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Why only back-in parking at The Marcum? It’s safer, experts say

Hamilton officials did not make a mistake, as some suspected they had, when they created back-in parking on streets north and west of The Marcum, a new complex of 103 apartments, plus restaurants and shops.

A city resident posted pictures of a one-way street, with angled parking that’s opposite the direction of the one-way street, meaning drivers wanting to park in those spaces must back into them.

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“Does anyone else see something odd in these pictures?” the Facebook poster wrote. “I hope someone can explain!!”

“Parking spots are wrong for the one way. Lol (laugh out loud),” one poster responded.

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“Going to (be) a little hard to park!!” replied another.

“The parking looks wrong for a one way street,” wrote yet another.

Parking at The Marcum requires drivers to back in to the spaces and drive in a forward direction when leaving the spaces.  (GREG LYNCH / STAFF)

Aaron Hufford, a senior analyst for the city, said back-in parking, in which drivers back in to the spaces and drive in a forward direction when leaving the spaces, is safer for pedestrians and vehicles.

“Back-in angle parking is a parking strategy that has been growing more popular because of its benefits to pedestrian and vehicle safety,” Hufford said.

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“It is touted as being much safer than regular diagonal parking because the driver can more easily see oncoming motorists and pedestrians while both entering and leaving the parking space,” he added.

It may seem that backing into a space would cause more vehicle dents, but, according to a 2005 study by NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates, “The back-in maneuver is simpler than a parallel parking maneuver. Furthermore, with back-in/head-out parking, the open doors of the vehicle block pedestrian access to the travel lane and guide pedestrians to the sidewalk, which is a safety benefit, particularly for children.”

Back-in parking at The Marcum is safer for pedestrians and vehicles, officials say.  (GREG LYNCH / STAFF)

Another advantage: Back-in parking puts the backs of vehicles (their trunks or tailgates) at the curb, making it easier to load them

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A bicycle advisory committee in Tucson, Ariz., reported that after back-in parking was created in a two-block stretch, the number of bike/car crashes dropped from 3-4 per month to “no reported accidents for four years following implementation.”

Pedestrians likely will be plentiful in the area when The Marcum opens, with people crossing between that development, the new Marcum Park and the nearby Courtyard by Marriott.

One of the most common causes of crashes involving angled parking is the inability of people backing out of spaces to see oncoming traffic. According to the NeilsonNygaard study, “Reverse angled parking removes this difficulty.”

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