Friday, June 30, 2006

Eureka! Moment on parking

Something awful almost happened on the way to Ketchum's meeting on parking.

The driver of a small SUV almost hit two children on bicycles.

The SUV was parked in an angled parking space. The driver did everything right: checked all rearview mirrors, looked to the left, twisted to the right to look out the back of the vehicle, and shifted into reverse. Ready to back onto the street, the driver suddenly saw someone flash by behind the corner of the SUV.

It was the father of a family of four—riding a bicycle in the wrong lane of traffic behind angle-parked cars. Just behind him were two kids on bicycles, too small to be seen behind the SUV. Then came mom, straggling behind.

The family rode on, oblivious to the injury they had narrowly escaped.

The driver of the SUV was shaken.

Later, at the meeting on parking, the driver saw Ketchum's consultant put up a Eureka! idea that could have prevented the near miss: back-in angle parking.

It's simpler than pie.

Cars backed into angle spaces let drivers look ahead and to both sides with a wide range of vision when they exit instead of navigating from an awkward and twisted position.

Back-in angle parking would greatly reduce the odds of collisions between cars and people. It's easier than parallel parking, and the victim of a poorly angled car would be another hunk of metal.

Ketchum would have only to repaint parking lines. Repainting would be simple and cheap—well worth the lives and anxiety it could save. The city should make it happen.

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