Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stupid New Parking Lot Trend

Backing in to parking spaces.

WTF is up with that? Seriously? Are there really that many members of volunteer fire/rescue teams who simply cannot spare the 0.47 seconds extra it takes to back out of a parking space that nearly half of my office building-mates feel the need to back into their spaces?

"Well," says Dear Reader, "what's the big deal?" An excellent question. There are a couple of big deals with this, which I will ennumerate below.
  1. People, by and large, have excruciatingly poor spatial sense. They have no idea how to turn the wheel in the proper manner to ensure their vehicle is placed roughly equidistant between the two lines differentiating that parking space from those on the other side (and/or in front) of it. This problem is magnified exponentially when one is trying to drive in reverse. It is raised by factors of 10 when one is backing into a space that is between two previously-parked cars.
  2. People, by and large, do not know how to drive in parking lots. You've seen it: two people are travelling at intersecting routes through a parking lot where they will, eventually, intersect. Who has the right of way? Hell's bells, the people I commute near can't figure this out at a traffic signal.
  3. People, by and large, do not know how long their vehicle is from their rear tires to the end of their car. As a result, long trunks often impede the sidewalk that runs in front of many of the parking spaces in my office building's lot, thereby, rendering it unusable for the pedestrians for whom it was placed.
  4. People, by and large, impede other traffic when they back into parking spaces. This is particularly true for those lots that have one-way traffic and diagonal parking spaces. Those (and all other parking spaces) were designed to be pulled into head on. It's really amazingly simple genius: you pull straight in, and then you can (usually) back straight out. You hardly even have to touch your steering wheel. It is truly incredible when appreciated for its simplicity. But no. Some of you out there think nothing about holding up traffic in parking lots. Imagine this: you are on a two-lane street downtown, that has parallel parking on both sides of the street. Traffic is flowing in both directions. Suddenly, the car in front of you signals right, comes to a stop, and then puts his/her transmission in reverse. 9 times of out 10, your first thought is not a particularly charitable one, is it? But, that is how parallel parking is done. You really do have to impede traffic, if there is traffic to impede. Not so parking lots. Pull head in. That is how they were made.
  5. People, by and large, look like self-important twits when they back into parking spaces. Even you. So stop, really. Just pull head in. It's easier on you; it's easier on those around you. Parking lot real estate is going to become exceedingly rare very soon. We all need to do our best to reduce the inconvenience we place on everybody else during the upcoming holiday season. Cutting out unneeded parking lot moves is, IMO, an excellent way to start.

(Now, of course, because Karma has an awesome sense of humor, someone will post a brilliant, unarguable reason why backing into parking spaces should not only be allowed, but required. I, quite frankly, am a little hungry for some pie right now, so if it must be humble, so be it.)


Busy Mom said...

We are required to back in spaces in the garage at work if your parking sticker is on a hang tag.

If it's not a situation like that, I agree!

Jill said...

I like to back in (or at least pull through if I can) because I am terrified I am going to run over some child or distracted person while I am backing out. All the gigantic SUVs and minivans with tinted windows make it really hard to see all your vantage points even when you're going forward.

Jackson said...

As a former valet, I like to back in to parking spaces just because I can. But then again, that means I know how to turn the wheel and how long my car is.

But seriously, at the mall and such it is better to back in since there will be twits on both sides waiting for you to pull out.

Kevin Newman said...

Pulling into the space is safer than pulling out, and reversing the car is harder that driving forward, so it makes sense to back into the parking space, where there is almost no chance of hitting a pedestrian or being hit by someone driving up the aisle. I drive a Civic, and if there is a Ford Extravaganza next to me, I can't see if anyone is coming until I'm already out of the space if I am backing out.

When you pull out forward at night, your headlights are more visible than your reverse lights, so that's another safety advantage. Also, if your battery dies and the car won't start, it is way way easier to jump start a car that has been backed into the parking space.

I don't usually back in to spaces, but if doing so reduces the chance of hitting a pedestrian, that's hardly "self-important".

Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

I hate people that back into parking spaces, too, mainly because they usually take FOREVER to do so.

On the other hand, if there is a pull-through opportunity, I am all about it. :D

Anne said...

Kevin Newman, I think you've got it nearly completely wrong. Your backup lights are nearly as bright as your headlights (in order for the driver to see when they're backing up at night).

One should also creep out of a parking space if they can't see around the vehicles next to them.

Inobservant pedestrians are definitely a consideration, though. But, like your car battery dying while you're parked there, the odds are usually going in the other direction.

The hang tag thing makes sense (though I wonder why they don't issue window stickers instead [though I can see how that would be a problem if one rotates vehicles]).

Beside the hang tag thing, though, nothing terribly compelling, folks.

grandefille said...

I do my best not to impede traffic. I do not think I am self-important in any way.

But after SIX DIFFERENT PEDESTRIANS wandered into the back end of my car as I was backing out of a parking place at work, at a store and at the post office in the last two months, I have begun backing into parking places. (Yes, I am obsessive about stopping, looking, listening, looking again and again, stopping again, etc.) I do not want to kill or maim anybody, which is why I've started backing into parking places if at all possible. When they wander into my car while chatting on their cell phones or screaming at their kids or staring off into the sky, at least I will see them if I'm pulling forward instead of backing out.

I've speculated often that it has something to do with my car not appearing to have a rear bumper, despite the brake lights and back-up lights being at least waist-high or higher on most pedestrians. People will walk by and idly FONDLE the back end of my car as they pass by. It's very strange.

Anne said...

Okay, what I am hearing is that there are some parking lot pedestrians who are in need of some training, right?

That can be done!

And grandefille, people fondling your bumper...ew. Do you drive an exceptionally pretty car or something, cuz that's bizarre!

grandefille said...

there are some parking lot pedestrians who are in need of some training, right?

My dad would say, "Sounds like somebody needs to get their foot caught under my back tires about twice."


My car is not exceptional in any way, other than I love it and it's a good little car. But apparently it is bootylicious to some people. I'm tempted to get a tire cover that, instead of "Life is Good," says "Back That Thing Up."

Anne said...

grandfille and your bootylicious automobile, thanks for a great laugh!