LA’s New Back-In-Only Parking Spaces Are Causing Chaos

Parking can be a hassle, especially on a busy street in a busy city or area. Parking that requires you to back in, in said busy area or on a busy street, is a whole different type of animal. But as The L.A. Times reports, that’s what some L.A. drivers are dealing with now as the city has installed its first back-in-only parking spots. They’ve become a subject of chaos and division.

The spots were the brainchild of two Woodland Hills residents who were involved in the community, Scott Silverstein and Dennis DiBiase. Silverstein says he got the idea for the spaces after seeing similar spots in nearby Lancaster’s downtown district. “It was beautiful, and there was tons of parking,” he told The Times.

He envisioned something similar for the Woodland Hills stretch of Ventura Boulevard. So the two got together and presented a plan to the local council as well as L.A. city council member Bob Blumenfield. This was in 2015. It wasn’t until 2021 that the first phase of the parking was done, part of a larger revitalization plan for that stretch of Ventura.

But the spaces have been both welcomed and met with ire from business owners and drivers alike. It seems as if some have been struggling with the spaces, simply because they don’t actually know how to back into them, as The Times observed.

Some stopped traffic as they tried to reverse in. Others circled the block multiple times before attempting to park.

Glenn Hayden, brow furrowed, was driving east along the thoroughfare en route to Woodland Hills’ Business Machines Center to drop off a typewriter for repair.

The 85-year-old attorney idled for 10 seconds in traffic outside the shop as his eyes bounced between his rearview mirror and the slots ahead of him. Finally, he pulled forward across four vacant parking spaces with his 2007 Lexus ES 390 before turning 90 degrees and reversing into a spot.

Business owners near these parking spaces are are split as well. Some don’t like the spaces because they feel they were left out of the loop or “blindsided” by the changes or say that business has suffered because of them. But this problem goes back to the issue of drivers that don’t seem to know how to navigate in reverse.

Bookstore owner David Kaye says he has witnessed a steady stream of follies these last few weeks while peering through the brown Venetian blinds at the front of his shop.

“There was one girl who looked so confused and she circled the block something like six times before just quitting and driving away,” Kaye said. “It’s going to take some getting used to.”

Other business owners welcome the spots because of the convenience it offers both them and their customers. But for the most part, many are annoyed because they don’t want to have to be bothered with a learning curve for parking.

But both Scott Silverstein and Dennis DiBiase are hopeful that the spots will work. And if they don’t, they can always change it back. “The lines are made of paint and not concrete, and we’re going to try this for a while and see if it works. If it doesn’t work, we can always go back, but I really do believe this will work,” said DiBiase.