The Restless Urbanist wrote about the benefits of head-out angled parking and the considerations in implementing this parking tactic. It’s worth a read as we have many streets in our downtown which could benefit from angled parking, of which head-out has a number of benefits over head-in, especially for bicycling routes.
Great video on head-out angled parking from Dan Burden
In downtown West Palm Beach, we have many east-west streets that suffer from what I would call ‘street obesity’. These are streets that are unhealthy for retail because they place people in close proximity to cars moving 30+ miles per hour, racing from one light to the next. Evernia Street and Fern Street are examples – they have curb to curb widths sometimes approaching 60 feet. This is an unhealthy amount of pavement that hinders the flourishing of the indicator species of success: People walking, people using public space. Angled parking is the only way to narrow some of our downtown urban streets sufficiently (10 feet or less for urban streets) in order to slow cars and promote walking, because the huge curb to curb width means that parallel parking will not narrow the driving lanes sufficiently. Narrower driving lanes mean slower speeds and safer people.
Angled parking can serve two major functions for our obese downtown streets. 1. Most obvious, it provides a greater parking yield than conventional parallel spaces. Drivers also find it easier to park in angled parking versus parallel spaces. 2. Angled parking narrows the driving way, slowing the cars, and putting a huge steel barrier between pedestrians in the sidewalk and automobiles. As Steve Mouzon posted yesterday, sidewalk cafes are one of the best causes and effects of walkability, and they can only be successful on streets with vehicular traffic if patrons feel completely comfortable sitting while cars are moving a short distance from them. Let’s remember that everyone is a pedestrian at some point downtown, even if they arrive by car.
Angled parking isn’t appropriate for every street, but for those fat streets that needs to lose a few pounds in lane width, it can be an invaluable tool.
Of the two types of angled parking (head in or head out), head out has some real advantages that may seem counterintuitive at first, but are worth serious consideration by the City, especially on those streets where we expect and welcome significant bicycle traffic.
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