“The angle stalls are pointing the other direction; you have to back into the spot,” said Pacific Beach Planning Group member Don Gross. “It’s better for bikes and for any kind of bike facility like a class 2 bike lane [a striped lane for one-way bike travel on a street or highway adjacent to auto travel lanes].”
The city currently has two existing locations with reverse-angle parking: 1300 East Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach; and Euclid Avenue in San Diego between Monroe Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard. Another at 25th Street between Broadway and B Street is scheduled to have reverse-angle parking soon.
“At this point, reverse-angle parking is primarily going to be used on streets that are either heavily used bike routes or existing and planned bike lanes,” said Gary Pence, a senior San Diego traffic engineer who’s getting the word out about the new, safer parking arrangement.
“Having reverse-angle parking on the street is safer for bicyclists because the motorist has a better view of the approaching bicyclist prior to pulling out of the parking stall,” Pence said. “Reverse-angle parking also provides the motorist with a better view of oncoming traffic while pulling out. Loading and unloading children into and out of the car is safer because the door of the car acts as a barrier and opens to the sidewalk instead of into traffic. Additionally, loading and unloading at the back of a vehicle takes place on the sidewalk, as opposed to a busy travel way.”
Pence said other cities like New York, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Salt Lake City have also had success with this parking configuration.
Gross concedes, however, that reverse-angle parking is a tough transition for some.
“It’s taking some time to get people to figure out how to use it,” he said, noting “signs are posted” informing people that they need to be “backing in” to the parking space.
Gross said it’s encouraging that the city is doing something tangible to make roadways safer for cyclists.
“There’s an added benefit down there with getting strollers out and with kids getting out of their cars and heading right to the park instead of walking out into the street and around the car.”
Advocates point to reverse-angle parking’s benefits:
• Improved visibility and increased field of vision; motorists are better able to see oncoming traffic.
• Decreased collisions and reduced threat of runaway vehicles.
• Improved safety for children and cyclists.
• Improved loading and unloading logistics.
• Improved disabled parking.
• Increased space, as reverse-angle parking doesn’t require as much space to maneuver, resulting in more parking spaces and additional room for sidewalks, bicycles, et cetera.
• Has a traffic-calming affect as it encourages vehicles to slow down.