Research | 2013

Back-in Angle Parking in the Central Business District

  • Authored by:  J. T. Nawn

Nawn, J. T. (URS Corporation). “Back-in Angle Parking in the Central Business District,” PowerPoint presentation (source: unknown, undated, circa 2002)

This presentation addressed a study of downtown parking options for the Borough of Pottsdown, Pennsylvania on the fringe of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Pottstown is a former industrial, river town with a declining industrial base. It was bypassed by a limited access highway in the 1970’s and experienced a shift from ‘downtown’ shopping to regional malls, with a corresponding adverse impact on the central business district. The 1 mile long CBD is a main street environment with four through lanes and a center two way left turn lane. Parallel parking along the linear shopping district is insufficient to meet demand. The wide street and lack of adequate parking options was seen as detrimental to downtown revitalization. 

Previous studies confirmed that by coordinating the ten traffic signals along the corridor, one lane of traffic could be provided, while still achieving LOS B. After evaluating a number of options, back in angle parking was determined to be the best option. It accommodated more parking in the area and a new bicycle lane on either side. No maneuver space is necessary as the maneuver can be completed in three easy movements and drivers can more easily reenter the traffic stream. Four other examples of municipal back in parking are briefly reviewed.

Noted benefits to Pottsdown include:

  • Increased parking by 21%
  • Placed more vehicles closer to stores,
  • Decreased pedestrian crossing times by 12%,
  • Gives perception of a more ‘intimate’ street environment,
  • Supports bicycle use.