I sometimes wonder if motorists driving in and out of car parks get irritated by pedestrians walking through.
Often the pedestrians have no choice.
These pictures are from Caulfield Plaza – with the major drawcard inside being the Coles supermarket.
There is obvious pedestrian traffic from the railway station and the university campus to the southern entrance of the Plaza. There are no footpaths on this side, so of course people walk through the car park. There is a pedestrianised entrance from Dandenong Road, and another from Derby Road, but few people are likely to go the long way around.
In my suburb, Bentleigh, despite generally being very walkable, it’s a similar story at the big supermarkets:
SafewayWoolworths is on the corner of Jasper and Centre Roads, but provides no pedestrian access at all, so anybody coming on foot has to cut through the car park.
- Aldi is on Centre Road, inside a bigger building, and has a dedicated pedestrian entrance to the street, as well as a car park around the back.
- Coles has a well-placed pedestrian entrance from the eastern side, but from the western side there’s only a gap in the car spaces with some bollards (see below), and this is located well away from the desire lines, so nobody uses it.
These types of layouts are poor design, for both pedestrians and motorists.
And I guess until it’s fixed we just have to live with it. Motorists need to watch out, and consider that every pedestrian is one less car on the road and taking up car spaces.
And pedestrians need to watch out for inattentive drivers. Often visibility isn’t ideal, especially for cars pulling out of or backing into parking spaces.
I wonder though, is making pedestrians walk through a car park subtly discouraging them from walking? Particularly those who are, or are with, vulnerable walkers such as young children or those with mobility problems.
Would supermarkets and other businesses with their own car parks get more customers if they provided safe convenient paths to their doors?
Are newer car parks and shopping centres any better? How do we get this fixed?