Downtown backward parking causes backlash |

Downtown backward parking causes backlash

Rachael Windh, owner of the For You Shoppe at 728 Cooper Ave., calls it “the nightmare on Elm Street.””It’s ridiculous,” said an employee of Ray’s Tangle 2 on the corner of Cooper and Eighth Street.”I’ve thought it over, and it’s dumber than a box of rocks,” said Tony Rosecranz of Denver, who’s vacationing in Glenwood Springs and was strolling down Cooper Avenue late Thursday morning.Just what, exactly, is the object of such vehement condemnation?The new diagonal parking spaces on the east side of Cooper’s 800 block, that’s what.The new lines, which were painted onto the street Wednesday afternoon, are angled in the direction of traffic, so each car must stop in the middle of the northbound lane and then back up into the parking space.The idea, said city engineer Mike McDill, is that both passengers and drivers will be safer, both when disembarking from the vehicle and also when pulling out of the space to rejoin traffic.”This works well in other communities, and the other communities that have implemented it have not taken it out. Most have expanded it,” McDill said Thursday.Joe Gocza doesn’t see a problem. Gocza is here vacationing with his family from Indiana, and to him, the back-in parking plan is nothing new.”I’m used to seeing this. All the small towns are like this (in Indiana),” said Gocza, who parked his SUV neatly, with no problem whatsoever.A good number of Glenwood residents, however, are confused and even aggravated at the switch.”Most people ask, why is it changed like this?” said Sabrina Harris, the Glenwood Springs Transportation Manager. Harris, along with employee Janie Daniels, was staking out Cooper Street, on the lookout for drivers who parked incorrectly in the new spaces.”We’ve been here since 6 a.m.,” said Harris.By halfway through the day, at least 30 drivers had to be told that they weren’t allowed to park with the front of their vehicle to the curb. Many, said Daniels, simply got irritated and drove off without re-parking their vehicles.But change is inevitable, and McDill believes that it won’t be long before Glenwood residents accept the switch and adapt to it.”When I was out there after lunch, all but one of the spaces were filled, and they were all parked correctly. I’m seeing people adapt to it very fast,” said McDill.For now, some Cooper Avenue merchants aren’t too thrilled with the change.”Every customer who comes in has said it’s unbelievable,” said Windh, who also said she saw a dip in sales Wednesday afternoon while the lines were being painted.Windh also doesn’t necessarily buy the argument that the new format is safer.”Yeah, it’s safer when you’re pulling out, but not when you’re backing up to park,” she said. “In 26 years, I’ve never seen an accident on this block. I saw one this morning.”Other residents, however, agree with McDill.Kate Maher thinks the format is a good idea, and that it will just take some getting used to.”I think it’s going to work. It seems safer,” Maher said.Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext.

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