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Old 05-20-2015, 07:47 AM   #21
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I learned back in college that it's easier to back into a spot than to pull in. At the time, I had a 1980 Malibu, and was accustomed to regular-sized spaces. But then, I started college, and got introduced to those tighter spaces, which have only become more common. The upper classmen got standard-sized spaces, but us freshmen got the tiny spots in Lot 4, out in the boonies.

I remember someone else having a '76 Olds Ninety-Eight, and having to park in those spots! That's about as big as cars ever got, so it must have been a real beast to maneuver!

I've noticed that, over the years, cars seem to be harder and harder to park. You can't see the edges like you used to, the roof pillars are thicker, the rumps are higher, etc.

And it seems like narrow spaces are the norm these days, rather than the exception. Which seems odd to me, because vehicles started getting larger again. While they'll never make a car as big as that '76 Olds Ninety-Eight again, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, etc, are much more common these days. And even shorter cars tend to be wider, with larger doors that swing open wider. Plus, they say the typical American is getting wider as they're going to have to swing those doors wider!

I wonder if there's a body shop lobby that pushed for those narrower parking spaces?

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Old 05-20-2015, 08:07 AM   #22
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:28 AM   #23
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My spot at work is similar. Definitely back in. Start by cranking steering wheel all the way. Back as far as possible. Pull forward a little while adjusting position. Back straight in using mirrors. Climb out the window like Duke Hazard.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:51 AM   #24
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I am so happy for you that you have moved into your new condo!

As for the parking spot, I think the advice to look for a narrower car is good advice. I know that your VW Golf is narrow, but still it seems to me that just a few inches could make all the difference if you could find a suitable car that is narrower.

Meanwhile, good luck and I hope that parking there becomes easier, as time goes by.
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:51 AM   #25
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When I was learning to back up in a diesel truck, all spaces were small. A small piece of tape in the center line of the vehicle, and a painted aim point to line up to, was a big help.

When I was backing up to a truck camper, I set a dot on the side mirror and a magnet with a spring antennae like attachment to the drivers side. All I needed to do was aim the truck. With that camper, there was less than an inch clearance on either side.
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:53 AM   #26
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I share the anxiety. About 6 months ago, DW was parking our Town Car next to a five year old Odyssey Van in our CCRC parking lot. Barely touched the bumper... plastic bumper. Nothing at all to our car, and a tiny scratch 1 inch long, 1/4 inch wide on the other car. DE went inside, and hunted down the elderly couple that owned the van, and gave them her information.
Here's the grating part... I'm sure I could have wax/buffed out that tiny mark, but the damage had been done, so we reported it to our insurance company. I figured, big deal... the shop will buff and spray and the cost will come to $200... Not to be... they saw the old couple coming, and replaced the bumper, the bumper liner, the braces and who knows what else, to the tune of $1500... $150 for the paint alone... the paint... not the labor...
Cost us nothing, but but I'm not sure what this will do to the insurance, the next time we have a problem.

In the future... if something as simple as this happens, I'll talk to the owner and offer a few hundred dollars, which I'm sure they'll happily take.

Live and learn.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:18 PM   #27
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Cooper Mini? Get a motorcycle or trike? A tuk-tuk?
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:03 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ArkTinkerer View Post
Cooper Mini? Get a motorcycle or trike? A tuk-tuk?
OP is in MN. Winter there would be a tad chilly for a bike.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:34 PM   #29
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Love the video Dand76.

We have ridiculously tight underground parking at our university hospital. Added dangers as well - such as steel protective rings 2 feet off the ground around pillars - deadly!

I agree with backing in as the way to go. You may find it useful to adjust side mirrors to see downward and right in to the side of your car to see how close you are getting before you back in. Back up cameras are great. Definitely wrap the pillar in something so as not to scrape the car as badly if you do rub it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:08 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
OP is in MN. Winter there would be a tad chilly for a bike.
Doesn't stop these folks!

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Old 05-20-2015, 08:44 PM   #31
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This might be helpful

6 Small Cars You Can Park Anywhere |
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:50 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I got a Honda Fit (one mentioned on that list), but still managed to put a small scratch on the passenger mirror side at one of my condo parking spots. I did end up getting matching touch up paint and repair that scratch.

Another car not mentioned on the list is the Prius C. That's about a foot shorter than my Fit.

I feel your pain:

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Old 05-20-2015, 09:58 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post

And I think all are rated pretty low by Consumer Reports.... I think the Fit is OK, but not to Honda standards on their other models... Some of the others are really bad...
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:40 PM   #34
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I have had a challenge parking my small car in my co-op apartment building's indoor garage for the last 21 years I have had a spot. From 1994-2011, I had this awkward corner spot which had part of the side wall jutting out, making a straight-in approach not workable because it was very tough to back out on a curve. So I backed in on a curve which was fine until the owner of the spot next to mine moved out in 2005.

The new owner of that spot had a slightly larger car at first until they bought a large SUV about a year later. Their spot became tougher not only for them to park but made it tougher for me to get in and out, especially (backing) in. My old car was already 14 years old at the time so I wasn't overly concerned if I dinged it up on the wall a little bit (I never did but came close many times). But I surely didn't want to nick this boat of a new SUV if they didn't back in all the way or parked close to the line separating our cars.

