Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How to find a parking spot on busy shopping days

Brainshrub Bus Project

(Editor's note: There is an interesting behind-the-scenes story with today's post. To read about it visit this Open Letter to the Coral Square Mall.)

Sometimes, when it gets cold here in North Carolina, my friends ask me why I left South Florida.

It was the parking fights.


South Florida, especially Broward County where I grew up, is essentially one huge asphalt parking deck connected by bumper-to-bumper traffic. The suburban sprawl of greater Ft. Lauderdale is almost completely devoid of personality, community or soul.

After Thanksgivings Day the parking-lot nature of South Florida is exacerbated as everyone heads to the mall for an orgy of consumerism that would make a French monarch blush.

What made the situation unbearable to me was how downright nasty Floridians get while they are looking for a spot to park for the spending frenzy. I've seen fewer fist-fights in college bars than I've seen in the parking lot of a Florida mall during the Christmas shopping rush.

No matter how huge the parking area, everyone wants a spot right next to the entrance - and they'll do almost anything to get it.

For example, the scene below is from the parking lot of The Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs, Florida:

Shoppers vainly looking for a parking spot


The day before I took this picture, I visited several other mall parking lots. They were all the same: Frustrated drivers fighting over spaces like hyenas over carrion. I randomly timed cars as they came onto the property, and discovered that it took about 9.5 minutes for a person to drive into a lot, find a space, and walk to the front door.

Incidentally, while doing this unscientific research I also witnessed one screaming argument between drivers and three separate incidents of mommies in SUVs giving each other "The Finger."

However, there is good news! As a public service, I have developed a solution to the holiday parking crisis; not only for Florida - but also for most of the country!


No parking problems if you take the bus to the mall.

The Coral Square Mall, like most malls, has a bus stop right in front of the main entrance.

So if you park your car at an empty lot up the street, then hop on a bus - you can get to the mall in far less time than it takes to drive. As an added bonus, you won't have to deal with the stress losing your car in a vast parking deck when you'd rather go home.

Using public transit is a better way to get into the mall so that you can spend all the money on your credit-card without risking your sanity.

Dealing with the shoppers inside the mall is still your problem.

For the explanation behind the Brainshrub Bus Project, click here.

To see all posts for the Brainshrub Bus Project, click here.

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