Frankie Ann Vigil saw times when free parking wasn’t available at the historic Plaza in Las Vegas, NM
So when city officials instituted corner parking on part of the Plaza in January, including in front of Vigil’s business, owner Frankie AnnTiques liked the idea.
“It created more parking,” Vigil said. “We need more parking in the summer when there are a lot of tourists.”
Retired Las Vegas City Schools teacher and administrator Art Gonzales, however, said he avoided rear-angle parking and opted for nearby parallel parking and then walking.
“I don’t like having to step back,” Gonzales said while having lunch with his wife Bernice at Olivia’s, also in the Plaza, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974 for its architecturally notable buildings.
Previously, the Plaza had parallel parking on both sides of the streets. Now drivers have the option of parallel parking on the west and east sides of the Plaza or corner parking on the north and south sides.
City officials changed the layout as part of a $1.6 million project to replace outdated sewer, gas and water lines, the city’s director of utilities said. , Maria Gilvarry. The project included the repaving of historic Bridge Street, Plaza Park and side streets.
“I got a lot of positive feedback, and there were some negative feedback early on,” Gilvarry said Friday.
The city consulted a traffic engineer, who recommended rear-angle parking because it is easier than parallel parking and safer to load and unload the trunks of vehicles from the curb rather than from the street.
Mayor Louie Trujillo said he believes the rear corner parking lot added about 20 spaces around the Plaza.
“We wanted to see how we could maximize corner parking,” Trujillo said.
He also noted that it’s safer for drivers.
“For loading and unloading your vehicle, people do it between vehicles, not on the street,” Trujillo said.
Allan Affeldt, owner of the Plaza Hotel, said all downtown merchants were in favor of additional parking, but were not involved in the decision-making. The Plaza Hotel has a lot behind the building and a corner parking lot in front.
“Parking has been an issue around the Plaza,” Affeldt said. “We [merchants] had nothing to do with the back-in [parking] until it happens. Whether you are entering or returning, coming or leaving, you are going to find yourself in traffic one way or another. It’s not unique to Las Vegas.
Savannah Garcia, who works the front desk at the Plaza Hotel, said she thinks some people might refrain from parking at an angle because they “might not be good at backing up.”
“For some people who know how to back into a parking spot, it works,” Garcia said. “I think that helped a lot.”
Edward Madrid of Villanueva initially thought the new parking lot layout was a little odd. But that doesn’t stop him from using it.
“It’s just something nobody is used to doing,” Madrid said.