Altoona installs new, innovative parking style in River Prairie Development

Published: Aug. 3, 2016 at 9:13 PM CDT
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The buildings keep going up in Altoona’s River Prairie Development and soon even more shoppers will line the streets as trails, a park, restaurants, apartments and more fill the development off of Highway 53.

With the new development comes a new style of parking. It’s called back-in angle parking. If you’ve never heard of it you probably aren’t alone. Only a few cities in the United States currently use the parking style.

This type of parking is available on the streets in the River Prairie Development and it’s a decision that the city administrator says was grounded in data. He says a few years back, the new parking style was studied in Tempe, Arizona.

“They had an average of four crashes per month for four years with pull in parking and for a total of 48 crashes per year and when they changed to back in parking they had zero crashes the next four years,” Golat explained.

Golat says the safety aspects of the parking style don't end there. He adds, “You are pulling into the curb so kids getting out can get out safely and get to the sidewalk.”

But what do people using the parking think of it? Lynwood Palmer, who is from Chicago, says backing into parking stalls is something he already does on a daily basis.

“They say if you back in that you won’t hit someone when you pull out. That's the theory behind it, but I do it for convenience,” he explained.

But Golat says he has already received some negative reviews of the new parking style.

“Driving is something that is habit based and something different can throw people off,” he said.

Golat says the city does have more traditional options for parking available in the new development but he is hoping the public will catch on to the new trend.

Right now, the city is not enforcing the back-in only style of parking as people adjust to the change. Golat says as the river prairie development grows the city will likely start issuing tickets for drivers who fail to comply.

You can watch the full interview with Mike Golat on the decision to select back-in angle parking by scrolling to the top of this screen.