Macon gets new angle on parking

jgaines@macon.comAugust 27, 2013 

Mayor Robert Reichert hopes the freshly repainted lines on a block of Third Street will spread across Macon.

The block between Oak and Pine streets was closed Tuesday, as city and county workers erased the old angled parking lines and put down new “reverse angle” ones, plus a bicycle lane between the traffic lane and the parking spots.

“This is Macon’s newest block, the wave of the future,” Reichert said.

Drivers will back into angled spaces, enabling them to pull forward to leave.

“If you nose in, you’ve got to back out. If you back in, you can pull out,” Reichert said.

He touts the change as safer for bicyclists and easier for loading packages into the back of vehicles from the sidewalk. It falls in line with the “complete streets” policy the city has adopted, which aims to make streets more welcoming for pedestrians, the disabled, cyclists and drivers alike.

Property owners on the block were informed last week, city Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said. Signs on how to use the reverse angle spaces, made by Central Services, are being posted on each end of the block.

Floore said the block of Third Street was chosen because it doesn’t get much traffic, so drivers can try out the new method without worrying about other vehicles.

Reichert himself became the first to try it, driving onto the blocked off street and backing into a spot in front of the media. He touts the arrangement as easier than parallel parking, but his initial attempt didn’t go well. Reichert pulled out and tried again, this time getting roughly within the lines.

“Fantastic. I like this,” he said. “What do you think, Dave?”

“Well, my folks are wondering if you’ve got some contributors that own body shops,” Bibb County Engineer David Fortson replied, drawing a laugh from Reichert.

Chattanooga, Tenn., and several cities in Florida report great success with reverse angle parking, the mayor said. That’s where the idea came from, through the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Reichert said he’d like to see reverse angle parking replace nose-in parking throughout downtown, especially along the Second Street corridor he hopes to redevelop into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard.

Reichert thanked the Bibb engineering staff, city Central Services Director Gene Simonds and Traffic Engineer Nigel Floyd for their work on the redesign.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.


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