Back when the Ludington Torch first reviewed 'reverse angle parking' in March 2015, the concept was not being considered for Ludington. It was, however, something that I foresaw was coming around the bend in the road. With the latest revelations of the City of Ludington (COL) and Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) collusion in forcing the Ludington Avenue Road Diet (LARD) upon us citizens and our visitors, this aspect of the reconfiguration deserves a new and updated look, to show that it will make the transition from 5 lanes to 3 lanes even less desirable.
If you recall, reverse angle parking (RAP) differs from angle parking in that once a parking spot is found, you signal a turn, stop beyond the spot and back in, this is why it is sometimes called back-in parking; angle parking involves one step of slipping into the spot, just like parallel parking when two or more adjacent spaces are available. Otherwise, RAP is marginally easier than parallel parking between two other parked vehicles.
As noted, Paw Paw adopted RAP in their downtown and nine months later the citizens were up in arms. This southeastern Michigan city spent $100,000 on the update that drove residence and local businesses crazy. According to WWMT Channel 3, "an overwhelming 93% of people surveyed" wanted to do away with the reverse parking situation, even with the knowledge that it would cost more than $100,000 to 'reverse' it back to normal. The village president, noting it as a costly mistake, wished more people would have spoken out against it when it came before the council.
In a public record the COL tried to suppress from being publicly viewed by violating the FOIA to do so, the use of RAP between William Street and Rowe Street (5 blocks, both sides) was depicted clearly on the restriping. Since changes in the law made in 2013 gave MDOT more say on the matter, they issued this executive memoranda in 2014 declaring the tenet of Traffic Safety Note 705-A: "Pull in angled parking will not be permitted on state trunkline. Only back-in angled parking will be considered."
It should be noted the 2017 Ludington Ave Capacity Analysis does not explicitly or implicitly factor in the addition of RAP into the matrix as it should if this change is being considered. This is proper at this point because the Ludington City Council has not had a resolution to allow MDOT to do another capacity analysis based on the proposed change.
It is quite probable that this resolution would be quickly evaluated and passed by the COL if they vote to go ahead with the lane reduction from 5 to 3 in this five block area, since the city manager and DDA members have said one of the benefits for this change would be to possibly create more on-street parking spaces than the current parallel parking arrangement.
There are no existing comprehensive studies or experiments dealing with comparing the relative safety between angle parking and RAP. The limited amount of studies that have compared the two have been very limited on their focus and conclusions. The studies did not identify the causes or types of accidents, did not measure traffic flow, and did not measure the impact on business and they often used invalid comparisons, typically comparing reverse-angle parking to parallel parking rather than to head-in parking.
Most of the proponents for RAP concentrate on the safety benefits of leaving the parking space rather than other factors, involved in parking. Few would argue that it should be safer/easier getting back on the street with RAP, or putting things in your trunk.
It would also be inarguable that angled parking is much safer/easier than doing the three-step original parking than RAP. It does have many other distinct advantages regarding safety and health issues in a downtown setting like it would be in Ludington (noting that cars often park and idle in summer/winter to power the AC/heater):
* Less chance of scraping paint with parked cars when parking
* Less chance of jumping the curb when parking or damaging exhaust system on curb
* improved possibility of parking within the lines
* outdoor dining will be greatly inconvenienced with exhausts pointed at tables
* avenue side vegetation will be damaged by exhaust fumes
* in summer, stores with open doors will have increased exhaust exposure
Many people will be tempted to cross the median and park head-in on the opposite side of the street, a maneuver which most locals will learn not to make over time with proper signage and enforcement, but tourists will make these very dangerous maneuvers during the summer. Medians are often called for, but a turn lane will prevent installation of same.
Unknowing tourists will also not be expecting somebody to stop in front of them between two intersections and start backing up. It should also be noted that a vacant parking spot will be harder to see until you pass that parked truck or van concealing it, meaning that some will be forced to make a rather quick stop to get that parking space. If they don't stop quick, the vehicle behind them will have advanced far enough to prevent them from making it.
Safety, health, and convenience factors seem to point away from RAP when compared to head-in angle parking, and even compared to parallel parking. But the biggest effect may be the one most people don't see at first: the effect on businesses that happen to lie along a RAP street. In Austin, they looked at this aspect a few years ago:
And back in Paw Paw, Sheree Knopp, assistant manager of Lori's Hallmark Shop at 219 E. Michigan Ave., said the reverse angle parking had made customers unhappy in the ten months it was available in her city. "It's really hurt our business," she said.
"Most of our customers are elderly and they tell me they are not even going to attempt back-in parking," Knopp said. "They are circling around, circling around, trying to find a spot in back. We would like to see it changed back to the way it was before."
In Paw Paw, the city council and city manager came to their senses after their $100,000 experiment failed miserably. Let's compare our situation to theirs and learn from their mistakes.
Has there been any determination as to whose idea this is. Did some of the airheads at City Hall come up with this or did the State insist that Ludington citizens should be tortured on a daily basis while trying to park downtown? If this is going to be a reality then one major consideration should be considered in deciding between RAP parking or just pulling in head first and that is most newer cars now have back up cameras which would be a major advantage for backing out of a parking space. Even with cameras, backing into a parking space is still risky business. I hope these bottom dwellers at City Hall are paying attention to what people are saying, that this is not a good idea. Excellent research X.
Like a lot of things generated at city hall, nobody wants to claim motherhood or fatherhood of this crazy idea. One has to consider that some of the dotty minds of MDOT likely endorse RAP and road diets even when it's not prudent when city officials bring it up to them as a possibility to enhance their downtown, since it is trendy to do such things. Plus they do get extra exposure and money for their department when it happens and doesn't turn into a total disaster.
