Denver creates more street parking by expanding back-in angled parking near Capitol Hill

DENVER -- The City of Denver has added street parking spots near Capitol Hill by expanding an unusual parking technique.
 
Denver Public Works restriped Seventh Avenue between Lincoln and Logan Streets, to accommodate back-in angled parking.
 
"I feel like there's more parking, so it's easier to get a spot," said Denver driver Lizzie Fanckboner. "However, there's a lot of downsides where you can't see around a truck or you can't see if you're trying to cross Seventh."
 
According to the city, there are 80 percent more parking spots on Seventh Avenue by requiring drivers to back in at an angle instead of parking parallel to the sidewalk.
 
"I've noticed that there is generally more spaces available than there was prior to having these," said Fanckboner. "It's actually a lot easier for me to back in."
 
"So, do you like this setup?" asked Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger.
 
"I do," she said.
 
Denver7 put that to the test, by riding shotgun with her as she tried to pull out of her parking spot. Parking next to her happened to be a Dodge Ram 3500 Heavy Duty truck, which was parked face first instead of backed in.
 
"I really can't see anything. I hear cars, but I can't see them," she said as she tried to pull out. "I'm actually a little nervous."
 
The City of Denver lists three main perks for this kind of parking alignment:
  • Improved driver visibility. When exiting a parking space, the driver is facing forward allowing a better view of traffic and cyclists.
  • Improved safety for children. Car doors open in a direction that directs children toward the rear of the vehicle and to the sidewalk instead of the street.
  • Improved loading and unloading.  Trunks are adjacent to the sidewalk, which allows loading and unloading to occur outside of the traveled roadway.
"She can't see what's coming," said Lizzie's friend Lauren Davis. "She basically has to be in the lane of traffic before she sees that she's going to get hit."
 
It took some creeping and slamming on the brakes twice, but she eventually made it out of the spot without getting hit.
 
"I feel like there's a blind spot off to the driver's side," said driver Susan Craig. "If I tried to pull out, I don’t know if I'd be able to see that well to see if someone was coming by, especially if there's a bigger car next to me."
 
This type of parking alignment has existed at Seventh Avenue between Logan and Pennsylvania Streets since October 2014, to coincide with the September 2014 opening of the Capitol Hill Trader Joe's.
 
The city used that alignment as a testing ground to determine if it could be expanded.
 
Even though it's been used successfully for two years, we found drivers parked crooked and nearly in two lanes on Monday night.
 
"I didn't know if I was making other people mad," said driver Tyson Twiford, who had to pull into traffic multiple times to park around a crooked car. "But, I was also grateful to find a parking spot," he said.
 
"I thought it was going to be easy, but it was very awkward," said driver Brittany Winn, who initially backed in to two spots.
 
Some drivers nearly parked face first, but it wasn't clear if they gave up when they realized they would be parked the wrong way or because Denver7 was recording while they were parking.
 
Ryan and Amy O'Brien parked face first because they saw two other cars next to them parked the same way.
 
"Do you want to turn around?" Amy asked Ryan.
 
"No, no it's fine," he said.
 
"We have to be at the Pepsi Center at 6:45 p.m.," she said.
 
"One drink and we're out," he said.
 
Drivers can be fined $25 for parking the wrong way.
 
The city studied this type of parking in 2009 for Cesar Chavez Park in the Highlands but determined it would not increase parking spots like it has near Capitol Hill.

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