Town Square

Parents' Parking Spaces Please

Original post made by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 13, 2007

Another thread has reminded me that I would love to see parents' parking spaces around town. Although I drive a compact car, I cannot get my doors open far enough in compact spaces. Regular sized spots are not easy either and if a large vehicle parks beside me it is very close. This makes it extremely difficult to lift in car seats, help a child buckle into a toddler or booster seat and when I was pregnant I physically could not get out of my car after I had parked. We don't all drive SUVs and minivans with sliding doors. We do need a bit more space. It is illegal for us to use handicapped parking spaces but we do need the same amount of space. So, my plea to parking lot designers, particularly those at medical facilities and the type of places where you find parents taking kids, please let us have some larger spaces designated for parents. I have seen them in Britain, where spaces tend to be on the small size anyway, so please let's have them here.


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Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2007 at 9:52 am

This is an interesting, creative idea. I remember struggling with the same thing years ago when my kids were small and in carseats. It's esp. challenging for a pregnant woman with a young child.

I have always driven compact to medium sized cars and it is tough to get out even now with huge vehicles parked so close, looming over my car, with these monster sized doors. If you have three or more kids/people to transport, I have no issue with it, but one rarely sees that situation. Usually, it's one mom and one child. Some people park their huge vehicles in spots that clearly cannot contain them (I agree this may be more of an issue about how the parking lot was designed).

Considering the environmental impact and price of gas/petrol, what is the future? Are people going to continue their Hummer and Porsche SUV purchases or will everyone soon be in cars like the Prius? That will have a secondary impact on ease of other people being able to easily park/get in and out of the car.

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Posted by Anamika
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2007 at 11:18 am

Lets not make this a discussion on the size of the car ! Lets stick to the point made by the original poster ..

Whether its a compact or a hummer - "parents" parking spaces would be a delight. I have struggled in the situations mentioned in the above posts before [the worst was - when I was pregnant, parked my tiny little car in the downtown and came back to find that the door would not open wide enough to let me in from the driver's side - there was no way I could have slid into the driver's seat from the passenger side and I had no option but to wait for 45 minutes till the driver of the other car came by (and apologized profusely .. which was not quite expected since had had parked within the boundaries)]

IKEA has such family spaces right upfront. I have seen parents without children in the car park in these spaces .. yes, they do have child-seats in the car, but there are no children in the car at the time they are parking in the family spots.

How will this be enforced is the big question ! Relying on people's own judgment about doing the right-thing?

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2007 at 11:49 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm

I've also seen these parking spaces all over the UK. Most new grocery stores, and places like IKEA, have them and they are much appreciated. Considering the financial clout that parents of young children wield these days (as more parents are waiting to have their children in their 30s), making it easier for them to park near your store is a smart business move, too.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2007 at 7:31 pm

A Parents Parking spot need not necessarily be near the entrance, it could just be the spots on the end of the rows or where there is diagonal striping where you can't park. All you need to be able to do is open the drivers door and the back door, drivers side, wide enough. This would mean just adding some paint to say please leave for parents only.

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Posted by Parent too
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2007 at 7:54 pm

I'm a little tired of the whole city being converted to the convenience of those with young children. The narcissism of the parents is being transmitted to the next generation.
I wonder whether these self important people realize that they are not the first generation of people to love and raise their children. There seems to be no limit to what they want, and to their desire to be the center of attention.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2007 at 2:26 am

Ultimately, everything needs to be for the convenience of small children. If we don't have children, others will.

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Posted by Simon
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2007 at 9:00 am

Parent too -- I'm no advocate of self importance or narcissism. But, as someone with children old enough to walk, I'm happy to make other people's lives easier if it just means my family has to walk a few more yards. I'm curious, though, what it is that's made you tired of seeing our "the whole city being converted to the convenience of those with younger children.' What examples do you have in mind?

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Posted by Parent too
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2007 at 11:29 am

Thank you Simon, for asking.
Quick answer: Giving up the corner of Page Mill and El Camino for a playing field instead of its obvious appropriateness for a hotel
asking for a zillion dollars to turn Mitchell Park library into in effect a childcare center
those humongous SUVs to cart the children and their "stuff" around and make driving and parking more difficult for people in normal cars
(just for starters)