(Please note the following correction from the City of Somerville:

 On our March 20 press release “TRAFFIC & PARKING DEPT TO PILOT BACK-IN ANGLED PARKING IN UNION SQUARE,” we incorrectly stated that the total parking on Bow Street would be increased by 22 additional spaces.

While the claimed increase of 90 percent in total number of spaces was and is correct, the current number of spaces on Bow Street is 12.. After restriping for angled, back-in parking, the proposed increase in spaces will be at least 10, and perhaps 11.  When finished, the conversion will therefore result in a total of 22 to 23 spaces, not a net increase in 22 spaces as originally claimed.

 We apologize for the error.)

New configuration creates more spaces, greater safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists; pilot program to go into effect on Bow Street in May

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Acting Transportation and Parking Director Matthew Dias announced today that the City will be seeking to install back-in, angled parking along Bow Street in Union Square. The Bow Street installation, which would begin in May, will add 22 new spaces and increase the street’s metered parking by 90 percent. At the same time, the change will greatly improve safety and visibility for drivers as well as for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Like so many of the successful changes we’ve made in best practices and management techniques, back-in parking will begin with a trial period, but we think it has great potential,” said Mayor Curtatone. “This simple change in parking geometry – which has been successful in cities from Washington to San Francisco – is another step in making Somerville a multi-modal community that works for cars and drivers but is also bike-friendly and walkable.”
“The back-in, angled parking pilot is another component of Traffic and Parking’s continuing effort to make parking easier and more convenient for visitors and residents” said Dias. “We’ve combined better payment alternatives – including credit cards – with additional metered parking and better demand management. The statistical evidence is clear: we’ve seen a 20 percent decrease in parking violations after a series of customer service improvements. We also issue fewer meter violations because parking in business districts is now more convenient than it used to be.”
“But there’s only so much we can do through technology and management,” Dias said. ”The next step is to address congestion and supply – which is where back-in angled parking comes into play. It’s an easier maneuver than parallel parking, and nearly doubles the number of parking spaces. What’s really exciting is that this change is also a big help to decreasing conflicts between vehicles and cyclists, since vehicle doors no longer open directly into bike lanes the way they do in parallel parking spaces. Motorists and cyclists can also more easily see each other when cars are pulling out of a space, and pedestrians benefit greatly from the reduction in the width of the travel lane and additional pavement markings.

The City has prepared a brochure on back-in angled parking that is available on the Traffic and Parking website, http://www.parksomerville.com/. Dias said the brochure will be distributed to Union Square businesses prior to public meetings to be scheduled in April. “We expect a lot of questions,” said Dias. “But once folks understand that this means more parking spaces, added convenience and enhanced safety, I think they’ll be excited about experimenting with this new parking configuration.”



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