In 2007, I got rid of my old clunker and bout a new car, a 2007 Corolla. When I was checking out new cars, I had to make sure the car's width was not larger than existing car or else it would be even tougher to get in and out. I also asked my super if I could get a different spot at some point. In 2011, finally, he told me he would be able to move people around because several spots would open up and after 17 years of battling with this parking spot I would finally get a reprieve.

The spot on the other side of my neighbor's spot opened up so the super moved the boat SUV there and I got his old spot. YAY! I was finally freed of the corner spot. But this new spot had its own issues. First, there was a beam which separated my new spot from the one on the other side of it. I knew this, of course. But now I could park head in if I wanted to. I still chose to back in because it was easier to back in than back out. I still had to get around the beam by backing in on a curve like before. But at least I was not at the mercy of someone else's ability to park well.

I have nicked the beam a few times, scratching the paint near the left front bumper a few times. But two other problems have arisen since 2011. First, the boat SUV owner moved out in early 2012 which cleared their space still next to mine (on the other side of the beam). That's fine, but the new owner has had a tendency to park too close to the beam, and also park head-in so her driver-side door and my driver-side door are next to each other. The yellow line separating our spots is badly drawn on my side of the beam, so her spot is drawn to be about 3 feet wider than mine. She actually wrote me a note once to complain that I was parking on the line and depriving her of space. I left a note on her door explaining that she has a space 3 feet wider than mine and should count her blessings. That ended that conversation and she has tended to park more in the center of her spot to give me (and her) enough space to get our doors open.

What also happened is that my old, corner spot now has another boat SUV in there. How that guy gets his SUV in and out of there is a mystery. Being mindful of the tough spot he is in, I make sure he has enough room to get in and out which pushes me toward the line near Miss Complainer's spot.

It's still a challenge to back into my spot on a large arc and avoid hitting the side wall, the beam, and the SUV. But it is still an improvement over before. And I have the option of going head in if I need to, such as if I have a lot of stuff in my trunk or have to park in a hurry in case I have to go the bathroom. (When that has happened, I'd go back to my car and back it out and then back into the spot.)

I may not have the worst spot in the garage any more because I have seen other drivers struggle to park in spot at the other end of the garage which include beams, walls, and other cars. This keeps me from requesting another spot.

I do agree that backing into a spot on a curve is far easier than backing out of a spot on a curve.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:49 AM   #35
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Condos generally consist of units, common elements, and limited common elements. Units are usually only the habitable spaces. Common elements are the common areas that are sometimes owned in prorata share by the unit owners yet maintained by the HOA, and sometimes they are owned and maintained by an HOA. Limited common elements are parts of common elements wherein specific unit owners have individual(or group smaller than the whole) rights, such as parking areas, patios, etc.

There is usually a condominium declaration and plat(or survey) filed at the county for each condominium development. The plat should show a specific location and dimensions of your parking space if your parking space is part of a limited common element or in the remote chance that your parking spot is part of your unit.

It is also possible that parking spaces are part of the common elements, not assigned or dimensioned on the plat.

In either case, the recorded declaration (and other HOA documents) should specify how parking spaces are handled. You (or real estate lawyer and/or surveyor) could check these documents to see if your parking rights are being breached.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:04 AM   #36
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Maybe I missed it - but I didn't see any response from the OP on two of the suggestions:

1) Can the board talk (nicely) to the van owner? Maybe simply ask if he can move the thing over a bit to accommodate your situation? If it is parked within its legal rights, you won't be able to enforce it, but the person may be open to it anyhow, maybe they simply don't realize they are creating a problem for you?

2) Ask about swapping with someone else (w/o changing ownership) who may not need so much space (motorcycle, sub-compact car), effectively renting their space. Offer some $ if it is worth it to you.

I'd certainly exhaust those before selling/buying a different vehicle.

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Old 05-21-2015, 12:30 PM   #37
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This thread is a good reminder to never ever buy a condo or co-op ar live in any multi family dwelling.

Too dang many rules, not enough solutions. I'll stick with the house we have with 3 car garage, easy parking, and my 14 acre camp/mancave. Real easy parking. Now to buy that helicopter since I already have the landing pad and windsock.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:32 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
This thread is a good reminder to never ever buy a condo or co-op ar live in any multi family dwelling.
Indeed. When I went looking for a house after living in apartments one of the "must-haves" was it's own driveway. (Not all homes there do, some have on-street parking only.) If a house didn't have a driveway that was an immediate deal-killer and I wasn't interested in even looking at it.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:41 PM   #39
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I live in a condo and parking could not be easier. Our house on the other hand has one hell of a driveway, part of the reason why we have trouble selling it. It is very steep, and goes straight up into the garage. Backing down the driveway is hair raising, so we learned how to turn the cars around at the top of the driveway, which for people who are not used to it is pretty scary too. After several incidents, we asked visitors to park at the bottom of the driveway.

ETA I found this old picture of it. Based on the realtor's feedback, a lot of people find the driveway terrifying:
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:31 PM   #40
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My parking could not be easier, though at present it is wasted on me as I do not have a car. My GF has a space in her building that is very easy to navigate, but during rough weather is exposed to wash from a large fresh water lake. So she has to have her car washed bit more than otherwise, but overall it is fine. I like having the space, as parking is not easy in my neighborhood, and this makes it easy for GF and others who wish to visit.

Like ERD50, I also would try to get some help from building manager, or the owners of the van. Since it never moves, they might be open to getting rid of it. Social solutions may be best here, if possible.

To me, getting parking elsewhere is not a great idea, especially for a woman. A controlled parking space in one's building is a meaningful security feature.


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