Grade inflation

The phrase “parking lot” should not delight the heart — we have enough of those to accommodate every car in the world, albeit seldom conveniently — but it should suggest certain attributes, and one of those ought to be “flatness”:

I want to talk about parking lots built with a fairly steep incline to get out of them. Why do people DO this? I hate sitting and waiting on the incline for it to be safe to pull out because I’m afraid that if someone pulls too close behind me, and I take my foot off the brake to pull forward, and I slip back *just a little* (because of the incline, and because I don’t like doing “jackrabbit starts”), I’ll hit the other person. Also, the inclines often make it harder to see clearly up and down the road you’re pulling out on to. The grade needs to be more gradual; people who make parking-lot exits with steep inclines should have their engineer’s licenses, or designer’s licenses, or whatever, taken away. I don’t care if people think it looks cool; I don’t care if it would cost more to make a more gradual grade. I’m less likely to want to park somewhere where it feels hazardous to leave.

When I see one of those, I sometimes wonder if it’s a lake bed that dried up, and then converted at the least possible expense.

And I wonder if the existence of such things played any role in the near-extinction of the stick shift.


  1. fillyjonk »

    20 February 2014 · 2:37 pm

    Yeah, my first thought in the lot I referred to was: “Man, glad I’m not driving a stick.”

  2. JT »

    20 February 2014 · 5:00 pm

    As someone who drives a stick regularly, I can agree that it’s a pain in the ass to get out of places with steep inclines. Occasionally it’s fun to do a minor burnout when leaving someplace, although my tire budget keeps me from doing that too often. The places I regularly frequent that have driveways like that fortunately have other exits.

  3. jsallison »

    21 February 2014 · 6:16 pm

    I usually found the hand brake quite handy in such situations. I’m now of an age where autotrannies are Good Enough.

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