The car park in the Westfield Bondi Junction Shopping Centre is a shocker. I've known people who 'lost' their cars there and others who had panic attacks having found their car only to be unable to find an exit.
It is not as though there aren't sufficient exits. There are numerous exits. And numerous entrances too. The problem isn't so much 'the' car park; rather that the car parking facilities comprise a collection of disparate parking areas. The Westfield complex was constructed across a number of properties, most of them demolished to make way for the juggernaut.
A number of below ground pre-existing car parks were linked and incorporated into the new complex together with new underground facilities. There are apparently 3,297 parking spaces. That seems a lot, yet it is not uncommon for the car park to effectively be full. Actually, overflowing in my opinion.
I have learnt the hard way never to enter the car park when the entrance displays indicate fewer than 120 spaces are 'available'. In reality that means all spaces are occupied and more than that number of cars are inside and underground and in effect trapped trying to find a supposedly vacant space or a space that is about to be vacated. Trying to escape that queue of crawling cars in search of a space is almost an impossibility. The traffic lanes are too narrow for safe passing.
So, what am I getting at with this background information?
Well, I approached the car park today with the display indicating 224 available spaces. More than a hundred above my threshold figure. I felt uneasy. It still would be a tight fit but having driven to the Centre I was keen to complete my transaction. Against my better judgement I drove in.
Fifteen minutes later I was trapped in one of those endless queue of cars futilely searching for a space. Reaching an intersection of traffic I made a late decision to turn into a right hand lane but the angle was too tight to achieve in one turn. I stopped and reversed right back into the car turning behind me. I never saw it.
There we were trapped with others banked up angrily behind us. I had to manoeuvre down to a lower level with my tailgated accomplice following until we could find a tiny lay-by area where we could stop, examine damage and exchange details.
I was expecting a blast from the good looking young man whose car I had hit but as it turns out the bump must have been gentler than the noise accompanying it. Neither car displayed any damage. We both smiled, I apologised profusely, we shook hands and then we retreated to our cars to make our separate relieved escapes.
Only 224 spaces available. I should have known better.