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How to Park in a Very Tight Space
Old 05-19-2015, 07:29 PM   #1
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How to Park in a Very Tight Space

So I'm ridiculously happy in my beautiful new condo--except for the parking situation. Turns out I got the worst spot in the entire 30 unit condo association and there's no possibility of buying or begging anything but the assigned spot. I knew it was tight when I bought the place but I now know it is ridiculously tight. Today, the 4th time I've parked in it, I hit my bumper on the pole and have a nice new gash on the car.

My tiny slot is right next to the underground parking garage door. On one side is a red post. On the other side is a big white van that never seems to leave. My car is small--a VW Golf. I don't know the neighbor who owns the van but I'm afraid it is not just a matter of if but when I will hit it. Today, I hit the post.

I have quickly learned that it is better to back into the slot than go in head first. If I go in head first I have to do a thousand maneuvers to get both in and out. But I don't really know how to use my mirrors effectively when backing in. In fact I have to fold the passenger side mirror in to avoid hitting the post with it. So how can I use it when it needs to be folded in?

I am feeling very depressed about this situation. I guess the logical thing is to assume it is a skill and I just need practice? Does anyone have any pointers? It seems every move I've made has a narrow parking situation but sadly this is the worst I've encountered.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:47 PM   #2
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I lived in an apartment building that had limited parking and to make matters worse I often didn't get off until 2:00 AM so I got the worst/smallest parking space left. And I was driving a 1973 Plymouth Fury - not a small car. It was then that I truly learned how to park in a small space - once I had to climb out the window to leave the car and I was thin at 5'9" and 145 lbs.

It does come with practice. You are right that backing in is best. A much-appreciated feature of my 2003 GMC pickup is that the side mirrors fold in with the push of a button. DW is sometimes amazed at how tight a spot I can put a car in.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:48 PM   #3
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I feel your pain. I too got the worst parking spot in my condo parking lot. If there's a car parked on both sides of me then it's impossible to get out without hitting something if I park normally. I have to back in but I can only do that if one of the spots next to me is open. It's a real pain. I don't know what the answer is. It looks like we both figured out it's best to back in but even that isn't ideal. You may have to try to find other parking. Maybe a nearby parking lot or parking garage if the cost isn't too extreme. Good luck.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:49 PM   #4
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I feel for you.

Try to make a wide turn to go head in. Once you are in position, adjust your front wheels so they are straight facing front without angle. Then turn your head and look thru the back window. Make sure to position your head in the center of your front seat as much as possible. Use a black marker mark the center of your back window and pick a corresponding spot on the other side of the parking structure. This makes a straight line for 3 points (your head, black marker spot, and spot on the other side).

When backing out, make sure no wheel movement, and make sure your black spot on back window is always pointing to that spot on the other side. Do it very slowly.

This is how I told my DW how to back out, and it seemed to work.

Good luck.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:08 PM   #5
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Condo parking spots are assigned at the time of development and are part of the property that you purchased. Hence they cannot be reassigned by the condo board. It's most unfortunate that you bought a spot that is unfit for purpose. Did you by any chance inspect the parking spot when making an offer on the property?

If advanced parking techniques do not allow you to park safely, the only alternative I can think of is to find out whether any owners (or the condo board) have parking spots for rent. Another idea would be to find one of your neighbors who uses his or her parking spot for a motorcycle, and offer him or her a contract to switch the parking spots you each occupy. However, this will not change the ownership on the title deed. The tight spot will still be your property. Unfortunately it may lower resale value.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:10 PM   #6
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Backing in is right.

What is behind? If there is a wall or other vertical surface, make a small mark or if there are some details you can pick out, then make a small mark on you inside rear view mirror and use that as a guide. With practice you'll get very good at backing in.

When I was trailering, after a while I could get the 2 5/8" hitch ball centered under the trailer's receiver without any extrernal guidance or using any attachments for guide.

Perfect practice makes for perfect execution.

It may be a bit more difficult if you come come home potted.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:31 PM   #7
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Get an after-market backup camera, they're not expensive.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:44 PM   #8
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Yes, meadh it is unfortunate isn't it? What is mostly unfortunate is that when I tried the parking space before buying the condo the oversized white van was not there. But now it seems that the people who own it do not work and it is always there. It prohibits an easy turn into the space.

