Parking Strategies

There is a small parking lot in front of the coffee shop we frequent.  It is too small, really, to be of any use if you are going to the coffee shop (or anything other business in the plaza), which is why we usually park in the big lot on the other side of the plaza.

The traffic flow in this tiny, insufficient parking lot is supposed to be one way, and the diagonal spots are all oriented accordingly.

Since the coffee shop sits right by the parking lot exit, patrons sitting by the windows are often treated to the spectacle of people turning off of the major road running adjacent to the coffee shop, and then immediately into the first available access point of the parking lot (i.e. said exit).

At this point, the observer will usually witness the car slow down as they driver simultaneously searches for a open spot and struggles to deal with the subterranean lizard knowledge that actually pulling into this spot will require a turn of an angle somewhat at odds with the physical capabilities of his or her vehicle.  Some of these drivers are, ultimately, undone by the steel-jawed parking trap they have unwittingly stepped in, and flee the parking lot in shame.  Others become stubborn, and strive to make it work.

My question for this latter type of driver is:  Wouldn’t it have been easier to simply spend the extra three seconds to drive down to the parking lot entrance, rather than spending two minutes making a fifty-three-point turn to get yourself properly oriented to pull into a spot?

I’ll freely admit that there are some badly-designed parking lots in this world.  Most lots, however, do have at least some (perhaps subtle) design cues that can aid a thinking primate in successfully maneuvering a horseless carriage without the primate’s brain exploding all over the interior.

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