Back-In Parking Here? Somebody Must Be Kidding
I often wonder where these brilliant new ideas come from. Like back-in parking. When the plan for the changes in parking for the downtown area of Southern Pines first came to my attention, I thought it was a joke. And a very poor one, at that. How could anyone possibly imagine that such a drastic change would benefit anyone?
My first concern was for the businesses along Broad Street. I love downtown Southern Pines. It has a wonderfully upscale yet relaxed atmosphere that makes me want to shop there. The only drawback is that finding a -parking spot to pull into sometimes requires two or three drives around the block until I get lucky.
Parallel parking is not impossible, but certainly quite difficult for me - so I refrain from attempting it.
Soon after I heard of this planned change, I spoke with Robert Reeves of the Southern Pines Parks and Recreation Department and David White, assistant town manager. It didn't take long for me to realize my concerns were falling on deaf ears. They told me I was the first person to come to them objecting to the plan.
That is understandable. Apparently, in the world of bureaucracy, a few committee meetings and town meetings -constitute "getting the word out," but in the real world of everyday -people, it doesn't work.
When I brought The Pilot news story to the attention of a dozen or so of my friends, they had the same basic reaction as I did. The upcoming change is so out of the realm of reason that it was hard to believe it was true. Then, we all agreed that businesses would suffer because the parking -situation would be unnecessarily complicated and people would be discouraged from coming -downtown.
It is my understanding that the back-in parking is supposed to make it safer for the bicyclists who come up and down Broad Street. What bicyclists? In my years of pulling in and out of parking spots on Broad Street, I have never once had to stop my maneuver for a bicyclist.
Often, I stop for oncoming cars, many of which allow me to leave so they can have my parking spot. Of course, this parking change is to accommodate all the bicyclists who will be traversing Broad Street after the great Bicycle Plan is put in place to encourage them to come down Broad Street.
Some trendy cities like Charlotte, Cary, Philadelphia and places on the West Coast have adopted this type of parking. Most likely, the drivers in those areas have newer driving skills than many of us here in the Sandhills. What works great -elsewhere may not be the wisest choice here. In many ways, this appears to be another version of "keeping up with the Joneses."
I can see that my shopping habits will most likely change in the near future. The idea of having to precariously back into a space at an angle between two other cars makes me want to stay on U.S. 1 and head on down to Aberdeen, where the parking is much more user-friendly. Backup parking is out of the question for me. I know my limitations.
My attitude as I write this is not hopeful. It's been my experience that when "the city" decides to do something, it happens, no matter how many folks raise objections. This has been true in other places I've lived, so I don't really expect it to be any different here.
No matter how reasonable the arguments against back-in -parking - which are many - we'll have back-in parking in downtown Southern Pines.
OvaJean Siemens lives in the -village of Whispering Pines but says she considers Southern Pines to be her town.
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