Jeremy's Notebook

Backing Out of Backing In

May 7, 2013

The Downtown Improvement Board decided this morning to back out of downtown’s back-in parking space system.

“It was pretty much the result of a fairly broad-based community discussion,” explained Ron Butlin, the DIB’s new executive director. “People weren’t comfortable using it.”

Two blocks of downtown parking along North Palafox Place was converted to back-in spaces in 2011. The spaces were converted in an effort to add more spaces and also because the back-in spaces are purportedly safer; there has, however, been consistent community grumbling—from both merchants and drivers—ever since.

Butlin said he hoped to accomplish the reversal within 30 to 60 days. He was not sure how much costs would be involved with the project.

The DIB director also said that no studies have been done concerning the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the back-in spaces. They’re fate was sealed, rather, by community feedback.

“We could spend money on a study, or we could just do it,” Butlin said.

  • Ames May 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    LOL. Yeah. I prefer to back into a vacant space as opposed to backing into traffic.

  • Westsider May 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

    But, but, but now we have to BACK OUT into traffic?! Unacceptable, obvious answer is to remove all the businesses from downtown and build more parking garages.

  • Ames May 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I like the back-in parking, it is simple and pulling out of the parking space is much safer. Drivers often whip around the various options for turning in that particular section of Palafox and the driver who is pulling out of one of those spaces has an advantage view and opportunity to exit the space when going forward as opposed to backing out.
    If a driver has difficulty backing into a parking space…maybe they need to go to an empty parking lot and improve their driving skills.

  • joe May 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I believe the daily reported to re-stripe will cost 10K. Add the cost of studies etc and it would be no surprise if the cost were $50K.

  • helpmehere May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

    CJ – are you saying that Peacock was speaking on behalf of DIB when he made his infamous statement to council? Is the term “dependent special district” one that you coined yourself cuz I don’t see that one used anywhere in the DIB enabling legislation.

  • Nick May 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    How much did this cost us?

  • CJ Lewis May 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Yes, if it was a good idea, they would use “back-in” parking at shopping centers. The “news” here is that we now know that “no studies have been done concerning the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the back-in spaces.” It seems like the smarter move would have been to do the studies “before” changing to back-in spaces. I recall a City Council meeting at which the members were assured on a Thursday night that no changes were made until further studies had been done and the City Council briefed. My wife was downtown the next day and returned home telling me that they were already changing the lines. I called a City Council member who had no idea the change was already being put in place.

    For the record, the DIB is a “dependent” special district of the City of Pensacola. It exercises the municipal powers of the City of Pensacola its Board standing in the shoes of the City Council. Part of the problem is that the DIB does not recognize the authority of the City Council and the City Council does not acknowledge its subordinate role. Last May, John Peacock, who is now on the DIB, scolded the City Council, “You don’t govern!” That is a pretty strong statement to make to the “governing body of the City,” exactly how the City Council is described in the voter-approved Charter.