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Good Will to All

The biggest news in parking today is how bad it is right now. Between the crowds and the weather, I don’t envy anybody who has to be out and about during the next two days. Still, stress is just another name for holiday cheer, and parking is a huge part of both. This is the time of year when I notice how bad the parking is at the mall nearest me – it is, while plentiful, convoluted, hard to access and a lot like a maze with plenty of dead ends. And I notice how easy the parking at a mall in a neighboring town is – linear, well planned, not as plentiful, but so much easier to navigate that that doesn’t seem to matter. It’s only when these shopping areas are filled to capacity that I really examine how they work.

I’ve read the headlines to prepare for this blog, and I’m going to float an idea for the owners of parking lots and garages. Whether the headlines about shootings are just getting more attention or the shootings themselves are increasing at an alarming rate, parking industry operators need a plan for gun violence. Training in conflict resolution, suggestions for the immediate summoning of authorities if a gun shows its face, and instructions to just generally get out of the way when danger becomes apparent are all suggestions for employee orientation. A little signage, here and there, that reminds drivers that no parking spot is worth death, injury or jail time, might be helpful. Or if you want to take the positive approach, let your signs say “Good Will to All” or something equally inspiring. But put them low where they’re going to be more visible. The holidays are steeped in tradition and anxiety, so hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

It’s not all bad, though. My favorite thing about parking this time of year, and probably any time of year, is free metered parking in downtown areas. Those red bags on the meters are a cheerful sight during a hectic season. It does have and impact on availability, but it’s worth it. Municipalities are in charge of so many things that affect residents, but don’t often have a chance to offer something that feels so personal. I appreciate it every year.

Merry Christmas to all!

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