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Head-in parking usually is posted

My wife and I were in Ashland for dinner and a show last weekend and parked in a lot on Second Street, below Smithfield's. When we got back to our car, there was a ticket for $15 for backing up into the space. We learned later that there are other lots like this. Where are they? Since when did backing up become illegal?

— Will C., Gold Hill

The Since You Asked team, especially the non-Ashlanders, are grateful for the heads-up, although we're sorry it came with a $15 fine.

"Head-in parking" rules have been in place for seven to 10 years, according to Linda Fait, an employee at Diamond Parking, the company contracted by the city of Ashland to enforce parking laws.

Signs designate all the areas where butt-in parking is prohibited.

On Second Street, a brick wall is the primary concern, as several people have backed into the wall. Fait witnessed one such incident when a man backed his station wagon into the wall and lost his rear window.

The Hargadine parking structure also has forward-parking rules in designated areas. On the upper levels, this is because support wires run around the perimeter, and there was an instance where a trailer hitch caught the wires and caused serious damage. On the lower levels, the HVAC system hangs low, making it a tight squeeze for large trucks and SUVs.

The lot on the corner of Lithia Way and Pioneer Street is surrounded by exotic foliage, which is more vulnerable to exhaust fumes and cars that back up too far. The lot has about 15 signs identifying the standards, so there shouldn't be any question about parking here, Fait said.

Head-in parking also is required along Winburn Way near Lithia Park. Here the parking spaces are uphill from the creek. A sidewalk separates the spaces from the bank.

"Some vehicles have a long truck bed," Fait explained. "When the wheels hit the curb to tell them they can't go any further, they're pretty much blocking the sidewalk."

Because of this, there have been issues with handicap access and erosion, as people have to walk along the bank to go around the car.

Sorry, Will, but until people know where to stop, unsuspecting drivers such as yourself must literally pay the consequences.