I have a pet peeve. I actually have several pet peeves, but one in particular has bubbled to the surface today and it is only 8:37 am. It’s a basic task and done everyday by most adults and usually more than once. At a minimum it’s done twice if you got out. It’s the easiest thing to do. Simple really. Just park your car.
I’m not talking about parallel parking. I understand the complexity and difficulty surrounding the parallel park and I don’t blame anyone for struggling with it. Parallel parking is actually one of my stronger driving skills. Frankly, I’m great at it even on the left hand side of one way streets. I kill it every time. I am talking about the simple head in parking. Most lots are designed this was and there are regulations for the length and width of spots so they fit most cars, even the big ones. If you like you can refer to Time Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture by Charles Harris and Nick Dines for the specifics. You can borrow my copy if you like. Yes I have one and this is where my parking obsession began.
I have a degree in Landscape Architecture and even studied with Nick Dines. During my design semester with him, I fell in love with parking. The simplicity and grace of parking design appealed to my functional sensibilities and frugal nature. There’s no space to waste when designing a parking lot or parking structure. Even though I left my landscape architecture career long behind, I love parking structures to this day. I feel a strange sense of pride for the field when I walk into a well designed parking garage and shame in the opposite. When they are done right with maximum functional parking spaces and adequate turning radii, there’s nothing more beautiful. So when parking spaces are abused and go unappreciated, it irritates me.
The biggest violators are the line straddlers. Larry David even had a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode about it. I’ve learned to accept the straddlers as people who are either incapable of accurately judging space and have limited command of the vehicle and probably shouldn’t be driving or, more likely, are so self involved that they don’t care about taking two spots. I’ve let that go but definitely think less of the person who does this.
My bigger issue is with people who do not know how to park appropriately in angled parking lots. This I see everyday. The parking lot at my day job is an angled lot and like most angled lots is a designed as a one way loop around the lot. Angled lots allow for narrower driving lanes. If you have a narrow lot, angled parking is the way to go. The lot at work is rectangular with angled parking down both sides of the driving lanes. It is very efficient; it maximizes spaces; it is reasonable well designed. The problem is with the people who park in it.
Everyday the people who come to work first pull into the lot, turn into the first available space and do the pull through. I am all for the pull through in standard, non-angled parking parking lots. I love the pull through and see it as a personal parking victory when I find one. Angled parking isn’t suited for the pull through because when you go to leave the spot you have to make an overly sharp turn into the driving lane which based on the angle of the spots isn’t wide enough by design for a turn of that magnitude. They are so lazy that they want a closer spot to the door yet are willing to expend that much more effort and energy in driving out of the spot. Lazy crazy is what that is.
The worst offender that I see daily is a man who backs car into one of the outer spots. Why in the world does he do that? Not only is it more difficult to back into an angled spot because you pretty much have to be driving the wrong way through the lot to manage it, but then when he leaves he has to turn into a narrow driving lane at such a degree that he must come close to hitting at least three cars each time he does this. If I thought he was the kind of person who just likes to challenge himself then I would be less perturbed, but I know him and he is one of the biggest idiots I know. I feel fairly certain that he just hasn’t figured out how to most easily use the parking lot.
So to all of you out there, appreciate the heart and soul that goes into parking design. Park appropriately so I can sleep at night.