I'm almost certain that you're legally obligated to get out of your car and beat one of those people nearly to death with a blunt object.
Yeah. We take our cars and driving pretty seriously in Southern California. Such a thing would probably start a riot. On the other hand though, I do notice some self entitled folks who decide that as long as they're not staying for long, it's not technically parking, so they can just stop their car in the lane right in front of the store "just for a few seconds" to let out passengers (sometimes, they'll politely turn on their hazards just to let everyone else know what's going on). Honestly, part of that is the dumb redesign of the shopping center I frequent, where they moved all the restaurants from the lower lot area (with tons of parking that no one uses now) to the top level juncture area right between the two lots. Which means that the closest parking is the lot directly in front of the grocery store. Which makes finding parking reasonably close to said store difficult for those of us actually shopping for groceries and significantly increases traffic congestion right in that area (and contributes to the idea of dropping folks off at the curb right there and blocking traffic). Then again, that shopping center has a freaking concierge bus (more like a cart really) and valet parking, so self entitlement kinda comes with the territory (even for those not using the service).
Oh. And another peeve (this is more of a complaint about dumb design really): What the heck is up with shopping center parking lots going to a 3 out of 4 way stop design? I've run into this in another center near a friends house and immediately thought "wow, this is dumb". A couple months ago, they changed the intersection to the bottom lot entrance to this same dumb design. What I'm talking about is where the lot has a double wide divided lane that goes straight from/to the main street (with a signal light). A short distance in, there's an intersection that allows one to turn left or right to lanes that run more or less around the far edge of the lot (far from the center of the shopping area, but near to the street). That's usually where they'll place stuff like gas stations, car washes, lube and tune, maybe a detached restaurant, etc. Previously, the cross traffic had stop signs, but the main traffic going in or out did not. Apparently, this caused a problem with traffic flow because folks turning from the main road into the lot and then wanting to make an immediate left turn into one of the side lanes, would have to stop and wait for traffic exiting to clear, sometimes resulting in traffic backing up into the main street. Their solution? Put a stop sign on the traffic heading out! Wow. What a great idea? Not! What happens now is that folks going out stop to wait for any traffic heading in which might turn left in front of them to clear. The problem is that said traffic coming in doesn't know that the traffic going the other way has a stop sign. So they stop to wait for you to go, assuming that you have right of way since you're going straight, and they're turning left across your lane. There's literally nowhere I've seen on a surface street that uses this sort of configuration, precisely because it's confusing as heck, and will cause accidents rather than reduce them. Apparently, the dim bulbs in charge of putting up traffic signs in parking lots should maybe talk to the folks who do so on surface streets. They might learn why you *don't* do certain things.
To make matter worse though (and this is the total kicker). Even if you thought that the drivers entering the lot should be able to look and see that the traffic heading the other way has a stop sign, they actually cant. Some other bright bulb, apparently thinking someone might get confused and drive the wrong way on the divided entry/exit lane, put a "do not enter" sign on the reverse side of the stop sign
. So the person driving out sees a stop sign on the right side of his lane and stops. The person coming in, if he even bothers to look, only sees a square "do not enter" sign on the far left side of intersection. The stop sign is entirely blocked from view, so they have no way of knowing that the exiting traffic has a stop.
Honestly, if the problem was traffic backing up, what they should have done was just extend the center divider all the way through the intersection. That way entering traffic can only go straight or turn right, and exiting traffic can only go straight or turn right. Cross traffic can only turn right as well (so one side can exit and the other can only enter and travel towards the center area). This would solve the problem entirely. So yeah, the small number of people on the right side of the lot would have to drive up one of the lanes to the store fronts, turn left, then left again to the exit (or go out the back exit which is just as easy from that portion of the lot), but that's actually easier than sitting their waiting for the exit/entry lane to clear so they can turn left and exit. Folks in the left side of the lot can exit easily (and to be honest, I sometimes cut down a lane or three early to go down that lane and turn right to get to the exit lane anyway, just because it's usually less congested). It would eliminate accidents pretty much entirely, and eliminate backed up traffic. Just need some cement and it's done.
Oh. And the other thing it would eliminate is people going into the freaking gas station backwards. The station is immediately to the left as you enter that lot from the street. So people turn left from the entrance lane and then turn left into the gas station. The station, however, has 3 pump long lanes, and so has entrance and exit signs, and the pump rows themselves have big red "do not enter" signs on them. But people pull in anyway because the exit route is the closest "entrance" into the stations lot. They want people to drive in a circle past the station (or enter by turning into a earlier lane when heading towards the exit), turn into the lane at the end, pull through the pump lanes, and then exit and then turn right towards the exit of the lot itself. But a silly number of people come in the wrong way. If there was no way to make a left into that side lane from the entrance, they'd be forced to drive to the lane by the store fronts, make a left there, then come back down another lane, and be naturally positioned to enter in the "first" entrance to the station, which would actually line them up properly.
Yeah yeah. TL;DR. Whatever.
Oh. Ultimately irony is that they actually implemented this exact solution in the entrance/exit to the top lot about 5 years ago. They actually went a step further and disallowed right turns from the lot into the entrance lane as well, so as to ensure that traffic entering has no obstacles at all (they can freely and with right of way continue all the way to the intersection at the store front, or turn right into the lot to their right. So I have no clue why they decided it wouldn't work on the other main entrance into the center and did something completely different. Edited, Jun 20th 2016 6:29pm by gbaji