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Otsego plans “road diet” and parking change

OTSEGO, Mich. (WOOD) — Drivers who plan to stop along M-89 in Otsego will soon have to get used to reverse-angle parking.

The main drag of M-89 through downtown Ostego currently has parallel parking. City officials say the new parking plan, which is part of a “road diet” to slow down traffic, will make it easier to stop at local businesses. It will also increase the number of spaces from 39 to 56.

A rendering of planned reverse-angle parking along M-89 in Otsego. (March 9, 2015)
(A rendering of the planned reverse-angle parking along M-89 in Otsego.)

In reverse-angle parking, drivers will stop in front of the angled stall they want, signal, and then back and turn into their space with the front of their car facing the road. When leaving, drivers will pull forward into the flow of traffic.

Detractors say reverse-angle parking confusing and difficult to manage, but city leaders say they think most drivers will see the benefits once they get used to it.

“It’s different,” Otsego City Manager Thad Beard said. “I had to study it to even consider if it was feasible, but the more you research it and the more you look into it, it does seem to be an easier thing to do. And I especially appreciate the idea of being able to exit the vehicle towards the sidewalk and loading the vehicle from the sidewalk, as opposed to now when I parallel park in the downtown, I open up my door to the line of traffic.”

Some have wondered why the city isn’t using traditional angle parking, in which drivers pull forward into a stall. The answer is that it’s illegal. The state only allows reverse-angle or parallel parking along state highways.

If all goes as planned, the reverse-angle parking will be in effect before next spring. There will be opportunities for residents to voice their opinions before then.

The City of Paw Paw introduced reverse-angle parking to its residents last year. Many have since complained.

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