Additional parking for downtown Muscatine became available when City officials reopened a portion of Mississippi Drive on Friday, December 8. Mississippi Drive has been closed from Sycamore to Broadway since May. The first two phases of the reconstruction project have been virtually completed and the City will allow local traffic on Mississippi Drive from Iowa Avenue west towards Carver Corner as the project shifts to phase III.
The reconstructed design does not have parking along the eastbound lane (closest to the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks) but there will be parking available along the westbound lanes from Chestnut to the bluffs. Those parking spaces will be back-in angle spaces.
The change from parallel parking or pull-in parking to back-in angle parking was made for safety reasons.
Motorists have better vision of bicyclists, pedestrians, cars, and trucks when exiting a back-in angle parking space and entering moving traffic since their line of sight is not blocked by other parked vehicles. The risk present in parallel parking situations of a motorist or driver-side passenger opening the car door into the path of a bicyclist or another vehicle is also eliminated with back-in angled parking. A third benefit of back-in angle parking is that it also removes the difficulty that drivers have when backing into moving traffic.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Information Center lists other benefits, including increased parking capacity (10 to 12 feet of lateral curb per vehicle versus 22 feet per vehicle for parallel parking), clear sight lines when pulling out, better maneuverability on snowy days, ease of loading and unloading cargo and helping children in and out of car seats, and protection for children because the open car door now directs young children back to a point of safety rather than out into the street.
Backing into an angled parking space is easier than trying to parallel park, but uses the same three-step concept: (1) signal your intention to park using your turn signal as you approach the parking space,
(2) stop once you are past the parking space, and (3) back into the space. With parallel parking you also have to worry about the possibility of hitting the cars in spaces to the front and back of your space, worry about getting close enough to the curb, and worry about oncoming traffic as you try to exit or enter your vehicle. Those are problems you will not have with back-in angle parking.
City of Muscatine parking regulations are enforced starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 10.