When I parked at the gym, there was ample room for me to pull out of my space. When I returned, however, this was no longer the case. An Audi Q3 had hemmed me in by parking not in a space, but alongside the last car parked in the row, essentially adding an extra space. Normally, two lines comprise a parking space but, I suppose, to whoever was driving the Audi Q3, one was good enough.
The Audi was perpendicular to my minivan, making it almost impossible for me to leave. And so, I was forced to make the equivalent of a 48-point turn in order to escape from my spot without denting or scratching any of the cars around me (including the offending Audi).
I’d just encountered a “Space Creator.”
Think of the space creator as the driving world’s biggest optimist – where others see no parking, he sees limitless possibilities. When a conscientious driver sees thick yellow lines, he thinks, “No parking.” When a space creator sees them, he thinks, “Park right here.”
Space creators make parking space where there is none and, in doing so, cause frustration and aggravation for everyone else. You find them in grocery store parking lots, at shopping malls, and sports events, anywhere parking is limited – and they are especially plentiful around Christmas.
The philosophy is simple: Clearly marked parking spaces are merely suggestions, to be followed only when convenient. Why should the space creator park 30 seconds away in an open spot when he can plant his pickup truck (they are often pickup trucks) on the yellow lines right in front of the store?
While each infraction is as unique as the driver who commits it, space creators have a few signature moves.
The lot is full, but have no fear. The space creator merely “caps” off a row of parked cars. This can cause bottlenecks and (as in my own case with the Audi) near-impossible exits.
You don’t need a scarcity of spots for this one, just a complete unwillingness to walk even the shortest of distances. The space creator seeks out the nearest set of yellow lines and uses them as an “x marks the spot” to create their very own new space.
Drivers are not supposed to park within 15 metres of a traffic light and approximately 10 metres of an intersection. There’s a good reason for this. When you park too close to these you block sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian crossings and road entrances. This creates a blind spot and endangers pedestrians. The doesn’t trouble a “blinder” space creator – he’s happy to park 15 inches from a crosswalk if it means he can walk directly into the corner store.
This space creator should not to be confused with real firefighters who help people. The firefighter space creator parks in fire routes at malls that are clearly and boldly marked as no parking zones. What if there were an actual emergency and the route was blocked? This is not something that concerns space creators – they are not detail-oriented people.
For every 100 parking spaces, there is one accessible space designated for people with health conditions that limit their mobility. These are “sweet spots” located near building entrances. To a space creator, these are irresistibly tantalizing. Their thinking: “I’ll only be there a few minutes, where’s the harm?” Of all the sordid varieties, this is the worst.
If this kind of parking is so egregious, how do the offenders get away with it?
Space-creating is a short-term transgression. They are typically not there long enough to get a ticket, and when by some miracle, they actually do, a space creator is likely to be outraged by the injustice of it all or chalk it up to experience. Either way they’ll never change their behaviour. We can’t do much except control our own driving habits.
Space-creating happens when opportunity meets a lack of integrity – and for some, that’s a temptation that’s too attractive to pass up.
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