Angled parking stalls on Shuswap Street may be easy to drive into, but can be a pain to get out of. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Parking at an awkward angle in downtown Salmon Arm

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

In front of the Salmon Arm Observer office is perhaps one of the worst places to park in the city.

Northbound on Shuswap Street, from Lakeshore Drive NE to our office, is a long-strip of driver frustration called angle parking.

A lot of people seem to be uncomfortable with parallel parking. Personally, I’ll use it when I have to. But this being Salmon Arm, I’m more inclined to pass by a parallel parking spot I’m iffy about in favour of one where I can drive right in.

Pulling into an angular parking stall, such as what’s in front of our office, is generally super easy. That, however, is where the charm ends. There are a number of factors that can make backing out from one of these stalls, particularly one above the incline, a right regular pain.

Oncoming traffic is certainly one of them.

The rules of the road, according to ICBC, state drivers must not reverse their vehicles unless it can be done safely. If you’re backing your vehicle out of a parking spot and it collides with an approaching vehicle, you would be held 100 per cent responsible in the collision. Unfortunately, what I see all too often on Shuswap Street, is people backing out and northbound drivers accelerating to get around them.

Read more: Navigating the perils of the four-way stop

Read more: City of Salmon Arm ready for winter road clearing

Read more: Hello winter: Sad time for city gardeners as more than 300 hanging baskets come down

The task of reversing and watching for those oncoming drivers is more difficult when there’s a larger vehicle parked to your right. Visibility is limited for both the person backing out as well as the oncoming driver (or cyclist).

I suppose the upside to angled parking is that we have more parking stalls.

Admittedly, I can’t recall any collisions from people backing out of a spot in front of our office. Some close calls, yes. Some angry drivers, certainly. And then there was the time a driver accidentally went forward, instead of reverse, and drove into our building and the office of our former publisher. Thankfully injuries were minor.

One trick to backing out from the stalls in front of our building is to watch for the reflections of oncoming vehicles in the windows. A Hail Mary before hitting the gas might help too.

Got a parking peeve? Please share it in the comments below.


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