3 - Central Business District Parking
The wide expanse of pavement provided along US 60 through the Central Business District offers several alternatives for accommodation of parking for the businesses that line either side of US 60 between Sunset Avenue and Ross Avenue. The space allows for parking to be configured as parallel, diagonal or perpendicular. Parallel parking requires 8.5-feet of width along the curb line, but in the typical 300-foot long block in Mountainair, would provide 13 parking stalls. Conversely, diagonal parking requires greater width – 19-feet, but for 45-degree stalls, diagonal parking can accommodate 24 stalls in the same 300’ long block. Perpendicular parking requires slightly less width than the diagonal parking at 18-feet and would accommodate 35 stalls in the 300’ long block. Curb extensions or bulb-outs are an integral part of any of the alternatives. The curb extensions widen the sidewalk area for the width of the parking stall there by reducing the crossing width of pedestrians and allowing pedestrians and drivers to see each other when parked vehicles would otherwise block visibility. Curb extension also eliminate the possibility of cars parking within 20’ of the crosswalk and have a calming effect to traffic. Any option for parking that requires users to reverse into the driving lane is considered detrimental to bicyclists, this includes front-in diagonal parking and perpendicular parking. All of the parking alternatives are similar in constructability. The greatest constrant to constructing any of the alternatives will be the reconstruction of the sidewalk in front of existing businesses. These areas are vital to the business that the serve and any temporary closure will be detrimental to the business. An integral part of the constrution plans will be the traffic control which should proivde detailed temporary pedestrian access routes and require coordination with business owners to complete doorway connections during scheduled buiness closures, such as evenings, which will need to include material curing times. Construction costs are also similar for the parking alternatives as sidewalks get wider, pavement gets narrower.
Parallel Parking (Considered but Eliminated)
The parallel parking alternative through the central business district was strongly opposed at the public meeting and through public comments. This was related to loss of store frontage parking with parallel parking providing 46% less parking than diagonal parking. Additionally, parallel parking requires the driver to enter and exit on the traffic side of the vehicle, which jeopardizes the driver and creates hazardous situations for cyclists as they pass parked cars in the bike lane. A raised center median is not necessary for the parallel parking alternative.
Front-In Diagonal Parking (Considered but Eliminated)
Front-in diagonal parking is a conventional, however this option creates conditions which are mutually exclusive to bike lanes due to safety issue created when the vehicle leaves the parking stall and must cross the bike lane. Bicyclists approach the stall from the right-rear of the vehicle and are likely not visible from the driver’s perspective. A raised center median is not necessary for the front-in diagonal parking alternative.
Perpendicular Parking (Considered but Eliminated)
Parallel parking is a very similar option to head-in diagonal parking. It is conventional and creates the same undesirable scenario for bike lanes as front-in diagonal parking. A raised center median is not necessary for the perpendicular parking alternative.
Back-in Diagonal Parking (Retained)
Back-in diagonal parking, while not conventional or widely used, was openly accepted when presented at the public meeting. The requirement to back into the stall is created through the orientation of the stalls to the adjacent travel lane. Back-in diagonal parking has the following benefits: loading/unloading at the curb, stall departure is forward with traffic, driver is the leading quadrant of the vehicle, facing toward the direction of travel. A raised center median will discourage violations to back-in parking from users on the opposite side of the road from parking head-in. Additionally, a median allows for pedestrian median refuge and street lighting opportunities.