It is amazing how many people feel the need to park in the front row or the closest parking spaces to an entrance that are available, when just a bit of walking could be beneficial to their general health. Doesn’t matter if it is the grocery store, restaurant, movie theater, or the library, so many of us seem stuck on making the shortest possible bee line to our destination. Given the plethora of drive-ins, drive-thrus, and pampered in your car services that abound, it might not be long until the apocalyptic vision from Wall-E (see image above) could become reality.
Heaven knows this nation has an obesity problem, and to me one of the best ways to counteract a sedentary lifestyle is to make yourself walk more. So…why is it so many of us must have a front row parking space…are we all Bob Uecker? Frankly, with the exception of inclement weather, illness, mobility impairment, and injuries, a lot of it comes down to two things – laziness and a harried lifestyles…and neither one of these is healthy for us.
We planners need to step it up too. Instead of allowing parking design as usual, perhaps we should encourage off-street parking that rewards exercise. Let’s consider putting bicycle parking and transit stops at or nearest the front entrance along with parking for those who may have mobility impairments and some nice landscaping amenities. Those who decide to drive can be relegated to the more distance parking spaces so they can get some added exercise.
Individually, instead of always parking with Bob Uecker in the front row, try parking your car a bit further out and walking to/from the store from your distant space. At the very least, the fresh air and exercise will be beneficial. Plus, your car door is less likely to get dinged. Who knows, you may come to enjoy it enough that walking might become a larger part of your daily routine.