Parking, am I right?
While the Central Valley may not have the steep hills of San Francisco or the congested streets of New York City, we still have plenty of our own parking woes. Whether it be poorly laid-out garages or unwieldy intersections, putting your car safely in a spot can prove much harder than it should be.
With the busy holiday season upon us, shoppers have begun descending on area businesses in hordes — and so have their cars. That makes for mobbed parking lots and more frustrated drivers. We asked readers to sound off on the some of the most problematic places to park in the Central Valley. Their responses ranged from the merely annoying to the downright dangerous.
Downtown Modesto was a frequent complaint, both along the city streets and its numerous parking garages. Among the worst offenders is the Tenth Street Place garage at the corner of 11th and K streets. Opened in 1999, the 700-space garage sits across from Brenden Theatres.
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Since its inception, the garage has been criticized for being badly designed with tight turns, narrow aisles and small spaces. In fact, The Bee reported in 2000 that it has “received 60 to 100 complaints a day about congestion.”
The sentiment still holds. Bee reader Hope Rocha said the garage is “narrow and always full.”
But the Tenth Street Place lot isn’t the only one drawing endless ire. People have plenty of complaints about the multi-level garage at Doctors Medical Center. Having to go to the hospital, whether for yourself or a loved one, is a stressful situation as is. But add parking worries and it’s enough to make you sick, said Modesto resident Nancy Norton.
“This whole medical building and Doctors hospital parking areas including the parking garage is a living nightmare ...,” she wrote on Facebook. “(First) of all, most of the spaces in the medical building parking lot are too small for average size cars and the side of my car has tons of dents from people banging into it trying to open their doors to enter or exit their cars. (Second) you must drive around and around wasting gas just looking for a spot to park. I wish everyone who uses either Doctors hospital or the medical facility good luck in finding a spot on the street to park without walking a mile to get there, so leave early if you have to use either of those facilities because if you find a place to park it will be a miracle!”
Still, you don’t have to be endlessly circling in a parking garage to feel the frustration. Awkwardly laid out parking lots can cause just as many headaches. And chief among the major migraine makers, readers said, was the Walmart up north on McHenry Avenue. The superstore moved into the center in 2008. But residents said the shopping center’s cramped layout makes it a challenge to park and even more challenging to visit the complex’s other tenants, many of which predate the mega retailer.
Crystal Dalby called it “horrible” and said, “I love the Chinese restaurant there. But hardly go (because) of that parking lot. Last time I went. Drove in. Got instant road rage. Drove out.”
Lest you think the city’s newest Walmart, the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Orageburg Avenue, gets off the hook, it does not. Plenty of readers complained about the store’s small lot and small spaces, too.
Of course, these vehicle vexations aren’t relegated to Modesto drivers alone. In Turlock, the Target parking lot in Monte Vista Crossings has been called an “absolute disaster.” The cluster of popular restaurants like Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Panda Express, Cold Stone Creamery and Jamba Juice in the area compounds the problem.
“I hate that whole area! I refuse to go after 3 pm. That area is notorious for drivers not safely backing out,” said Cynthia Teresa on Facebook.
Plenty of other areas made people’s parking space of shame list — from the area around Modesto Junior College to the spaces around Spouts in the McHenry Village and beyond.
So with the aggravation and anxiety of the holiday shopping season about to arrive, it’s wise to remember these parking tips. Breathe. Count to 10. And most of all, be courteous to other drivers who are just as ticked off as you are. After all, it’s just a parking space.
Sound off on your own least favorite places to park below. Constructive venting helps, too.