Parking spots on one Norman block are facing a new direction. The City of Norman is trying out a new way to park. The Reverse Angle Parking Pilot Project is part of a city initiative to lower the number of fender benders and make the streets safer. David Riesland, City of Norman transportation engineer says, “There has been interest in this kind of parking in Norman since our comprehensive transportation plan was adopted in 2014.” Instead of the parking spots facing oncoming traffic, a driver will pull past the spot before backing in. “Most of the testing is really going to be people driving by and actually seeing it. So they can kind of get an idea of ‘oh that’s how I’m supposed to park.'”
The new way to park is being considered for James Garner Avenue from Acres Street to Duffy Street. The Gray Street two way conversion project starting this year may also incorporate this parking style. “The new parking will make it much easier and much safer to pull out onto Norman roads.”
“I much prefer backing in, I’m typically used to backing in all of my spots so I much prefer this over the parallel parking that we had before” says Hayden Hayes, a resident on James Garner Avenue.
According to the National Safety Council, nearly one-fourth of accidents happen while backing out. But reverse angle parking could have some downsides.
“In terms of backing in, you can see at the road out there we have to pretty much take up both lanes to get into a spot so it’s kind of an inconvenience but at the same time it is nicer that it’s not parallel parking anymore.”
Riesland hopes people will see the safety benefits of the new parking method. “If you look at the way that the cars are parked in these spaces, the back doors open up so that children who exit the vehicle are directed towards the sidewalk not towards the street. If you’re loading packages in the back of your vehicle you’re doing that from the sidewalk instead of standing in the street, so it’s a lot safer for people.”