Do we really have to park facing the wall?

Why we're being asked to do so
by Vernon B. Sarne | Jun 4, 2011

"Face the wall" parking sign

You and I always see this sign in parking areas: "Please park facing the wall." The first time I saw this sign, I had to wonder just why exactly car owners were being asked to do so. I theorized that perhaps it was to ensure that people wouldn't take a long time parking their cars and thus create bottlenecks around them. Obviously, backing up is significantly more difficult than just pointing and shooting a car into a slot, particularly for new drivers. But this theory didn't make much sense, since drivers would also need to back up going out of their slots--hence negating whatever time was saved from having parked front first.

Turns out the real reason for this strange parking rule is this: Parking-lot management doesn't want the facility walls to be stained with soot coming from the tailpipes of cars. The problem with this, however, is that it's unsafe, since drivers are now forced to reverse out of slots without being able to properly see oncoming vehicles, increasing the likelihood of a slow-speed fender-bender. In addition, it becomes doubly harder to reverse out of a slot if the surrounding area is already crowded with other cars, which is almost always the case when you return to your car after, say, a movie date. I believe the trouble of scrubbing soot off walls is nothing compared to the hassle of incurring a cracked taillight.

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We actually had this rule in the basement parking of our office building, until management scrapped it a few months ago. My guess is that they got quite a number of complaints from employees who found it very challenging to wiggle out of slots after work. Let's hope other parking-lot administrators do the same.

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