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Los Angeles drivers are now facing the first of a gang of coming back-in-only parking spaces. Why? We don’t know. What we know is that a couple of Woodland Hills, California, residents thought it would be a good idea. But their reasoning seems oblique at best, creating consternation and chaos over what was once a simple task

Scott Silverstein, one of the resident brain trusts, says the idea came after seeing a similar setup in nearby Lancaster. “It was beautiful,” he tells the LA Times. “There was tons of parking.” Could the reason have been locals fleeing to other locations where backing into a parking space wasn’t mandatory? 

Is this back-in-parking working?

Many parked cars together
Parked cars | LIU JIN/AFP via Getty

While Silverstein and Dennis DiBiase came to the L.A. city council with their “beautiful” idea in 2015, it wasn’t until 2021 when the first parking mandates came down for a patch of Ventura Blvd. But many residents and businesses lining Ventura have been vocal in their distaste for backing into spaces. 

According to random observations by L.A. Times staff, drivers made different attempts in different ways. One was stopping traffic so they could inch into a parking space. Another drove past a spot several times before slowly backing into his spot. Others took several minutes to get into a position to back in. 

What are business owners saying about the back-in parking mandate?

Parked cars in parking lot
A group of parked cars | REMY GABALDA/AFP via Getty

Some shop owners say they were left out of the decision process. Others say they are losing business as former customers are driving to other stores without back-up-only spaces. But some conclude that many drivers just don’t know how to reverse into a parking spot and that this is the problem. 

Others say they don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to figure out how to do it safely but also quickly. We guess it might be true that some drivers don’t know how to back in. Is it because they must crane their necks? Or is it they don’t completely trust their backup cameras?

It’s not working, is the city digging in?

Parked cars in front of building
Parked cars | MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty

But maybe the bigger question is that since everyone seems to know how to pull into a parking space, why mandate backing in? Why must one or the other be the end-all? And why should it matter? Also, why was an observation made by one person such a terrific idea? We assume there was much discussion over it. There surely was a lot of time that lapsed between presenting the idea and its implementation. 

At least the back-in-parking brain trust is pragmatic. “The lines are made of paint and not concrete, and we’re going to try this for a while and see if it works,” says DiBiase. “If it doesn’t work, we can always go back, but I really do believe this will work.”


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