Angled parking coming to downtown South Bend

Published: Apr. 25, 2019 at 4:50 PM EDT
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Another construction season will bring another installment of street improvements in downtown South Bend.

This time, $2 million worth of work will take place on Michigan Street in the heart of downtown.

Every day is a 90-degree day where downtown parking is concerned along Michigan Street, and that seems to present a certain degree of difficulty.

“Parking is changing from the pull-in 90-degree style parking to the angled front parking,” South Bend city engineer Kara Boyles said. “It’s just a more of a softer degree, 60-degree, 45-degree angle, versus a 90-degree pull-in. So, you typically make that harsh turn into the spot. Now, It's a little bit easier.”

In some respects, finding a space would actually become more difficult in that two spaces would be lost in the switch, and, with angled parking, you can only pull into open spaces to your right.

“Angled parking would definitely make it a little bit harder to find a spot,” downtown driver Matt Wegman said. “You wouldn't be able to have access to both aisles.”

When downtown diner Kelsey Peters was asked what she thought of the switch, she replied: “Sounds like it would help. I don't see where it would hurt.”

Angled parking would be established along Michigan Street between Colfax and Western avenues.

The plan also calls for shutting down two Michigan Street traffic signals at Washington and Jefferson. City studies apparently found that the signals were “unwarranted.”

“When the signal is not warranted, you have these longer cycle times. You have this delay that drivers start to experience when they're at the intersection. So, if they're waiting there or if there's congestion because they're waiting there, maybe they start to behave badly. Maybe they choose to redirect themselves into neighborhoods,” Boyles said. “They might even consider moving fast, running a red light, and so that brings more risk to our pedestrians as well.”

The project also calls for some pavement, curb and sidewalk reconstruction.

Boyles said there are some street lights at the south end of Michigan Street that haven’t worked for years because of an underground wiring problem.

The South Bend Board of Public Works will take bids on the Michigan Street reconstruction project at its May 14 meeting.

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