Parallel Parking Spots

Cars occupy the new parallel parking spots outside of the Nebraska Union on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The City of Lincoln changed the parking stalls along R Street, near the Nebraska Union, from diagonal to parallel on July 16, to create a safer, better-looking space. 

Wayne Mixdorf, City of Lincoln parking manager, said the University of Nebraska-Lincoln approached the city with the project idea in 2018. Emily Casper, UNL campus landscape architect and interim campus planner, said the initial request was to reduce the number of parking meter poles to improve the look of and safety between the sidewalk and parking meters on R Street.

The City of Lincoln took this as an opportunity to extend the bike lanes on R Street as part of a city-wide bike plan, according to Mixdorf. 

To accomplish the bike-lane change, on-street parking needed to become parallel on both sides of the street, Casper said.

“There were a lot of trip hazards,” she said. “There were a lot of larger shrubs and uneven, old brick pathways to and from the meters on the main sidewalk on R Street.”

Additionally, Casper said changing the parking stalls to parallel allows for better visibility at the crosswalks on R Street, particularly by the Centennial Mall. 

“The stalls don’t allow the cars to project out into the street as much, and they have been moved back from the crosswalks, improving the ability of a person in a vehicle to see pedestrians entering the sidewalk,” she said.

Lori White, a sophomore psychology major, said she was unaware of the parking stall change. She said while she doesn’t frequently park in the R Street parking spaces, she feels the parking change is unfortunate for those who do.

“It definitely takes away parking spots,” she said. “It probably wouldn’t be an awesome thing.” 

Another aspect of the streetscape project is annually installing planters, Casper said. Ann Powers, a UNL graduate student and landscape services employee, featured the planters in her conceptual design for the area, and Casper said she’d like to follow through with it. 

Casper said that R Street serves as a walking space for UNL campus tours, and she believes the streetscape project is an important step in making a good impression on prospective students.

“I hope that [the project] has a positive impact for recruitment and that people see we care about the campus, how it operates and how it looks.”