Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Other Parking Lot Debacles

Given: All contracts for parking lot design in Rhode Island are given to the children of local, well-connected gentlemen who think their sons and daughters are the next Frederick Law Olmsted, or Guo Pu, just because those sons and daughters can navigate through the complex scenery of Grand Theft Auto. "Yeah, Mr. Mayor, Rocco Jr. here has a real knack for transportation. I'll give you $50,000 for your reelection campaign if you give my company the contract to build Rocco Jr.'s design for the Smithfield Commons parking lot. Just look at the wonderful work he did on devising the traffic patterns in the Providence Place Mall parking garage."

For those loyal readers outside of Rhode Island, go ahead and infer that those two parking scenarios are the biggest clusterf-s in a state notorious for transportation clusterf-s.

Yes, the baseline is very low for an ideal parking lot experience in Rhode Island, so please salvage what you can. For starters, please don't travel THROUGH open parking spaces like you're in a g-damn demolition derby. Stick to the traveling lanes while navigating to your desired parking spot. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been clipped by drivers cutting across rows of parking spaces on their way to a spot.

Second, when leaving a spot, go ahead and pretend that you're on a two-way street. Back out far enough so you can drive past me on my left. This isn't merry ol' England. We don't have nationalized health care that will take great care of me after you ram into me head-on. I'm not given a month of paid recovery time, so just pretend that you're on a regular road when driving down parking lanes, and I won't have to burden my crappy health insurance company with claims inflicted by your stupid, limey-wannabe ass.

Third, there is a time and a place to stop and hover in anticipation of a departing shopper's parking space, and that time and place is NOT on the one-way, up-ramp of a busy parking garage when 50 cars are behind you at Christmas time. Just keep going. That space will go to the lucky person who's approaching AS the departing shopper starts to back out of his/her space. While you sit there for 3 minutes as the departing shopper opens her trunk, puts her bags away, straps the lad into the car seat, and adjusts her bra, you could have parked in an equally decent space somewhere upward. Beyond that, you wouldn't have infuriated the 50 (and counting) drivers behind you. Let's agree on this rule: while traveling upward on a one-way ramp in a busy parking garage, a departing shopper's space goes to the upward traveller who arrives at the space as the departing shopper starts to back out of his/her space.

Finally, if for some reason you can't take the extra 20 seconds out of your life to push your empty cart into the parking lot's empty cart repository, or if there is no empty cart repository, then park your empty cart in the following manner: place it PARALLEL to your car directly on top of the four-corner cross of the adjacent parking spaces. Then, after placing it, wait 3 seconds to make sure that it does not roll out of that position. Do not place it haphazardly in the middle of the empty parking space next to you. In fact, if you can't place it parallel to your car directly on top of the four-corner cross of the adjacent parking spaces, then burn off some of that Big Mac and return the cart to the front of the store.

Your non-nepotistic, conscientious fellow motorists thank you in advance.

Oh, and one more thing. Why on Earth did the state and/or city of Smithfield and/or Rocco Sr. pay to have the Route 44 East exit ramp off 295 Southbound pulled back one hundred lousy feet? It did not make the intersection at the entrance of Smithfield Commons any easier. You still have through-drivers crossing desperately to get to the left lane on 44, and you still have shoppers crossing madly into the right lane to get to the Commons. They should have constructed an on/off ramp that would have flowed traffic directly between 295 and the parking lot – bypassing 44 completely. "I think the audience would agree with me on that one."

I hope, as it is the state motto.

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