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King City
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July 30, 2021

King City pulls plug on downtown reverse parking

Two-month test reveals drivers repelled by new diagonal configuration

KING CITY — King City Council members voted unanimously to not continue with the reverse diagonal parking test along Broadway during their June 22 city council meeting.

The city had repainted one side of the 300 block of Broadway for a two-month test period. The city asked for public input on the new parking positions, meant to improve safety for passengers, cyclists and drivers.

Mayor Mike LeBarre said the idea was sparked by the Blue Zones Project expanding in Monterey County, a program meant to help residents live longer lives.

Within the framework of concepts is the idea of built environments, things built specifically to make healthier choices easier. One example would be having fruit at eye-level in a grocery store as opposed to candy.

The parking spots were meant to reduce the severity of accidents when cars leave their parking spaces as well as shielding passengers and loading.

City Manager Steve Adams said the city received 276 responses.

“An overwhelming 81% of respondents strongly disagreed that they would be able to adjust to the reverse diagonal parking,” Adams said. “Input received by email and on social media was also overwhelmingly negative.”

LeBarre said the decision to run a test and then side with the public in not continuing with that test was an example of a council that works on behalf of the community. Despite data showing reverse diagonal parking as being safer, the public dislike was strong enough for the council to pull the plug on the project.

Adams said responses and concerns against the reverse diagonal spots included: trucks backing into poles and furniture while entering a spot; causing drivers behind the parking vehicle to wait while the forward vehicle reverses into a spot; going around a parking driver being more difficult than going around someone parallel parking; difficulty to adjust to having to park in reverse; loss of spaces due to spaces needing to be wider; and being a deterrent for parking.

“We were particularly concerned about the last item because our goal is to attract more people to the downtown and do not want to do anything to discourage people from visiting and spending time in the downtown,” Adams said.

LeBarre echoed the point, noting that city observations showed the surrounding, traditional parking spots would be full yet the reverse diagonal ones would have few cars in them.

“If it is going to hinder somebody from coming downtown, that definitely goes on the con side,” LeBarre said.

The parking spots will return to traditional diagonal configuration when Cal Water completes a slurry sealing and re-striping project, at which point the spots will be painted in their original direction. Adams said that should happen within the next month.

Since the slurry and re-striping was going to happen anyway, there was no cost to the city to reset the spots.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.
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