A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Decision 6 years ago still yields citations

Written August 16th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Cars parked outside the Albany Post Office on Monday afternoon, Aug. 15, 2022.

See that little yellow thing on the windshield? It’s a parking ticket, and it illustrates that a decision Albany city officials made six years ago still serves to irritate some people.

It was in May 2016 that the advisory board of the CARA urban renewal program recommended that parking outside the Albany Post Office on Second Avenue be reconfigured to require backing into a slot on the left side of a one-way street.

This caused quite a bit of consternation during the first few months the arrangement was in place. Most people had no problem with it and the rest of us eventually learned to adapt. And getting a truck with a rear-view camera made it easier.

But not everybody has gone along, or does so all the time. Now and then, you still see a vehicle parked nose-in, which is a bit of a feat because it requires drivers to make almost a U-turn on the narrow street.

There are signs saying something about back-in parking only. But who looks at little signs when pulling into a parking slot?

So, the left-hand back-in parking continues to yield opportunities for issuing tickets and, while providing a little revenue for downtown parking enforcement, making at least a few drivers mad. (hh)

29 responses to “Decision 6 years ago still yields citations”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    When I first got my ODL many years ago, it was required to know how to successfully parallel park. This is the same driving skill needed to back-in park. To me, back-in parking is actually easy and much safer than diagonal parking. Ironically, in 100-year-old photos of Albany’s First Avenue, cars were parked “back-in”; today it is all parallel parking. If all of First Avenue were “back-in” parking; there would be more available spaces. Also, parking would be easier and safer for all.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “But who looks at little signs when pulling into a parking slot?”

    Almost no one of course. However, there’s a huge “hint” when you see all the other cars backed in. At the Carousel, in addition to the smaller ones, there’s very large (very hard to miss) sign as you get to the parking slots. When we notice it happening, we will go out and give a “heads up!” to the drivers. 98% of them then do it the right way. Fairly common excuse I’ve heard is “…I’m from out of state…” As if crossing the border removed their ability to read… LOL

  3. Grace says:

    The rear-end parking is also required on First Street in front of the carousel. While maneuvering my vehicle into a spot, we noticed an officer writing up a ticket for yet another offender.

  4. Pam Briggs says:

    You can tell how much people dislike it when there’s a line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot and most of the back-in spots on the street are empty! It feels so much more dangerous backing in to those spots than the old style where you backed out.

  5. Seeess says:

    Is it slightly awkward – sure. Is it the end of the world – no. If someone pulls in nose first, they were either driving the wrong way or did an illegal manuver. Back in parking allows for more cars to park on the narrow street. Previously, there were peak times where it was difficult to find a parking spot to drop something off at the post office.

  6. Stan Baker says:

    Can the albany downtown association legally issue tickets? i called them about it and said they himha around and said they could and i asked for verifcation ! told me they would send me something and I never recieved anything! parking meter guy put a ticket on my truck for mirror sticking out in bike lane. said he already issued the ticket .told him my grandson was driving and told him he was parked okay.He then took ticket off after he said he couldn’t! if they can issue tickets what course do you ! have.

  7. Mac says:

    If you cant back in to those spots you shouldn’t have a drivers license.

  8. stan Baker says:

    albany promotes downtown albany and the carousel .people comes out state to see it then get a lame parking tickets for minor things!

  9. Patricia Eich says:

    I dislike backing OUT of parking spaces and avoid it whenever possible. I back in or choose a drive through so I’m facing out. I even back in my driveway at home. I have a camera but still depend on my mirrors too.

  10. Rich says:

    Can someone tell us what scientific engineering study justified this approach? Can’t be more density as compared to drive in diagonal? I doubt that it is any safer? Seems less efficient as cars have to wait while someone has to negotiate backing in as opposed to waiting for cars to clear when backing out? Logically speaking, it seems to take more time to back in than out. You have a smaller target with more obstacles that are harder to see in mirrors, i.e. spacing within the painted stripes, sign posts near the curb edge, etc. Sure we can adapt and sure we should be able to do so if we passed our driving test, but what did we gain? If it is such a good deal why aren’t other parking lots being set up this way?

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      It’s called CARA-logic. No science needed.

      Presumably, other methods of parking were considered a blight on downtown.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Scientific??? if you back in you have the curb to stop you just like if you drive in. If you back in, people can see you are doing it from a distance so they stop, if you are backing out, 1. you can not see them as well and they can not see you as well. to those who can not back in………….the question is “how can you back out?”

