PARKING LOT DESIGN
As we all know, in this day and age of the near impossibility of getting anywhere without a car, especially in 'the burbs,' parking lots are a fact of life and an expected facility at all shopping centers. Many, if not most of these lots are "beautified" with trees and plants, making a pseudo-oasis in the middle of the asphalt desert.
The shopping centers that have multi-level parking structures are, in a sense, better, even though they may be more massive and it is easier to fall victim to the, "'Now, where did I park my car???" syndrome. The single-level outdoor ones have a serious design flaw. Think about your last visit to an outdoor shopping center with an outdoor lot. Think hard. Where did you park? Was there any 'beautifucation' nearby?
Take a hard mental look at the design of these lots. Almost down to the last one, the designers have failed to figure out that a nice strip of trees and plants down between the rows of parked cars would be just lovely. They have missed the concept that cars Do not arrive on their own and do the shopping remotely. No, real people must navigate their cars to these lots, and once there, must exit the vehicle, if they are to actually do any shopping.
Now, think again back to the design of the last lot you were in. Where was the landscaping? Yep. At intervals throughout the lot, protruding into spaces between parking stalls. What's up with that? Sure, it looks pretty, but what of the poor drivers or passengers who find themselves in the spot right next door to one of these planting protrusions? You open the door, and step--perhaps fall--right into the plants or bushes. There has been not one inch of extra space alloted to those stalls!!
DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!
Not only is this annoying, it is dangerous! Especially stupid is that these planting strips are also frequently found right next to handicapped-access parking spots. Doubly idiotic and doubly dangerous!
Either all the landscaping should remain between the lengthwise rows of cars, or, if the designers insist on 'breaking up' the monotony of row upon row of stalls, then the protrusions between should be simply sidewalks, with a decorative pattern, if 'beauty' is truly the aim. I have seen at least one person stumble, another fall, and I've nearly landed in the bushes myself a couple of times. (Granted, I do have something of a predisposition to klutziness, but that is not the point.)
Once, the spot was so tight (I drive a truck) that I had to slide across and exit the passenger side. Really??!! I could not even open my driver's side door because of the bushes! I have a bum knee, and if I'm having a bad day and need my cane, I now and then make use of my handicapped parking permit. Truly, it is hard enough to navigate--what would a person confined to a wheelchair do? Planting strips should certainly not be located next to handicapped parking stalls--this, on top the fact that there are rarely enough 'blue' spaces to serve the need, especially in very busy areas.
How about a letter-writing campaign? Phone calls to the shopping center management? Pickets? I know! Let's hire a group of actors to stage trip-and-fall scenes to scare the designers into some sense!