The City of King recently received almost $1 million in grants for implementation of the next phase of its downtown streetscape plan developed in 2017. The plan is designed to revitalize the downtown area, make it more pedestrian and bike oriented, and to increase businesses and jobs.
A number of improvements have already been made, including new planters, banners, trash and recycling receptacles, and business façade enhancements. A downtown plaza is under design. The next phase is to enhance the corner bulbout areas and crosswalks.
As part of the project, the City is considering a potential change to downtown parking that would require drivers to back-in to the diagonal spaces. However, because it represents a significant change, the City will be conducting a pilot project test period for two months to try it out and get feedback from the community before a decision is made whether to proceed.
Many cities around the country are implementing what is referred to as “reverse diagonal parking,” which has a number of benefits that have been found to significantly increase safety. Reverse diagonal parking reduces serious collisions by eliminating the need to back out blindly into traffic.
Bike safety is enhanced by enabling cyclists to make eye contact with a driver exiting a parking space. Since doors open toward the street, they block children from running into traffic. It also increases safety and convenience for people loading and unloading items because the trunk is adjacent to the sidewalk instead of traffic.
The concept was proposed to the City for consideration by the Monterey County Blue Zones Project, which is about to expand to King City. The Blue Zones Project is a program transforming communities in Northern America to increase health, longevity and wellbeing. The objective is to create an environment that supports and facilitates healthier lifestyles.
The transition to back-in parking may seem difficult at first because most drivers aren’t used to it. However, reverse diagonal parking is actually simpler than parallel parking that is currently found on the majority of streets. This is because it involves the one movement of backing in rather than two movements of simultaneously backing in and turning.
If the City does decide to implement back-in parking, it is only being considered for Broadway Street, from San Lorenzo Avenue to First Avenue. Diagonal spaces on the adjacent side streets would remain front-in parking. This would provide many parking alternatives for anyone who prefers not to use the back-in parking.
The demonstration test will take place on the south side of Broadway Street, between Vanderhurst Avenue and Third Street, which will be converted for a period of two months beginning on Thursday, April 23. A kick-off demonstration will be held on Tuesday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m.
Everyone is encouraged to try it and then complete an online survey at https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/LlbCGW. The survey can also be found on the City’s website kingcity.com. Contact City Hall at 385-3281 if you have questions.