      • Rich says:

        As you pointed out, somewhat sarcastically, arguments can be made for both methods and there is probably a counter argument for each of the points you make. So, without data to justify the safety aspects of each, I ask the question again; what is the benefit? Since it is contrary to most diagonal parking that I’m guessing others have experienced was this an experiment or was it based on some other successful applications?

        • Rich Kellum says:

          I’ll speak slowly, backing into traffic is more dangerous than backing into a parking space, and if you are elderly it is even worse because many folks have a stiff neck, backing in can be done with a rear view mirror, a rear view mirror does not look down the street when you are backing out., I hope this makes it easier for you to understand

          • Hasso Hering says:

            Well, Rich, about that alleged danger: Every single store parking lot in Albany — all the ones I can think of anyway — have nose-in diagonal parking. If it’s that hazardous, why do city development officials keep approving those parking lot configurations? And why do stores continue putting them in? Presumably because it’s more convenienr and efficient in terms of moving customers in and out of their establishments.

          • Rich says:

            If you do not want to have a civil and logical discussion about pros and cons then please keep your sarcastic comments to yourself.
            Hasso makes a good point so I am not the only one that asks the question.

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            Regardless of how he states it, Rich Kellum is spot-on for his reasoning! In addition, as I recall, we also picked up 30+ parking spaces doing so. Just because it seemingly has always been done that way, doesn’t mean that it needs to be poured in concrete. It’s definitely not hard to do…

          • Rich says:

            Mr. Kopczynski
            I don’t deny that his reasoning relative to safety is a factor to consider but his safety scenario is not the only one. For example, there are back up lights on cars that serve to warn people and maybe reduce that perceived safety issue. Is it not a low speed, low volume street? One could also come up with multiple scenarios relative to safety related to the back in method. So, as far as I am concerned, the jury is still out unless somone can provide compelling data to the contrary such as accident reduction.
            And, let’s clarify the number of spaces gained. My guess is that your number (30+) is related to spaces gained verses the old parallel parking method and that either method of diagonal parking would yield the same number gained? It all depends on how you pour the concrete, as you say.

          • Rich Kellum says:

            Hasso, that alleged danger is that in a parking lot cars are going 5-10 mph and on the street they are going 10-25 the parker car is always going something like 3 to 5 so if you can back out, you could also back in only using your mirrors instead of twisting your neck to make sure you can see. The sarcasm not withstanding. Are we really that woke?

    • Sharon Konopa says:

      There was another important reason for this area to have back in parking and that was for the safety of children. When you have a car load of children to get out of the car the door opening faces the street, with back in parking the door opening faces the sidewalk, so children have no way to wiggle away from their parents while they are unloading more kids from the car, but to head towards the sidewalk. Also for a parent to open their back hatch to get a stroller out of the car, would be towards the sidewalk instead of the street.

      If you are a grandparent like me, it isn’t easy getting two little active grandsons out of a car and I wish there was more back in parking!

      Also, if any of you have hauled around a senior with a walker, it is easier to unload the walker from the sidewalk, than the street. So the reason then for back in parking was for safety. Sure the post office doesn’t have as many children in cars accessing the post office, but the changes for back in parking needed to be consistent around the whole block.

  11. Rick says:

    ParkWise is a downtown parking management program operated under the umbrella of the Albany Downtown Association. We contract with the City of Albany to enforce parking zones within the Downtown area to ensure there is plentiful customer parking.

  12. Hartman says:

    I can never be satisfied until I can see the affidavit. Will Albanians be run over by government overreach, wherein even something as simple as traffic management creates a crisis of confidence in the abilities of our leaders while, simultaneously, pointing to the great fault within each of us. That is why I must see the affidavit!

  13. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    You know, it’s all coming to a head in very different aspects, the repercussions of a city continually voting for a mayor that had no comprehension on what running a city entails or even how to do it. We have nobody to blame but ourselves Albany!

    • Ginny Jordan says:

      HaHaHaHa – you do realize that it is city staff who propose these types regulations, don’t you?

  14. centrist says:

    Ohh, piffle
    The process is initially awkward, but change often is.
    What problem did the change solve? Limited parking.
    Does the City need a blessing from all citizens? NO

  15. Steven Reynolds says:

    We have many residents running for Mayor and Council this term, wide range of political ideologies. I hope we have multiple debates (one for each Ward) and maybe even some good ole fashioned townhalls. I also encourage HH to throw his hat in the ring as moderator.


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