Before I even say it, just based on the title you likely already know the parking spots I'm talking about. I'm referring to the spots that run down the center median of Old Town Fort Collins, on College Avenue between Jefferson on the north end and Magnolia on the south end. There's always cars facing this way or that way and you can never tell who's going which way or the other, or worse, which way they're coming out of those spaces.

Watching cars try to negotiate their way in or out of these spots is like a modern day Lord of the Flies.

I've avoided those spots like the plague for more than 20 years now, and I'll tell you why. Every time I see one open and decide to go for it, someone comes at me head on from the other side and we get caught in a stalemate. That's why.

Well, another interesting point was raised the other day, and I didn't really know how to respond with any authority, so I had to do some research.

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Which direction are you technically supposed to exit a parking space?


Let's say you're parking in one of those spots, pulling into it from the northbound lanes of College Ave., maybe just south of Mountain in front of Sonny Lubick Steakhouse or so. You go about your business in Old Town with a quick lunch somewhere, then duck into your favorite shop to grab a gift for that special someone's birthday - whatever.

You go back to your car and it's time to leave. Then it occurs to you. Do you pull forward out of the spot into the southbound lanes, having to make a somewhat weird, wide turn to do it? Or, do you simply back out of the spot into the northbound lanes, then hit drive and carry on north towards Mountain Ave. and go from there?

Your first guess might be based on the question, "well, which way did you come from?" Because if you follow logic, you pulled in one way, you should back out that way like any normal parking lot, right?

Well, here's where you're wrong. There's a little curveball to that argument. AAA actually recommends that not only in these funky spots on College, but ALL parking spots - if you're able - you should pull THROUGH the spot so your car is actually, technically "backed in" to the spot you stop, leaving you the ability to exit by going forward. This is a technically safer maneuver than backing out of a spot into traffic, or worse, pedestrians.

So now you know. If you park in the "survival of the fittest" spots in Old Town, when it's time to exit, go forward. Don't go backwards.

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