I have driven through many Walmart parking lots and while doing this, I often wonder how a better parking lot experience could help avoid regular issues. Here are some of the big concerns:
- There are often a lot of vehicles, people, and carts moving around. It is hard to keep track of all the activity.
- Depending on the traffic flow of the location, some of the traffic can be routed right in front of the store as vehicles turn in from a street or adjoining parking lot.
- At least a few cars always seem to be lingering right at the front doors or nearby, waiting for people.
- Carts are strewn throughout the parking lot; most are in corrals but there are often other ones on medians, in parking spots, and even several parking lots over. (Imagine if the Walmart lot had Costco sized shopping carts!)
A few solutions come to mind:
- Everyone needs to be very attentive. Having to pay close attention is not necessarily bad for drivers or pedestrians.
- It is better to have the majority of drivers enter the parking lot area from the back rather than from the sides and drive directly in front of the store.
I started thinking about this recently after realizing that I have been in multiple parking garages at Target locations but never at a Walmart. In these locations, there are advantages to having the parking further away from the store and/or having the store on a different level from the traffic flows.
Figuring this out could have multiple benefits including: drivers and pedestrians would feel safer, the parking lot experience could be less fraught and more pleasant, and fewer work hours might need to be devoted to the parking lot.
Perhaps this is just the price Americans are willing to pay for their love of driving and sprawl: complicated parking lots. This is not an issue exclusive to Walmart as many big box stores demonstrate similar patterns. But, since Walmart has so many locations and so many customers, solving issues there could be a big deal.