The Edmond Sun


March 28, 2014

Bicycle chairman defends reverse-angle parking

EDMOND — Edmond Bicycle Committee Chairman Fred Richard questions whether people who are unable to perform reverse angle parking should be allowed to drive, he said.

Dr. Brad Fielding was granted a continuance at this week’s Edmond City Council meeting regarding his variance request to omit reverse-angle parking in front of his optometry office at 13 N. University Drive. The new parking lines were added late last year at Fielding’s business after the city opened new bicycle lanes along University. The city cites safety for bicyclists as the main reason for introducing reverse-angle parking. Violators potentially could be ticketed.

A clause in the state motor vehicle code may show that reverse-angle parking is illegal, Fielding said. Richard’s reading of state statute does not apply to parking, but is about backing up on a street, he said.

Reverse angle parking is the same as parallel parking, Richard said. Too often people consider driving as an entitlement rather than a responsibility, he said.

“When I took my driver’s test, parallel parking was mandatory,” Richard said. “If you couldn’t parallel park, you couldn’t pass the test.”

Citylink offers services to people who are unable to drive and need a ride to a physician’s office, Richard said.

The Bicycle Master Plan was adopted in 2012 to identify short- and long-term bicycle facility improvements for the City of Edmond in order to create a more bicycle-friendly community.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials offers The Guide for Development for Bicycle Facilities.

“It is the American standard for implementing bike lanes,” said Jan Ramseyer Fees, city planner for Edmond’s Urban District.

The guide calls for either parallel or reverse angle parking when putting in bike lanes. Fielding said reverse-angle parking is not appropriate for placement in front of an eye doctor’s office.

There is no specific mention of reverse-angle parking in front of an eye doctor’s office listed in The Guide for Development for Bicycle Facilities, Richard said.

Cities that have implemented reverse-angle parking include Arlington, Birmingham, Charlotte, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle and Washington, D.C, among others.

“This is not something we are dreaming up on our own,” Richard said. “It is a national standard because it promotes safer situations.”

Only two areas in Edmond require motorists to drive in reverse into a city-owned parking space, Fees said. University Apartments is the second location, north of Fielding’s office, with 12 spaces between Ayers and Edwards streets.

Bike lanes on University from Second Street to Chowning were the first projects developed beginning in 2013, according to the Planning Department. This segment of University changed from four lanes to three lanes with a center turn lane and bike lanes on the outside.

“To me it’s self-evident that it’s a superior way to park, because when you’re pulling out, you can see what’s coming,” Richard said. “I’m surprised it wasn’t considered on Broadway, just north of Second Street.”

Backing from parking onto Broadway in the historic district of downtown is too risky for motorists without a line of sight, Richard said.

University Drive is accessed regularly by Richard on his bicycle route, he said. Reverse-angle parking on the street makes him feel more safe, he said.

“It’s broader than just me as a cyclist. It applies to everyone who is coming behind you,” Richard said. “When you’re pulling out from a reverse-angle parking spot, you can see whatever is coming.”

State statute places limitations on backing. “No vehicle shall be backed upon any street or highway except for such distance as may be necessary to permit the vehicle to enter the proper driving lane from a parked position. Such backing shall be done only after the driver of said vehicle has ascertained that such movement can be made without endangering other traffic,” the statute states.

Another statute explains how cities and towns shall regulate traffic on boundary lines.

“Any city or town may promulgate, adopt and enforce ordinances governing and regulating the operation of motor vehicles and other traffic upon roads, streets and highways that form the boundary line of such city or town, subject to the provisions of Section 15-101 et seq. of this title.”

The Edmond City Council will consider the item on April 14.

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