Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Art of Parking

If you've spent any amount of time in Los Angeles, then you know that parking is a nightmare. If you want to park close to your destination, you're probably going to have to pay, on average, $10 to park in a crappy, dimly lit, unsecured lot.  If you're lucky enough to snag one of the three spots in front of your destination that hasn't been designated for the valet or taxis, you end up feeling like an illiterate child as you try to decipher the numerous signs telling you when it's ok to park there.  This is my interpretation of how the parking signs read:

"No parking on Tuesdays and Thursdays before 1:12 pm and after 3:39 pm and on the third Wednesday of the month, except after Labor Day on an odd numbered year before 4 pm."

Did you get that?  No?  Well guess what.  Here's a $75 parking ticket for you.

My girlfriend calls me the Parking Genie because I'm usually able to pull off some Rockstar parking, but it's much less magic and wishing and more preparation and planning.  Google Maps is my best friend when it comes to finding parking.  I use the satellite view to see if there are cars parked on the street and if there are, I'll use Street View to see if there are parking meters.  Sometimes I can even see the parking signs that tell me when I can or can't park there.  I always carry some quarters in my car because you might find a parking meter 20 minutes before they shut down for the night.  You can park all night for 50 cents!

I've found that two blocks is about the farthest that people are willing to walk to get somewhere.  If they can't find parking within two blocks, they just end up valeting or paying $10+ to park.  Thankfully I have a girlfriend that isn't afraid to walk a little bit.  By parking just a couple blocks away, you've saved yourself enough money to buy an extra drink or get an appetizer or get that large bucket of popcorn.

You know what else I think is funny?  In a 6 level parking structure, everyone is circling around and fighting for parking on the first 2 levels.  You do realize that there are elevators on every floor that drop you off at the entrance, right?  While everyone is fighting for that first level parking spot, I've already parked 10 steps away from an elevator and am on my way to enjoy my night, stress-free.

Here's my Parking Genie tip of the day: In the city of Los Angeles, yellow loading zones are OK to park at after 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and all day Sunday.

So don't let the paid parking lots or the meter maids deter you from going out and adventuring in the great city of Los Angeles!  The city has so much to offer!  Fight past the Universe's Resistance for you to have fun!

Share your parking tips or secret parking places in the comments below!

Update:  I had a friend who needed real proof about the loading zone regulations because hearing it from my mouth isn't good enough.  How about from the mouth of LA DOT?

Subscribe to this blog on Kindle!