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In Seaside Heights, Angled Parking Now Means Head-In Parking

Vehicles park in angled spaces in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2023. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Vehicles park in angled spaces in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2023. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

It’s not exactly an episode of “Parking Wars,” but a lack of adherence to a state traffic policy in some portions of Seaside Heights have led to accidents, bottlenecks and the occasional dispute between motorists during the busy tourism season.

The borough this week adopted an ordinance introduced last month that requires drivers to pull in “head-first” to angled parking spaces. The ordinance applies to Ocean Terrace, Bay Boulevard, Grant Avenue, Hiering Avenue and Central Avenue, all of which are marked with angled spaces rather than parallel parking spaces.

Though some may dismiss the ordinance as petty, officials say the propensity for some drivers – mainly from out-of-state – to back in to angled parking spaces causes real issues during the summer season, often requiring a response from the police department.

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“It really does cause some issues, because when you’re backing in, it’s easy to hit a car to the side,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz.

The problem is exacerbated by the skinny nature of Ocean Terrace, especially, since it takes more time for most drivers to line up their car on a reverse-angle to back into a diagonal parking space. Officials say this causes the roadway to be blocked and traffic to back up while the motorist is negotiating their approach. If the first try isn’t successful, vehicles continue to stack up, and can block intersections and interfere with crosswalks. In most cases, horns blare as the entire scenario plays out. Police are sometimes needed to take accident reports of mediate disputes.

Vehicles park in angled spaces in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2023. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Vehicles park in angled spaces in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2023. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

While the ordinance places a local penalty – a traffic ticket, not a moving violation – on “back-in” parking at angled spaces, officials said the state’s motor vehicle code already requires head-in parking in such setups. At a public hearing required before the ordinance could be adopted this week, a teacher from the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School asked if Bay Boulevard could be exempt from the policy since teachers often back in so they know children are not behind them when leaving work. Because of the state regulation, this was not possible.

“We can’t authorize something that is against the law,” said Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani.

Officials hope the policy, which will be advertised on signage, will help solve some of the seasonal traffic woes in town.

“It happens quite a bit, more than most people think,” Vaz said, referring to accidents caused by motorists misjudging the angles. “I don’t want to use the word overlooked, but perhaps it wasn’t a priority in the past to tackle this.”

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