The future of a popular stretch of Downtown Denton will include something new for many drivers: back-in only parking.
On Tuesday night the City Council agreed during a work session to go with a design for their Hickory Street streetscape project that includes the back-in parking option.
"We have some consultants looking at redoing the entire corridor all the way down to the A-Train Station and up to the Square,” said City Councilman Kevin Roden, adding that the parking issue was a crucial part of the design that had to be figured out before anything else could move forward.
Back-in parking is used in several cities including Austin and Seattle; both were used as examples during the proposal to the council.
It’s a pretty simple concept: rather than pulling straight into an angled spot along the street drivers will instead drive past the spot, which will angle the opposite way, and then back into it.
Roden said there are several benefits to this style including the ability to fit in more spots. Right now Downtown Denton has 234 spots in the area and with this plan it could expand to about 320.
"Perhaps more importantly it's a safety thing," said Roden.
In other cities having the back of the car at the curb has proved a much safer opportunity for people to load shopping items in their vehicles or assist children inside.
Roden said it would also eliminate some of the blind spots that plague Downtown parkers right now.
"You have direct sight to who's coming in on-coming traffic,” he said.
However folks we spoke to in the Downtown were more concerned about people getting use to the new layout.
“Especially those of us who aren't very familiar with backing in," said Denton resident John McDonald, who wasn’t quite sure what to think of the idea yet.
"It might be a hindrance because people are not use to stopping for people to back up,” said Downtown business owner Celesta Douglas, who added that she’s skeptical because of the need for more parking in the area.
Roden said he agrees with the people on this one.
"It's just a new thing,” he said, admitting he even had a little trouble the first time he encountered back-in spots in Austin.
“People are going to have to get used to it, we're going to have to figure out how not to steal a spot when someone's up in front backing up, but I think those are growing pains that we can get through."
Roden said they still have a lot of planning to do but hope to start the project this year; it’s estimated to cost about $3 million total.