Back-in angle parking debuts in South Bend to improve all-around safety

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) --- With the new Howard Park set to open later this fall, South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts wants drivers to get a head start on the equally new parking style along St. Louis Boulevard.

It's called back-in angle parking, the first of its kind in South Bend.

"It's all over Texas. It's in Pensacola, Florida. I've seen it in Wisconsin and Michigan," described Aaron Perri, the executive director of South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts, or SBVPA.

The back-in angle parking process is fairly self-explanatory. SBVPA says to find an open spot, put on your right turn signal, pull past the parking spot and stop, and slowly back into the parking spot.

"We wanted to make the safest possible pedestrian route and motor vehicle route for folks coming to visit the park," Perri said.

He explained that back-in angle parking will make it safer for drivers to see oncoming traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. He says it also will be easier for children to exit a vehicle and for families to unload their trunks, which will face the curb.

When people leave the parking spaces, they will drive with the flow of traffic.

"Backing in a spot isn't as natural as you might think, but it is kind of, what we would call the first half of a parallel parking move. It's certainly simpler than parallel parking," Perri said. "As people kind of get used to it over the next year or so, it will just become a way of life."

Perri expects it will take one year for motorists to learn back-in angle parking, based on his conversations with officials in other cities that also have this kind of parking.

The city will be lenient initially when it comes to drivers mastering the new parking. Eventually, citations will be issued, Perri said.

St. Louis Boulevard reopened Tuesday after construction crews worked on it the past couple of months. It was widened for mixed-use trails.

The plan is for the new Howard Park to open Nov. 29.