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Reverse angle parking on Commercial Street begins July 9

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Diagram shows the simplicity of reverse angle parking. Springfield will give it a try beginning July 11 in Springfield.

Diagram shows the simplicity of reverse angle parking. Springfield will give it a try beginning July 11 in Springfield.

The latest forward thinking among traffic engineers means parking backwards. It's called reverse angle parking, said to be safer and easier once you learn how.

The latest forward thinking among traffic engineers means parking backwards. It’s called reverse angle parking, said to be safer and easier once you learn how.

The City of Springfield Department of Public Works, in partnership with the Commercial Street community, will introduce reverse-angle parking to C-Street as an eight-week pilot beginning Saturday, July 9.

Reverse-angle parking involves parking stalls that are pointed away from the flow of on-coming traffic. Drivers must pull past the targeted spot, stop and signal, then slowly back in. While this style of parking has been implemented successfully in cities nation-wide, C-Street would be the first to utilize it in Springfield.

Transportation experts say reverse-angle parking is safer than standard head-in angle parking because of increased driver visibility when pulling out of a space into on-coming traffic.

The pilot program will involve restriping and posting signs in the pilot area between Robberson Avenue and Jefferson Avenue, near the market plaza. C-Street businesses will distribute information to help educate visitors to the area. All are encouraged to weigh-in on their parking experience through an online survey found at springfieldmo.gov/parking.

“We know this is a new concept, so our focus is to educate the public and then give them the opportunity to try it,” said Public Works Traffic Engineer Eric Claussen. “Our end-goal is to learn whether reverse-angle parking is right for C-Street.”

A 2015 parking study of the booming district found a need for 170 additional parking spaces. While several options are being explored, the quickest and lowest-cost solution is to restripe the existing on-street parking to eliminate the center lane and replace the parallel stalls on the south side of the street with angled stalls.
Angled parking will create over 80 additional on-street parking spots.

While reverse-angle stalls will not provide additional spaces than traditional angled parking, the added safety benefits for vehicles, passengers and bicyclists appealed to C-Street business owners who brought the idea forward in meetings with Public Works.

From 2010 to 2014, there were 10 crashes reported on Commercial Street involving a vehicle backing out of an angled space. This represents 55% of crashes on Commercial Street during that time period.

“C-Street is becoming a popular area with a unique personality,” Claussen said. “We support their effort to be cutting-edge and remain friendly and safe for all who share the road.”

For more information, contact Public Works Traffic Engineer Eric Claussen at 417-874-1212 or Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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