The City of Austin will install 70 new parking spaces of the “back-in angle” variety as part of the ongoing road improvements on South Congress Avenue. Some drivers have insisted on backing in to head-on spaces for years, but the new parking spaces will be specifically designed to do so.
Back-in angle parking is supposed to be safer than head-on parking because it provides better visibility. Car doors would no longer open into oncoming traffic or bicycle lanes. Unloading the trunk or dealing with car seats would also be easier because the back of the car is at the curb, further removed from traffic.
The city has installed 200 such parking spaces since 2009 along Dean Keeton Street, W. 6TH Street and W. 3rd Street. It says those spaces reduced collisions and bicycle accidents.
The set-up would allow for more than double the spaces that parallel parking would in the same amount of space.
There are some possible downsides to the change. Back-in angle parking brings exhaust pipes closer to the sidewalk and their fumes closer to pedestrians. This could be bad for street vendors, sidewalk cafes and other restaurants with outdoor dining.
Then, of course, there’s this problem: it’s harder to back in than to drive in forward. To address it, the Austin Transportation Department has put out an instructional video so that Austin drivers can study up.