We say this without rancor but with conviction. Who has not been stymied at the mysteriously closed gates on the second and third floors there, which promise to open when a car approaches but more often do not? Many intrepid movie-goers, shoppers and Farmers’ Market patrons have circled the Maple-Church-Benson-University block before entering the garage – hoping to find a two-hour on-street alternative to the Maw on Maple.
Once there, would-be parkers who are trapped in the Moebius strip of pavement, 20 to 30 feet above their destination, crawl around the parked cars but always come out at the same place. Unable to reach the floor above, unable to retreat, drivers are trapped, choking on exhaust fumes and frustration.
Stuck in the garage, at times behind others equally flummoxed, the driver’s mind fills with ditties about people blocked by “progress” from their destination: Will she drive forever above the street called Maple like the Man Who Never Returned? Is this treadmill-time machine the kind that cost steel-drivin’ John Henry his life? Or is this garage the Hotel California, where, even if she were to leave her car parked illegally and flee screaming to the first floor, ticket in hand, she would learn that she could check out any time she liked but in fact could never leave?
But what about an escape to the top, where she could at least call for help? An artist – obviously the Medusa of the garage – has already been there, turning prankster architect and aggravated driver to metal – advancing toward one another in the public art work “Encounter.” Or are they merely two drivers who have abandoned all hope?
The Traffic Guy suggests that future parking garages be assessed by the “marble test” to ensure that a marble rolled from the top floor makes it to the bottom. While we applaud that idea, we also have another: Turn the garage into a skateboard park. Skateboarders will experience none of the frustration that drivers do. They will simply leap over the gates and rails, invigorated and challenged by what knocks us fuddy-duddy moviegoers around and around and around in a loop.