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Reverse parking planned in Woodsfield

WOODSFIELD — Drivers will have the opportunity to practice reverse angle parking in preparation for a safety improvement project that will alter parking along the Woodsfield Village Square.

The village and the Ohio Department of Transportation have partnered to hold the “Parking Palooza” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Monroe Memorial Pool parking lot, located at 425 Eastern Ave. in Woodsfield. Representatives from both entities will be on site throughout the timeframe to help drivers practice backing into an angled parking space.

Ashley Rittenhouse, spokeswoman for ODOT District 10, said drivers will use their own vehicles to practice during the event. She said they will provide attendees with an instruction handout as well.

“We know this is something people have not done before so we want to give them the opportunity to practice before it’s put in place in the square,” she said.

The event is planned ahead of a $900,000 safety improvement project which will take place next year at the intersection of Ohio 26, 78, and 800 in Woodsfield. The project includes the removal of the left turn lanes on Main Street, new crosswalks, widening of the intersection and implementing reverse angle parking.

The majority of crashes that occurred at this location from 2015-2019 were backing crashes, according to ODOT officials. Altering the type of parking along the roadway to reverse angle parking will address this issue. Eric Davis, ODOT District 10 Traffic Engineer, said there are many benefits to reverse angle parking.

“Drivers will no longer have to back out blindly from their parking space, and will instead be able to see oncoming traffic,” he added.

“ODOT and the village recognize that many people have never encountered reverse angle parking, so we want to offer this opportunity for drivers to practice before this change comes to our Village Square,” said Woodsfield Village Administrator Kevin Brooks.

Rittenhouse said ODOT held a similar event in Morgan County to help drivers learn how to navigate a new roundabout that was set to be installed. She said it was a successful event.

“It had a great turnout. We’re hoping for the same with this,” she added.

Rittenhouse said the biggest concern they hear from residents in regards to the impending project is about the amount of parking spaces that will be available after the project is complete. She said there are currently 32 parking spaces along the square; following the project there will be 28 spaces.

“There will only be a few less spaces, and that change in the number of spaces is mostly to address handicap parking,” she said.

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