Thoughts from an End User … May 2024


Thoughts from an End User … May 2024

It is All About Location… Until it Isn’t.

Most people in the parking industry assume that location is the most significant factor in selecting a parking space. It’s true. I will park as close to my ultimate destination as I possibly can. 


Like they say about real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. But, also like real estate, there are many other factors at play that I consider before I pay for parking.


I believe that taking these factors into account can help create brand loyalty in end users and will have them actively seeking your parking locations when they need to park. 


The first thing that will make me pass up a parking space, no matter how expensive other options may be, is having to parallel park or reverse into a slanted parking space. I understand that on-street parking might need to be parallel because of street design, and a lack of other options. 


I will parallel park in extreme circumstances, such as attending a busy event with full parking lots. I will do it, begrudgingly, but I will do it. I have never used a back-in angled parking spot. I categorically refuse to do that. 


I don’t understand how they are safer or how they make traffic flow smoothly. I will park blocks away from those spots to avoid parking that way. 


Because these spots tend to be in more municipal areas controlled by the city, private operators will get my business, even though those spots are typically more expensive. 


My next criterion is lighting. I will choose well-lit lots or parking garages every single time. As a woman, I do not feel safe parking in unlit areas, even if they happen to be in high-traffic areas. 

Even when accompanied by my husband, I prefer well-lit areas with clear signage so we don’t have to guess how to pay. I’m clumsy. I’m afraid of stepping in a pothole or having an unexpected change in elevation where I can twist my ankle, so a well-lit lot or garage is a high priority. 


I will pay extra for that peace of mind, and I don’t mind. 


Like many people, I sometimes prioritize form over function, and I wear impractical shoes. Though my outfit looks stylish, my propensity to fall is higher, so I will choose evenly paved lots with few to no potholes. Some lots in my area are decidedly cheaper than the newer ones, but I skip those if they are full of walking hazards. 


I prefer to walk a few more blocks than potentially end up in an Urgent Care clinic. 


Along with this, I look at the cleanliness of a lot or garage before I park. If it’s riddled with trash and other debris, I automatically feel like my safety may be compromised because the lot or garage is already in disarray. 


I feel unsafe and think someone may be lurking about, waiting to cause mischief or harm. Therefore, I try to make other choices. 


It is harder to assess the cleanliness of a garage before paying to go in, but if I have a grace period like a free half-hour, I will leave a dirty garage. 


If I’m stuck in the garage, I will make a mental note not to use it again. If it’s messy and people are loitering, I will take the hit, leave the garage, and look for another solution. 


I also prefer lots where I can easily identify the owner of the lot or garage. For better or for worse, I can almost always spot one of the major brand parking locations because of the clear signage and branding that identifies it as such. 


I feel secure because I feel as if they have a sign to identify their lot or garage, they are probably taking care of it, and I can contact someone if something happens on their property. It brings me a level of assurance at 8 pm when I’m trying to decide which destination I will return to at midnight or even later. 


Don’t get me wrong, price does factor into the equation, but if I see two choices within $5 of each other, I will choose the more expensive option if it meets the parameters of cleanliness and safety.


I think there is a misconception that all users gravitate towards the cheaper or closest option as a given. 


Though there is wisdom in that outlook, I am not atypical. Many of us will weigh many options before we park our vehicles, and the aforementioned makes a big difference when the playing field is relatively even.

Article contributed by:
Monique Uhlenhaker, Parking Today Contributor
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