Rick, what is a back up camera? I'll look into it.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:46 PM   #9
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fh2000, when attempting to go head in what prohibits a wide arc is the garage door directly in front (if that makes sense). The parking slot is "bound" on all sides by something prohibiting wide swings of any type.
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:38 PM   #10
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Backup cameras are great. It's a small camera mounted somewhere on the back of your car with a screen somewhere on the dash. They not only let you see behind but all the ones I've seen have a yellow warning line when you are getting close and a red warning line where you would hit.

The advice about putting marks up to guide you seems good too. Also, it can help to angle your side mirror down. How much, I can't recall, but I know there are some high end cars that do this automatically when you put it in reverse, or at least they did before back up cameras came about.

Can you put a thin pad on the post so that you won't scrape the paint off any time you are too close? Something like a yoga mat?
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:18 PM   #11
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I learned early to back up, having to back boat trailers attached to the car.
Certainly practice makes perfect.
Also I partially twist my body, putting my right hand behind the passenger headrest and turn my neck, so I am looking out the back window. Then I drive the car backwards into the spots.
Recently I have started using a backup camera (new vehicle). It takes a bit of trust, but they are terrific. You can get an after market camer that will transmit wirelessly to a monitor inside the car, and you simply install the camera on your license bracket
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:35 PM   #12
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Assuming you are not interested in trading for an even smaller car?

Or dream of these: EO smart connecting car 2 < Robot Systems- Robotics Innovation Center - DFKI GmbH
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Marita40 View Post
Yes, meadh it is unfortunate isn't it? What is mostly unfortunate is that when I tried the parking space before buying the condo the oversized white van was not there. But now it seems that the people who own it do not work and it is always there. It prohibits an easy turn into the space.

Rick, what is a back up camera? I'll look into it.
Hmm. How big is the oversized van, and is it encroaching on your space? How close is it to the dividing line?

I would advise you to review the bylaws on parking. It is possible that the oversized white van is parked illegally, in which case you can get your condo board to issue a notice of bylaw complaint and get it removed, with fines for noncompliance.

In my condo complex, our bylaws are very clear, stating the acceptable dimensions of vehicles and stipulating that they be parked no closer than 6 inches to the dividing line. In fact a resident parked an oversize truck directly facing my vehicle. It was so big that he was overflowing into my (full size) space. Because we enforced the bylaw, he is no longer allowed to park the truck in our parkade.

Bottom line, condo living is all about accommodation and courtesy. It sounds like this driver is not accommodating your legitimate needs. Depending on the bylaws, I think you may be able to get your condo board to solve this problem, at least as far as the oversized van is concerned.

Backup cameras are extremely helpful. My car has one built in, but you can get an aftermarket one installed.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:31 AM   #14
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+1 on the backup camera, I have one on my VW Golf, first backup camera I've ever had and I love it.

With mine it shows two green lines parallel with the sides of the car plus a red line parallel to the rear bumper. The green lines are great for showing the angle you are at and how close to the sides you are, the red line shows how close you are to the rear wall or curb or object behind.

I'm sure there are other types of back-up camera but I hear they all work well.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:42 AM   #15
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Of course, there's always this option.
Driving lesson over.
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:01 AM   #16
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OK... go to Home Depot and buy some paint stripper and some yellow paint...

Strip the strip next to the van an paint the line about 6 to 8 inches over.... tell front desk that van is over line....
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:20 AM   #17
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Terrific advice, all. I think I will try the following things. One, get a helper to help me practice by standing outside the car and telling me exactly how much space I have, etc. Two, see if I can pad the post. Three, look into a back up camera. I'm grateful for this suggestion as it sounds ideal for this situation. Four, consider a smaller car. Seriously. I love my VW Golf but it is getting up there in years. However, I would not want to get a new car of any type if I'm going to keep denting it. It is good that, at least for now, the VW has a few battle scars already.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:37 AM   #18
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Time to downsize your car.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:41 AM   #19
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Thoughts on a safe car even smaller (less wide is the key) than a VW Golf? Needs to work in winter as this is MN. BTW, I don't drive much at all and, in my new digs, can even walk to work.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Dimensions
Since the Subaru Impreza is much slimmer than the Volkswagen Golf, it'll be much easier to find a wide enough space in a crowded parking lot.
2015 Subaru Impreza vs. 2015 Volkswagen Golf: Compare reviews, safety ratings, fuel economy, etc.
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