Drivers in a parking lot ought to yield to pedestrians. At least one Montgomery County driver doesn’t know this. Is this her fault or the consequence of a confusing parking lot striping design?



Greater Greater Wife and I stopped at the “Shops at Wildwood” shopping center at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard in North Bethesda this morning. This has the fairly classic layout where the stores are in a line, a roadway runs along the stores, and then each row of parking spaces extends perpendicular to that roadway.

We parked in one of the rows and walked toward a store. A driver was coming up to the corner where we waited. There’s a speed bump, so she slowed down. We waited for her to stop. Instead, as we waited, she slowly rolled on over the speed bump and past us.

I made a quizzical shrugging gesture, and the driver shouted, “crosswalk!”

Crosswalk? What crosswalk? Ah, on the next row over, there’s a crosswalk connecting the aisle to the stores, but there was no crosswalk on our row or some of the other rows.

Perhaps this crosswalk is there because that row has some disability parking spaces or something. Did this driver really think that everyone is supposed to walk from their row over to this other row and use the crosswalk to get to the stores?

My first instinct was to simply conclude that some drivers don’t understand how to drive in parking lots, but does the fact that some have crosswalks and some don’t create extra confusion?

What do you think? Bad driver or bad design?

Meanwhile, Eric Fidler took this photograph of a driver actually parked in a Dupont Circle Capital Bikeshare station.


Even if this station were entirely empty when this driver parked here, which is possible, it seems like a stretch for them to conclude that this is a parking space.

This appears to be a New York license plate; if it’s from anywhere in or around the city, they’ll probably get used to what these bikeshare stations are as soon as the system launches there.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.