Snagging the perfect parking space — it’s a quest that inspires endless frustration, parking lot rage, drivers stalking shoppers back to their cars, and has even spawned YouTube parodies. Mall developers are responding by trying to take the headache out of parking, introducing new smartphone apps that use data from parking lot cameras to identify and route drivers to open spaces. Increasingly, malls are also installing overhead electronic signboards that use red or green lights to mark rows with open spaces. Also, websites and mobile apps are popping up that can assist you in finding the perfect spot.
But even if your mall’s parking lot lacks technology savvy, a little insider parking knowledge can save you from stalking drivers back to their cars — and have your car parked in just minutes. Whether you’re battling Black Friday crowds or simply trying to survive your regular weekend shopping rush, follow these parking tips to take the pain out of your next trip to the mall.
Master the art of hovering: If the parking lot is full, you’ll need to “hover” to find a space. Just last weekend, I found myself hovering in the middle of a long row of cars, trying to keep a sharp eye out for folks who were about to leave. One mad dash for a vacant spot later, another driver swooped in and stole it, leaving me irritated, angry… and still hovering for parking! Here’s how to avoid a similar fate:
Know where to look: According Tom Diamond, the president of Chicago-based Remote Sensing Metrics, parking lots tend to fill up in the shape of a bell curve, with the greatest vehicle concentration in front of store entrances. If you’re in a hurry and need to park immediately, follow these tips: