In Vancouver, CTV Vancouver reports that the annual number of auto collisions has increased slightly in the last 13 years, but the percentage of auto collisions that occur in parking lots has increased greatly. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of cars damaged in parking lots grew by 32 percent. The reason, according to the article, is bigger cars and shrinking parking lots. The size of the parking stalls, despite suspicions, has not decreased.
Further study, as reported by the article, revealed that stall sizes have not changed by more than 2 inches, but the lots themselves are on the smaller side.
Several cities contacted by CTV News confirmed that the minimum size of a parking stall hasn’t changed in decades. But the cost of land has gone up, which is a major incentive for developers that might have built larger lots to only build the minimum.
It’s true, cars are just getting bigger and bigger, and getting in and out of parking spots gets harder and harder. Sometimes it feels like backing up isn’t an act of calculating speed and space, but an act of faith. I don’t just close my eyes and hit the pedal, but I see other people do it. My tactic is to inch out very slowly, checking in each direction at each increment. Between the cars packed in so tightly and the pedestrians who forget there are cars in motion in the vicinity, it’s somewhat nerve-wracking.
I don’t have any solutions. I bought the smallest “big” car I could and park carefully. But cars aren’t going to get smaller – at least for the time being – and parking spots aren’t going to get larger. Maybe the future will bring smaller cars for everyone, or self driving cars that don’t need parking, or class action lawsuits against retailers that don’t provide safe parking. You never know. But, just to be clear, I’m on the side of personal responsibility all the way.
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