By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
What should we do about parking in downtown Tucumcari? Right now, it’s pretty various.
Parallel parking, where the cars line up along the curb, is pretty much the recent historical norm.
But early in Tucumcari’s history and in cities around the country, hungry to produce more parking space in their downtown areas — to entice more shoppers — it was discovered that angle parking promised to double the number of cars allowed in parallel parking spaces.
Some of Tucumcari’s business owners sought and received approval from the City Commission to allow angle parking in front of their businesses.
But approval for future businesses is on hold, said city manager John Sutherland. It is expected that a planning study for the downtown by the Tucumcari Main Street project will provide some guidance. At least one concern is the highly trafficked areas at the intersections of First Street which is also the 104 Highway artery.
In the past, a lot of studies by many engineers in many cities has gone into the transition from parallel parking to angle parking. Streets had to be wider than two lanes to allow angle parking on one side of the street.
And wider than three lanes to allow angle parking on both sides of the street.
In many cities, angle parking required street widening — or turning streets into one-way streets. But angle parking has been widely adopted in cities throughout the country, indeed, throughout the world.
In Tucumcari, some of unusually wide streets make angle parking easy.
Although most of the angle parking welcomes the oncoming driver with a space that he or she can drive into, there is another option.
In this new approach, the painted lines that outline the angled parking area, are reversed.
And you don’t drive into the reversed angled parking space, you back into it.
Now, backing into the back-in-angled parking spaces is not as easy as driving into the drive-in-angle spaces.
But when the back-in driver has finished shopping, the driver can put any purchases in the back of the car (which is conveniently close to the sidewalk).
And, facing the road, will make it easier to drive off.
So the “back-in angle parking space” could also be called also the “head-out angle parking space.”
Should Tucumcari consider it? Seattle, Washington has used back-in angle parking for 30 years. Salt Lake City uses it. They’re even using back-in parking in in the outback, Australia.
Now, consider a third way of drive-in angle parking in the center of the street. Whichever way you’re going, you can drive in the center street to angle park. But, in both cases, after parking, you become a pedestrian.
You’ve got to walk through traffic to reach whatever side of the street you want to reach.
Does that cover our parking options? No.
Tucumcari might use vertical parking spaces. That is, parking spaces that stick straight out from the sidewalk. Some streets might be wide enough to permit it.
And with vertical parking spaces, you could take your choice, depending on the circumstances. Drive in. Or back in. It’s up to you.
So, Tucumcari could create a new angle in angle parking. A 90 degree angle. A right angle.
Is that the right angle? What do you think? What angle do you prefer?
Chelle Delaney is associate publisher of the Quay County Sun. She can be reached by calling 461-1952 or by emailing: email@example.com