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Reverse-angle parking causing confusion in downtown Bakersfield

KBAK/KBFX photo

Parking in downtown Bakersfield can be hard. Now, some say it's also getting tricky.

The city of Bakersfield has installed reverse-angle parking stalls on the south side of 18th Street between N and Q streets. They look like ordinary parking spaces. But, instead of pulling into them, you need to back into them.

The city said you can follow three easy steps:

  1. Signal to indicate the upcoming parking movement.
  2. Pull past the parking space and stop.
  3. Reverse into the parking stall at a 45-degree angle.


The city has produced an info-graphic and a video to further assist motorists in the use of the reverse-angle parking.


Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales represents downtown and said these parking spots were recommended by a paid consultant to bring more parking to an area with high demand.

"I know that this idea is new, and many people are questioning the wisdom here, but really the idea is to add capacity for the area," said Gonzales.

He also said studies show reverse parking is more safe, providing drivers with improved visibility when exiting the parking space into the travel lane.

Even though the new stalls are clearly marked as reverse parking, people either aren't getting it, or don't care, and that's causing confusion for other drivers.

"I assumed it would be reverse parking when I rolled up, but I saw all these other cars not reversed parked, so I thought it would be OK," said Bakersfield resident Jonathan Spooner.

Samantha Lochary works at Cafe Smitten and said most people she sees get frustrated with the new parking.

"People will kind of try it, a lot of people are scared of it, so they'll try and back into it and end up just giving up," said Lochary.

Even though people aren't really using them the right way, Lochary said the reverse parking spots are an upgrade.

"Before this it was just parallel parking, and it would get super cramped super quick," said Lochary. "So it's kind of just bringing Bakersfield into the now and just giving people more options."

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