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Parking on an angle

Parking on an angle is as old as father Civil Engineering himself. Look how cramped that is. Yikes!


A big fear of many is the replacement of our jobs by automation or inexpensive means. Robots, computers, offshore call centers. As an individual that would like to protect your source of income, economics professors always tell us that in order to protect our positions, we should be part of the highly skilled workforce. More training, more degrees…thereby keeping the professors jobs secure. Damn, we’ve been bamboozled!

Actually, not really. They’re right. We want to be at the top of the highly skilled heap. As Engineers, we always took comfort in that. Then came along programs that can help automate design, AutoCAD can quickly layout parking lots, design software can quickly iterate storm water running through a complex storm drain system, BMP Software can help automate sizing for storm water capture. Of course, you still need someone to interpret, parse, and customize per solution. So, we’re still confident, but checking over our shoulder that some software company has not come up with some software that you snap your fingers and the site is designed.

Then I get a tweet from a good friend of mine.

What?! “They’ve done it“, I thought. I envisioned some software that would force me to pack my things and take on underwater basketweaving. Then I read the article.

Some mathematician figured out that angled parking is more efficient than 90 degree parking. Yeah…so, that’s Civil Engineering 101. I thought. It’s still better in my opinion for 90 degree parking, so pedestrians can get to their car without being pinched in, free flow of traffic so you don’t have people zipping down one isle just to get over to the next isle, Emergency traffic can move through better, and the overall parking experience is actually better as opposed to be jammed in like sardines. We need to look at the issue holistically, and not purely from an efficiency standpoint. You may only gain a few more spaces this way, and frankly, we don’t feel it’s worth the gains.

So yes, maybe some mathematician proved some theorem about parking lots that Civil Engineers have known for decades. Either way, don’t hire a programmer or a mathematician to do your site engineering for you.

Disaster averted for another day. We’re still safe for now.