Upper Willow Avenue Resurfacing Features Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Hoboken, NJ - Monday, August 4th, 2014


Hudson County recently completed the repaving of Willow Avenue from 11th Street to 13th Street. These two blocks, which had 64 vehicle collisions from 2008 to 2013, include an elementary school, a large senior housing population, and a pocket park. As a result, the City of Hoboken advocated that additional traffic and pedestrian safety measures be incorporated into the resurfacing of the street, and the City thanks Hudson County for working to make the street safer. The safety improvements included as part of this project include:

  • Painted textured curb extensions at corners protected by vertical delineators (flexible bollards). They provide increased space for pedestrians waiting to cross intersections, reduce crossing distances, increase pedestrian visibility, reduce vehicle speeds by narrowing the roadway, and reduce illegal parking in crosswalks.
  • High visibility, straightened out crosswalks to further shorten crossing distances and to be more visible to drivers at night. Reduced crossing distances also provide extra time for green lights.
  • “Sharrows” (shared arrows) to guide cyclists and indicate to drivers that the roadway is to be shared with bikes.
  • A striped buffer to keep bicyclists out of the car “dooring” zone.
  • Reverse (or back-in) angle parking.

Reverse Angle Parking FAQ

Q: What is reverse angle parking?
A: Reverse angle parking is a safer type of angle parking. Instead of pulling into the parking spot, cars back into their spots, allowing them to make eye contact with oncoming traffic when exiting the parking space. The back-in maneuver is simpler than a parallel parking maneuver.

Q: Will this change the number of parking spaces?
A: There are the same number of parking spaces as before, but with the angle flipped.

Q: How does back-in angle parking work?
A: Reverse angle parking is just like parallel parking, except it’s easier (it’s actually just the first maneuver of parallel parking):
1. Signal: Use turn signal to indicate parking.
2. Stop: Pull past the space then stop to make sure no traffic is behind you.
3. Reverse: Reverse into the parking spot.

Q: What are the benefits of reverse angle parking?
1. Improved visibility and increased field of vision. When leaving the parking space, motorists are able to see oncoming traffic.
2. Decreased number of collisions. Motorists no longer have to back out blindly from their parking space.
3. Improved safety for children. Car doors open in a manner that directs children to the back of the vehicle, ushering them towards the sidewalk rather than the street.
4. Improved safety for cyclists. Car doors that open will not result in “dooring” of cyclists, and as vehicles exit their parking stall, they are able to see cyclists in the roadway.
5. Improved loading and unloading. Trunks are adjacent to the sidewalk and open car doors offer protection from the street, allowing loading and unloading to occur at the curb instead of in the traveled roadway.

Q: Is backing into the stalls difficult?
A: The backing maneuver may be unfamiliar at first, but it is easier than parallel parking, a common task on Hoboken streets.

Q: It’s so easy just to pull forward into a standard angle stall. Doesn’t this convenience make it the best parking method?
A: It is a matter of safety and when you want convenience. With standard angle parking it’s simple to pull in, but difficult to pull out. You have to back your car entirely out into the traffic lane before you can even see the oncoming traffic. With back-in angle parking, exiting the space is more convenient because you don’t have to pull out very far at all to see the oncoming traffic.

Q: What about vehicle exhaust on sidewalks?
A: The State of New Jersey has strict anti-idling laws, and vehicles should not be idling whether they are in regular or reverse angle parking spaces. Vehicles idling more than 3 minutes can be reported to the Hoboken Police Department by calling 201-420-2100.

Q: Won’t reverse angle parking increase the number accidents?
A: Actually, one of the most common causes of accidents is people backing out of standard angled parking without being able to see on-coming traffic. Reverse angle parking removes this difficulty. The initial stopping and signaling required for back-in angle parking is similar to parallel parking. Many cities report a decrease in parking-related accidents after back-in angle parking is implemented.

For example, Tucson, Arizona tracked data for bicycle/car crashes before and after installing back-in angle parking, and found an average of three to four crashes per month with front-in angle parking compared to zero reported bicycle/car crashes for the first four years following implementation of back-in angle parking.

Q: Are any other cities using reverse angle parking?
A: As of 2005, these were some of the cities using reverse angle parking (the list is outdated and is much larger today):
Arlington, VA
Birmingham, AL
Burnaby, BC
Charlotte, NC
Chico, CA
Everett, WA
Honolulu, HI
Indianapolis, IN
Knoxville, TN
Marquette, MI
Montreal, QC
New York, NY
Olympia, WA
Plattsburgh, NY
Portland, OR
Pottstown, PA
Salem, OR
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
Syracuse, NY
Tacoma, WA
Tucson, AZ
Vancouver, WA
Ventura, CA
Washington, DC
Wilmington, DE (in use for almost 60 years)
And many, many more

Q: Where can I learn more about reverse angle parking?
A: The planning firm Nelson Nygaard conducted a report on the topic in 2005. It can be found here:

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