Back-In Parking Stalls Causing Confusion

How good are you at backing your car into a parking space? There are now a few places in Omaha where if you don't back in, you could get a ticket.

Two places in downtown, along Leavenworth from about 17th to 19th Streets, and along Howard around 15 Street, the usual angle parking has been reversed. Instead of pulling in forward into a parking stall, you drive just past the stall and back in. And if a driver decides to pull forward into a stall on the opposite side of the street, he or she could be ticketed.

The stalls are angled the opposite way to allow for drivers to back in. All of the areas are marked with signs explaining how to do it. But so far there have been a lot of complaints about the new “back-in” angle parking.

Debbie Bell, who makes deliveries downtown, doesn't like the back-in parking. “It's totally backwards,” she said. “You should be able to pull in forwards. And a lot of the people that don't live down here don't realize that they've switched it, and they will still try to pull in forward.”

City traffic engineer Todd Pfitzer says the back-in parking is safer for several reasons: When the doors of the vehicle open, they help funnel children towards the curb and away from the street. He also says it puts the trunk or the tailgate at the curb making it easier and safer to unload. And the driver has a clearer view of traffic when pulling out of the stall.

Scott Swanson is the president of Copy Cat Printing at 15th and Howard. He says his customers do not like the changes.

“Most of the customers have had negative comments on it,” he said. “We really haven't heard any positive comments.”

Pfitzer says the city is considering expanding the back-in angle parking to other high traffic areas that have a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

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