It only took two months for Janesville to decide to end its brief back-in angled parking experiment downtown.
Starting next week, city crews will revert the 11 back-in angled parking spots along a one-block stretch of West Milwaukee Street back to front-in angled parking.
City Manager Mark Freitag made the announcement Monday during his regular council meeting update. Mostly negative feedback from an online survey and business owners led to the city’s decision, he said.
Janesville launched back-in angled parking May 23. The 11 spaces were situated on the south side of West Milwaukee Street between Jackson and Franklin streets.
Had the move been more popular, the city could have added more back-in angled parking on River Street and expanded its use along Milwaukee. Janesville could revisit the idea in several years, but any immediate plans are off the table, Freitag said.
The city expected negative feedback from the survey. People who disliked the change would be more likely to respond than those who supported it, he said.
But the skepticism from business owners, who were worried they were losing foot traffic, was enough to change Freitag’s mind, he said.
Janesville originally touted back-in parking spots as safer than traditional front-in spaces because they offer better sightlines when exiting and because open vehicle doors direct people toward the sidewalk. It also made it easier to load cargo into a trunk.
Bigger cities such as St. Louis and Austin, Texas, have successfully implemented back-in parking, but it was clear Janesville did not favor the move, Freitag said.
“We thought we’d try it. It was new and innovative and progressive, but again the community was just not ready to take it on,” he said. “I can’t say I was disappointed, but we owed the community an opportunity to try something like this.”