I'm glad you brought up the bicycle safety claims, FS, because I researched why cyclists would be in favor of RAP and could only find them saying that motorists can more easily see cyclists when they re-enter the street.
I hope somebody can debate it better than that because I see RAP as being more dangerous to cyclists than angle parking. I've driven over 100,000 miles on my bicycle over my lifespan, and a good reason for surviving that long is that when my bicycle and I are in a complex downtown area I presume that I am as good as invisible to drivers not directly behind me. RAP vehicles will shoot out of their parking spaces when they see no other vehicles coming even when a bicyclist is coming up on the right portion of the right lane.
In parallel parking, there is always the fear that if you don't stay out in the lane past the 'door zone' you could get nailed, so as long as you do that, you're okay provided the car traffic behind you have a spare lane to pass you or are at least a little patient. In angle parking, you get the benefit of seeing the reverse and brake lights of a car that is about to back out, and then it generally backs out slowly, enough for you to avoid by changing lanes (if available) or braking. With RAP, the bicyclist doesn't have a clue as to whether a vehicle is ready to shoot out into traffic, even if they apparently are looking right at you before, it just pops out in front of you (or into you) without any warning. That's dangerous from my perspective, and would be from any serious defensive vehicular cyclist.
Likewise, with bike lanes or extra wide lanes as envisioned for Ludington Avenue, a backing in vehicle will force a cyclist to stop and wait for the maneuver. Then you have to worry whether they will pop out again in your travel space to get a better parking position.
I avoid traveling on Ludington Avenue on my bicycle for the most part now, but I will avoid it like the plague if a road diet and RAP goes in.
I travel around the country , the whole United States that is, and see a lot of cities changing the streets to accommodate cyclist by putting in bike lanes . For all those miles of streets that have been striped and stenciled I have yet to see a bicycle on any of them. Even in our town , I see a few tours come through a couple times in the summer and I see XLFD every now and then on his bike . I see no need to make a special lane for the very few that would use it. Tell me I'm wrong, is there hundreds of cyclist in downtown Ludington that I'm not seeing? As for the RAP , let the city do it, looks like from the video above that they will have to higher more police for traffic control. I can see it now, about 6 guy's maybe more running around with stop signs dodging cars trying to get people to back into spaces while holding up the [ new ] proposed single lane of cars/trucks trying to get through town. It might be the latest cheep entertainment in Ludington.
Dedicated bike lanes are usually a waste of resources and road space, a 4'+ wide shoulder on a well-traveled street serve just as well, if not better. In my opinion, Mason County has sufficient infrastructure in place for riding most everywhere, the most notable exception being the US 10-31 corridor between Ludington and Scottville.
If MDOT had done any thinking back when they planned this section of highway, they would have created regular shoulders and workable facilities for pedestrians in their right-of-way. If anybody needs proof that MDOT is not gifted in their planning and engineering departments, just look at the unworkability of this section of highway, and the fact they have never corrected its main faults.
Bicycle lanes downtown are physically unworkable without making major changes.
As it now stands you have 50 feet of roadway and 16 feet for parallel parking. (5-10 foot lanes + 2 -8 foot parking spaces)
As it is proposed you will have 33 feet of roadway and 33 feet of reversed angle parking. (3-11 foot lanes and 2-16 1/2 foot parking spaces)
Bicycle lanes take up approximately 6 feet each so to come up with an additional 12 feet of room you would either have to drop one of the auto lanes, reduce the width of the sidewalk by 6 feet on each side or restrict down parking downtown to sub-compact vehicles only.
Is this the future the DDA and the city council has envisioned for Ludington?
I must not have explained it well enough.
The 16.5 is measured from the curb to the street at a right angle
At a 35 degree angle this would allow the longest pickup to fit in the space.
The photos of the auto at the bottom of this link show how changing the angle can alter the amount of curb space that is covered. Indeed at an extremely acute angle more space is used than if you paralleled parked.
If you use the graphics on the following link and put in 16 feet 6 inches for the run, 35 degrees for the angle and hit calculate the slope will be the length of the auto that the space will accommodate.
Very interesting links shinblind.
I think the city will put the bike lanes in, I will be the topping on the cake !!!! It doesn't seem to be any more rediculus than the lane reduction or the back in parking.
As shinblind notes, the bike lanes won't be part of this as there is not room for them; even Shay has said as much. This shocked the heck out of me, because I would have figured Kathy MacLean and her bike shop in the heart of downtown would have been the main backers of this goofy plan, and she and her hubby would have insisted on them.
Shay may have got it past her veto by saying a future phase of Ludington Avenue may have those lanes. But without about a million dollars in roadwork, these will never go in. Kathy's husband has plenty of experience in road construction...
About 6 communities in Michigan have 5 ft. passing clearance rules, and the state congress is considering a bill. It's basically meaningless law unless there is a provision in the law that says a bicyclist getting hit from behind is prima facie evidence that a motorist is in violation of the biker's right to the road and should be prosecuted.
No bicycle shall be operated upon the sidewalk in the following portions of the city:
(1) Ludington Avenue right-of-way from Harrison Street on the East to William Street on the West.
(2) James Street right-of-way from Court Street on the North to Dowland Street on the South.
And yet, the DDA has placed bicycle parking facilities on the sidewalk area of those streets in those locations, and no signs alerting folks of the 'no bicycles on this sidewalk' law have been put out. It's effectively non-enforceable, as would some of these local 5 foot clearance ordinances if the law isn't properly signed, the state's MVC says as much. The 100 block of North James doesn't even exist anymore.
That being said, I would advise most riders to avoid the sidewalk, it's generally not as safe as the street.
I must take exception to your last paragraph X. I'd much rather be run over by a grandma on the sidewalk with a walker than a semi on the street hauling sand from a destroyed dune.