Back-in parking on Cooper Ave. to remain until at least spring
For the first time, Judy Douglass of Silt maneuvered her car into a reverse-angle parking space on 700 block of Cooper Avenue Wednesday morning. “I have no idea how you’re supposed to do it, but it looks like I made it between the white lines,” she said as she stood by her car, examining her parking job. Asked whether she thought backing into the street’s arguably counterintuitive new parking spaces was too difficult, she said, “No. Just a little unnerving.”A few feet away, inside the Artist’s Mercantile, shop owner Maria Sippola said she had her own frustrating experience recently trying to back into a nearby parking space. “I actually had somebody try to get into the parking (space) while I was trying to back in from the other lane,” she said, referring to northbound lane of Cooper Avenue. “They were upset because they thought they were supposed to have the spot.”She said her biggest concern about the new back-in parking spaces is the danger from oncoming traffic crossing the double yellow lines to snatch a space while somebody else is trying to back into one.
Just this week, a temporary barrier was erected in the middle of the street to prevent southbound drivers from pulling nose-first into the spaces.The reverse-angle parking spots on Cooper Avenue are here to stay, at least until the city decides sometime between now and next spring if the new parking configuration is working. If the city decides to keep them, more parking downtown could become reverse-angle next June when Glenwood’s street painting contractor is scheduled to return, said Glenwood City Engineer Mike McDill. Likewise, if city officials backpedal on reverse-angle parking, the spaces won’t be repainted until June, he said. The new “candlestick” barrier in the middle of the street will likely remain there for about a month, he said. Meanwhile, the city has stopped ticketing drivers who park nose-first in those spaces, and better signage is on the way. The city is about to add more signs to the street, and will angle them so more drivers can see them as they approach the parking spaces.
The city will soon erect six instructional signs that will detail the three-step process of backing into a parking space, McDill said. But if parking there is still too confusing, don’t be alarmed when Glenwood Police place a friendly note on your windshield. Expect police to hand out warnings for the next few months if you park the wrong way. McDill said that once about 90 percent of drivers park correctly, the city will begin to issue tickets again. “I’m not anxious to get into all that negative reinforcement,” McDill said.Though McDill said he’s received some positive feedback – some from people glad they can unload their trunks from the sidewalk instead of the street – the reverse-angle concept has far to go before it receives rave reviews. Jackie Hill, of Denver, said even a congested city like Boston has better parking than Cooper Avenue. “It’s not difficult,” she said after angling her car into a parking space. “Just kind of confusing. I think it would stink if you were a business.”
And stink it does, say nearby business owners. “They’re angry,” Good Health owner Joe Ruden said of his customers. “They think it’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever seen.”Another drawback, he said: “The older people are really complaining because the older people really have problems looking over their shoulders.”Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson said that backing can be difficult, but it’s safer to back into a parking place rather than back out of a parking place into oncoming traffic. “You have to back up at one time or another,” he said. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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