AUSTIN - Drive down South Congress Avenue, and you notice the change immediately -- newly striped parking spaces and signs for back-in angle parking.
“It was a lot easier just to park regularly just a couple of days ago,” said Megan Taylor.
The city converted the spaces from forward-angle to back-in angle parking overnight along with adding a bike lane.
“The bike lane is great,” said Edward Hipolito. “It’s much better.”
City officials say the change adds 60 additional spaces to the most popular stretch of South Congress from Riverside to south Live Oak. There are now 400 places to park along the avenue.
“If more cars can park here, that’s probably a good thing for the local businesses,” said Devon Whithon.
City planners say the reverse-angle parking increases safety and visibility.
Erica Taylor says that is not so. It took her more than three attempts to get it right. She even had a city ambassador help direct her into the space.
“That was very hard,” said Taylor. “It was a task. I couldn't see. It was hard to see back.”
Taylor was not the only driver having problems.
“Part of the problem is when you pull up, and there is a car right behind you. I don’t see how this is going to work,” said Dana Harmon. “How does the person behind you know to give you room to back in? I don’t think I like this.”
“I had to angle it a little bit more because I didn't get it in the first time...” said Sandy Pistoni.
The city hired 25 so called ambassadors from Goodwill Services to help drivers. It is paying them a total of up to $14,000 for two weeks.
Despite the signs and city ambassadors directing traffic, some drivers were still parking the old way.
That was not surprising to Rob Lippincott, owner of Guero’s Taco Bar. He has been against the idea since the beginning.
“It is going to slow down traffic on a main thoroughfare in the city,” he said.
“I can see there being a lot of accidents, at least for me, some fender benders,” said Turner.
The city says it will not issue tickets, just warnings, until drivers get use to the parking change.
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