The following written public comment was submitted to the Amherst Town Council on October 3, 2021 for their meeting of Monday October, 4, 2021.
I am submitting this comment speaking just for myself and not as a member of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC has not discussed this topic.
I saw that tomorrow’s Town Council meeting agenda includes an item to consider adding more back-in angled parking spaces along North Pleasant Street downtown.
For the six parking spaces along the street that currently have back-in parking, I often see some vehicles parked front-in instead of back-in. I have wondered if there is the Town has any enforcement or ticketing regarding vehicles parking back-in. I emailed the Town’s Parking Department on this question a few months ago and received only a partial answer to my query (see email thread below). The list of Amherst parking fines which can be accessed through the main town Parking in Amherst webpage does not show a fine for this. The list of parking fines is here. I have contacted the Council previously regarding my concerns about having back-in angled parking on-street in the middle of Amherst’s downtown. However, a greater concern I have is with drivers who park front-in in the back-in spaces, even with the signs instructing them not to do so and making it clear the spaces are for back-in parking only. For example, this past Friday, during the middle of the afternoon, I saw a vehicle that had parked front-in in one of the spaces pulling out into traffic (photos attached). The downtown was busy at that time of day. When the vehicle backed out into the adjacent travel lane — which is for northbound traffic — the vehicle was facing in the southbound direction. Fortunately, other drivers stopped to allow the vehicle to go over to the southbound lane. Still, it did not seem like a safe situation, and it also added to the traffic congestion on a busy afternoon. My main concern is about safety.
If I may, my suggestion is this: If the Town does not currently have a policy to allowing issue parking tickets to drivers who continue to park front-in in the back-in spaces, perhaps as a start, gentle reminders on car windshields to not do so could help. Those reminders could then perhaps be followed by traffic tickets if needed, if this is or becomes a ticket-able offense.