Starting Friday July 7, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., shoppers, visitors and citizens have the opportunity to participate in a back-in angle parking study on the west side of the downtown plaza where parking is currently head-in angle parking.
The trial will last for 3 weeks and will end on Saturday July 29th.
What is back-in angle parking? Back-in angle parking is a safer type of angle parking. Instead of pulling into the parking spot and backing out into oncoming traffic when exiting, cars back into the parking spots, allowing them to make eye contact with oncoming traffic when exiting the parking space. Back in angle parking is being mandated in some states when other improvements are being made.
Back-in angle parking works similar to parallel parking. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:
1. Signal a right turn to warn other drivers.
2. Pull past the parking spot and stop.
3. Reverse into the parking spot.
Back-in angle parking is considered a safer alternative for the following reasons:
1. Back-in angle parking is a safer position for driver and passengers to enter and exit the vehicle when going to and from the sidewalk. Back-in angle parked car doors, trunks and hatches open to the sidewalk instead of the street
2. Back-in angle parking provides drivers with better vision of pedestrians, bicycles, and other motor vehicles as they exit a parking space and enter moving traffic.
3. Back-in angle parked cars can drive onto the drive lane efficiently without backing out blindly into oncoming traffic.
4. Back-in angle parking reduces accidents.
5. Back-in angle parking is easier than parallel parking by requiring 1 less turning movement..
In addition to increased safety, back-in angle parking requires less space as compared to parallel parking which means more downtown on-street parking spaces are available; and will not be converted to parallel spaces in the future.
Some disadvantages to back in angle parking may include:
1. Some drivers find the backing maneuver awkward, particularly if they have limited backing experience or the vehicle has poor rearward visibility. This can be overcome by intelligent use of side mirrors and reversing cameras.
2. Inexperienced drivers may take a wider clearance from an adjacent vehicle, resulting in less efficient use of available space
3. With standard angle parking, the driver takes very little time to park, whereas back-in angle parking forces traffic to wait until the maneuver is completed, and could result in congestion.
4. On a two way street, some drivers may attempt to pull into the parking stalls from the opposite side of the street. Paris has one way streets, so this does not apply.
In preparation for the study, the parking stalls on the west side of the plaza will be closed on July 5-6th to install the new parking pavement marking. The City of Paris Traffic Department will cover the existing parking lanes with a temporary markings. “Parking lines will be angled against the direction of traffic indicating that the driver must back into the spot. The spaces will also marked by signs that provide step-by-step directions on how to pull in. There will be a few cars backed in for an example to follow.
Main Street volunteers will be on site Friday July 7th, between the hours of 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. the first day of the study. All who take part in the back-in angle during this time will be given a commemorative button and asked to fill out an opinion card on the experience. The opinion cards will be collected at the end of the day and entered into a drawing for a custom T-shirt with the saying “I backed into Downtown Paris Texas”.
Following the conclusion of this study, city and state officials will consider feedback received and evaluate the success and shortcomings of the Back-In Parking Study. From there, a presentation will be made to City Council on the results and whether or not to make the changes on a permanent basis for all the angle parking spaces around the downtown square.
Only one side of the plaza will be impacted by this trial. As usual, there is parallel, head in, and off street parking available throughout Downtown. A map of the study area in addition to off street parking is available at Paristexas.gov/parking.