Wednesday, November 04, 2009
The good news is that the parking lot is almost always jammed with cars in every available space
It means that the Sequoya Branch of the Madison Public Library has been a big hit since it reopened about a year ago in its new quarters in Sequoya Commons. There's more space, more computers for people to use, and a lot more traffic than at their cramped older quarters. (Presumably there will be more parking space when Phase II of the Sequoya Commons development is finished.)
The bad news is the parking lot is almost always full, and cars have to circle and wait for someone else to leave the busy parking lot -- making it an interesting laboratory for studying human nature and how it affects parking behavior. The question is, how much parking hassle will people put up with in order to park slightly closer to the library -- that is, how much will they sacrifice in the hopes of saving a few steps?
Quite a bit, it seems. Most of the traffic coming into and out of the parking lot come in through the Caromar Dr. entrance, often passing a vacant space or two on the street. You can pull into one of those, walk across and be in the library before most of the people in cars ever get parked. But you usually have to parallel park and walk a few extra steps (basically, across the street) to get there.
Lured by the dream of saving a bit of effort and a few footsteps, most drive right by the on-street parking and pull into the parking lot, only to join the lines of cars circling to try to find a space. The feeling seems to be, hey, I might get lucky and find a space right away, right next to the front door. It's a fascinating example of the human tendency to give up that perfectly good bird in the hand and go after the two in the bush. And to rely on that automotive dream that our car will give us a door-to-door ride to wherever we want to go, even if it usually doesn't.
I go to Sequoya a lot. So where do I park? I can't help myself -- I do what everyone else is doing, pull into the parking lot, often passing up a perfectly good space on the street. The parking lot just seems to be the place to be, filled with bibliophiles looking for a place to park.
Note: Although the sign on the door says "Closed Sunday," that's not true in fall and winter -- the branch is open Sundays, 1:00-5:00, until spring.