Reverse-angle parking continues to sprout in Syracuse

New parking 21st century style; it's hip to go backwards.

This June, new "reverse-angle parking" spaces debuted on North Salina Street's "Little Italy" district causing some confusion for residents. Most people are accustomed to parallel parking since it is utilized throughout the city of Syracuse and especially in the few weeks before the signs were put up, it was clear looking at the mix of directions cars were facing that no one seemed to know what the protocol was.

"It's [reverse-angle parking] unusual around here," First Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Works (DPW), Pete O'Connor said.

O'Connor explained that the DPW decided to create the new spaces after recommendations from the CNS engineers who did a study on Syracuse's downtown parking situation. The decision was also influenced by complaints from the city's business owners who said that the lack of spaces was affecting their business, O'Connor said.

"Reverse-angle parking" is a series of spaces pointing in the opposite direction of traffic flow. This means motorists must pull past the desired space and then back into it. It is a similar skill to parallel parking, but much easier since the car gets pulled straight back, fender to the curb.

It's a national trend?

Cities across America, such as Portland, Phoenix and even New York have instituted this kind of parking, O'Connor said. Not only does it create more spaces he added, it is safer since drivers pull out of the spaces head first, making visibility and judgment better.

There haven't been many calls to the DPW (positive or negative) about the retooled parking, O'Connor said.

However, when this type of parking was put on Erie Boulevard last year, it caused more of a stir, he said.

"It's new, [residents should] be patient," O'Connor said.

Free for a time

Now, the spaces are free to park in, but that will change in the near future when pay stations are put in. O'Connor explains that pay parking is a strategy to keep people from parking in the spaces for too long. Those parking for four-plus hours are encouraged to park in garages or pay-to-park lots, he said. Not only is it cheaper to do so, it frees up spaces for consumers, he said.

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