Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Whole Thing About Parking

Down at the Parque Comercial in our town of Mojácar, there are three stories full to bursting with shops, bars, restaurants and offices. The notary, three or four lawyers, a dentist, a doctor, six bars (I think), a couple of restaurants, tickytack souvenirs, fancy shops, boutiques, three telephone shops, a couple of radio stations, an internet shop, a book-shop, a tattooist and a bank. A large furniture shop and a giant supermarket. A lottery and a beggar. Right next door, there's a second shopping precinct with more bars, a slot machine place, the post office with 1500 post boxes, the Euro weakly office and who knows what all else. The two malls rely on one small parking area surrounding the first of them. By around ten in the morning, when the staff are all in attendance in their various places of business, there is no room for customers to park. This is called 'bad design'. It happens. To exacerbate things further, there are a number of things taking up the few parking spaces (everybody already ignores the yellow lines). These are the bins and skips. Together, they inconvenience some ten cars or so, who will either park nearby, or will go to Garrucha which has a better selection anyway.
So how is it that Mojácar, with 72Km2 of space, an average of about 100 inhabitants per square kilometre, one person per hectare, manages to plan its parking so badly? Narrow residential streets festooned with parked cars making them all one-way (at best). A range of hotels and a golf course with an obligation to drive one way, right through the whole entire urbanisation, as the designers apparently forgot entirely about traffic and the width of roads. They finally had to remove half of the grass along the front just to add an extra parking area.
A village with a spanking new parking lot used as a market on Wednesdays. The Fuente - where another market runs on Sundays, with cars clawing onto the cliff beside the road down towards the beach. There's a roundabout at the Fuente which defies description; so people park on it. On the Playa again, a thin two lane blacktop runs, over innumerable traffic mounds, from Garrucha to the Hotel Best Indalo (I hope never to see the Hotel Worst Indalo), a distance of eight or ten kilometres of chock-full traffic during the summer, mostly looking for a parking space (while watching out for the traffic police).
When you can park - in a cramped spot which as often as not was never designed for that use - you may find that you will have to 'get out of the other door', climb over the gear shift, then walk to your destination.
It's fun though - especially now, when things are quiet.

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