it. If it would work, I’m all for more parking spaces, but it should be where they can pull in forward.”

There’s less chance of hitting a child when backing out into a street, she said, than backing in toward the curb where kids are more likely to be.Dale Shrull 12/28/06 addedThe back-in parking concept has support elsewhere, even with syndicated columnists Tom and Ray Magliozzi saying it’s a good thing for Washington, DC. The authors of the weekly Click and Clack column that appears in Saturday’s Post Independent, responded to a letter on the subject this week that was posted online.Tom Magliozzi wrote: “The primary advantage is that it’s not terribly dangerous to back into a space because the cars behind you can see you stopping and signaling, and it’s a lot safer to pull out going forward. … Whereas when you back in to a space and then pull out, you pull out hood-first, so you are quickly in a position to see over the hoods of the cars next to you and see if any traffic is coming before pulling out onto the road.”The city previously approved implementing back-in parking on Hyland Drive near Sayre Park. At that location it would actually add parking spots by replacing parallel parking. The project was planned to be complete in mid-November if weather permitted, but it hasn’t happened yet. The project probably won’t go forward until spring, Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen said. Christensen said he has received only four or five negative phone calls about back-in parking over the past few months, and that the number of calls has actually decreased recently as people seem to be more used to it.

City Councilor Chris McGovern wrote in an e-mail that a shop owner on Cooper has council members’ phone numbers on the front door to direct complaints to the council. But she wrote that she has received just one phone call from someone who didn’t like back-in parking. As to possible interference with businesses, the parking spots along the 700 block of Cooper rarely have vacancies, she wrote.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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