Charlotte asking drivers to use new way of parking

Charlotte asking drivers to use new way of parking

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by DIANNE GALLAGHER / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianneG

WCNC.com

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:49 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 6:20 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The addition of street parking on Commonwealth Avenue has been good for businesses in the popular district -- but seems to be confusing some drivers.

Plaza Midwood is the first part of the city to adopt "reverse angle parking" areas.

"Basically you back into a space at an angle," explained Larken Egleston, with the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association. "It's a simple concept but it does seem to be causing trouble for some right now. Some people have figured it out, others have not yet."

Egleston said the idea behind reverse angle parking is safety. The spaces are part of the Commonwealth Streetscape Project, which also widened sidewalks, added bike racks and lanes.

"Dozens of cities have it. It's been used in Denver and Austin and it's had some success. It's great if they're parked correctly to pull out more safely -- you can see pedestrians, see cyclists. If they are loading something into the trunk of their car, they do it from the sidewalk, not standing in the road," said Egleston.

Emmanuel Kaunitz works at Okra Charlotte on Commonwealth Ave.

"You see people trying to do it, but there has been a lot of slamming on brakes, some close calls," he said. "A lot of people just do it the odd way. They ignore the signs and pull in, so they have to do a three-point turn to get out. That is pretty dangerous."

The City of Charlotte added signs around the street with instructions stating reverse angle parking is "As Easy as 1-2-3." It also placed ads in local newspapers.

Several drivers said the concept was simple, but the practice is not. They claimed the reverse angle parking feels unnatural and drivers behind them don't wait for them to back into spaces. Several drivers did honk horns and speed around cars trying to park Thursday night. A few cars even pulled into spaces before the driver trying to reverse angle park could pull in.

Kaunitz and Egleston are optimistic.

"I feel like it's a cultural thing. Once people start understanding, being a little patient with each other, it'll be a good decision," said Kaunitz.

"There is a lot of safety built into it," noted Egleston. "But it only works if you do it the right way. I see it as a litmus test -- it works here it could be efficient for the rest of the city."

The reverse angle parking area is on Commonwealth between Pecan Street and The Plaza.

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