East Main reverse-angle parking a flop

TROY — The city of Troy announced that the East Main Street reverse angle parking experiment will be reverting back to its original parking plan next week.

The reverse-angle parking experiment on East Main Street will end on Sept. 13, weather permitting. The reverse-angle spaces at that location will be re-striped to allow for pull-in parking. The pilot parking project began on July 26. North Short Street’s reverse angle parking was implemented earlier in the summer.

Reverse-angle parking requires the driver to back in with the back of the vehicle toward the curb. This type of “angle-in” parking allows for better visibility for motorists, as drivers pull forward instead of reversing to exit the parking space.

As part of the West Main Street Corridor project, the city was awarded safety funds by the Ohio Department of Transportation to implement safety countermeasures in the downtown area. Reverse-angle parking is one safety measure being trialed.

Nearly 197 comments were received by email or online form to the city — the overwhelming majority of them complaining about the East Main Street area.

One resident stated in the survey, “Wasn’t impressed and it will discourage me from shopping downtown in the future.” Another said, “I won’t be back to Troy until this is changed.”

Troy Main Street conducted an informal survey of its downtown businesses with nearly all expressing negative impact on its business and clientele. That feedback was included in the city’s comments.

Some businesses were indifferent to the change while others expressed concern for their elderly clientele and the overall frustration of parking before visiting downtown businesses.

Blue Bow Boutique and Purebred Coffee Company gave feedback stating the parking attendant would come inside their business to find customers who parked incorrectly (pulled in, instead of back-in). The attendant would ask customers to correct their parking instead of issuing a ticket. While the customers appreciated the opportunity to correct their parking issues, they expressed frustration with business owners that it interrupted their experience.

“As a downtown business owner I believe the rear angle parking has created a huge safety issue for our community,” Noah Walkup said in an email to Troy Main Street. Walkup said he witnessed lots of J-turns, crossing into the opposite lane of traffic, truck beds in the sidewalks, and vehicles hitting trashcans and trees. Walkup noted that he enjoys rear angle parking, but he also has a short vehicle that is easy to back up.

“Our business has been open in downtown Troy for almost three years now and our customers have been affected by every downtown parking change,” Walkup said. “The best parking situation we have experienced was the time frame before this latest change. The four-hour parking in front of our business cut down tremendously on the number of customers that received parking tickets because they were experiencing downtown Troy for more than two hours.”

Many complaints were issued by K’s customers and staff.

MoJo’s owner said the first week the parking was implemented, sales fell 50 percent, the worst week of business since it opened in 2013. He did express it also correlated with the mask mandate.

A handful of residents expressed their positive experience.

“Love it — it shows progress and I think it will help with oversized vehicles sticking out too far into the road,” one resident said. “It will be great once everyone understands it … there may be a learning curve, but overall I am excited.”

North Short Street feedback included: I hate it. Parallel parking is easier; I think it’s a great idea. Parking in Troy is bad anyhow and the bikeways are not helping.

East Main Street feedback included: It’s more difficult to back into space than to simply pull in; Crazy to think this was a good idea; I am OK with it being a younger driver, but the elderly are really struggling with the change; Will only do if it is last resort; Hate it; Not happy with the change; Will not do it again; Stupid; Don’t like it and hopes it goes back to the old way; I love it! Put me down as I love it; Better. Safer. Might weed out some of the bad parkers; Hope it gets changed because people are avoiding the downtown area; Don’t like driving by the cars that are faced towards me. It feels like they are staring at me. Please un-do this. I will seek out other parking instead of using these spots; This is killing K’s business; Watched people while eating at K’s and the elderly really struggled; I think it is awful. Put it back to normal.