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May 28, 2008

The Vanishing Parking Spot

More and more we use vehicles to get where we're going, but oddly enough, there are less and less parking spots at shops, attractions and other complexes. Not only are there less spots, but they are smaller too. The biggest culprit to the vanishing spots seems to be adding additional buildings and removing parking. Seems obvious from a financial standpoint that this would be a profitable move. Shrinking spots are a reaction, more spots are needed, so just make the existing ones smaller. Both of these contribute to a horrible parking experience. You can't park anywhere close to where you want to go and the spot you can finally find is so small that you are pretty much guaranteed damage from neighboring cars if you can even squeeze into the spot. I've stopped visiting many locations plagued by these problems.

To accompany the lack of spaces and reduced sizes, many parking lots contain incredibly complex traffic paths riddled with dangerous intersections and just plain poor design. Walmart is a prime example, both the vehicular and pedestrian traffic is funneled to the front entrance of the building creating a snarled mess. When new buildings are dropped into the parking lot of an existing complex, it often creates odd islands and dead ends that become frustrating or impossible to navigate. At a local shopping centre, all stop signs became "All Way" signs instead of the normal 2,3 or 4 Way signs that previously existed. It's nearly impossible to tell how many "ways" there actually are in the intersection or which "way" actually has a stop sign and which doesn't.

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