Sunday, 17 February 2013

The fall from grace

Have you noticed that despite the shiny pedestal on which motorists are placed, even they are often treated with contempt the moment they step out of their car? Case in point - car parks.

I noticed it the other day. I forget where because I noticed exactly the same thing in about three car parks. Once you're out of the car, you have to creep around all of the parked cars, all of the time watching out in case one of them reverses, and then stay as far as you can to the left while you're walking towards the entrance to Ikea, Bunnings, Officeworks the shopping centre or wherever you might be.

The magical transformation works the other way too. Humble pedestrians, after creeping around the car park head bowed, get into their cars and can turn immediately into total dicks.

I noticed this recently at the airport car park when I mistakenly failed to follow the keep to the left rule. I was with my family, having just seen someone off, and we were walking back to our car. I am ashamed to say that we were not walking single file. A man and his girlfriend in their ute drove towards us (I mean literally towards us) despite the fact that there was tons of space to give us a bit of room. The woman pulled an odd face. It was one of those faces that people in cars often pull. You are supposed to know exactly what they mean just from that one face. It's rather like the rule that you are supposed to understand exactly what they mean when you see them silently gesticulating and mouthing things from behind their windscreen on the other side of the road.

Needless to say, none of us really knew what she meant but my wife, always perceptive, simply said "some people are just always angry".

Anyway, back to the design of car parks. Could we not design them in such a way that when you step out of your car, there is a safe walkway for you, your children, prams, trolleys and so on? I found this picture of a decently designed car park on the web a while ago. I am ashamed to say I have no idea where:

Note how between the rows of cars there are safe walkways for people. At the end of them are little crossings where amazingly cars might have to wait for the people.

How angry would my friend in the ute be though?

1 comment: