Commentary: IOU A Better Parking Lot

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 31, 2006

The depot parking lot remains a disaster. The hard to operate automatic pay machines remain hard to operate. The crazy traffic flow that forces entering cars to make a hard left directly into the line of cars trying to exit - that's still there too.

In fairness though, improvements have been made. A small pick-up and drop off area was painted curbside, opposite the depot's new Starbucks. Patrons can now enter and leave out the back of the parking lot  through old Sacramento. Someone has even put up signs alerting them to that fact. Signs! Directions! What a concept!

I’m told money is on the way to improve traffic flow and carve out a permanent drop off / pick-up zone near the tracks. That's sensible.

More needs to happen. My friend put a $20 bill into the lot's automatic pay machine recently to pay a $16 tab. She received an IOU instructing her to pick up her change at the lot operator's office, but - you guessed it - the office was closed. Another buddy told me he would bike to the depot if there were lockers there to stash his bike before boarding a train; another cheap fix well worth pursuing.

Sacramento’s train depot is a busy place, and it's going to get busier. It needs a parking lot that works.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.