When it comes to parking in the city, a Seinfeld episode comes to mind.
You know the one where George Costanza gets into an argument with another driver over a parking space on the street.
I’ve always remembered this particular exchange between the characters:
Elaine: Oh, you’re never gonna find a space on Jerry’s block, just put it in a garage.
George: Look, I have my system. First I look for the dream spot right in front of the door, then I slowly expand out in concentric circles.
Elaine: Oh come on, George, please put it in a garage. I don’t want to spend an hour looking for a space.
George: I can’t park in a garage.
George: I don’t know, I just can’t. Nobody in my family can pay for parking, it’s a sickness. My father never paid for parking; my mother, my brother, nobody. We can’t do it.
Last week, however, I did want to pay for parking. My wife and I had tickets to see “Bobs Burgers Live” at the Warner theater in Washington, D.C. It was a Wednesday night, I drove us both into the city after work, and we wanted the easiest, most uneventful evening leading up to our show.
Earlier, I went to Google and typed in “Warner theaterParking” and saw a host of results appear on the page. I clicked on one of them, and I saw the “Bobs Burgers Live” logo.
“Hey, that’s the show we’re going to tonight,” I said.
It was like the website knew exactly what I was looking for — parking for the Bobs Burgers show. I was intrigued, and I clicked on.
The site’s name was Parking Panda. It showed me several garages within a three to four block radius of the Warner Theater, and it also showed how much it would cost to park there – between $11 and $23. Some garages offered valet though my wife and I are not fans of valet.
I clicked on the Lincoln Street garage on 11th Street NW and was prompted to pay $11. I entered my credit card, clicked pay, and Parking Panda emailed me my parking pass for me to print out.
I was also promised a space would be available for me inside the garage between the 5:30 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Our show was at 8 p.m., so we’re good, I thought.
But then I wondered how things would work once we arrived at the garage. In the past, I’ pull up, push a button, receive a paper ticket, and hold it until we leave in order to pay the parking lot attendant.
This time saw the push button parking ticket machine but next it was a newer bar code scanner that had the Parking Panda logo on it. I grabbed my ticket I printed from my email, held it up to the bar code scanner, and heard a beep. Then the traffic drop arm raised up, and I stepped on the gas.
Now inside, we drove down about two levels before we found an open space. The hole we did find was right in front of the elevator and stairs to the street.
“That was easy,” said my wife.
After the show, we came back to the garage, got into our car, and drove to the parking lot exit. Another Parking Panda machine was installed at the exit. I picked up my printed ticket, scanned it again, and off we went.
I still think the Seinfeld episode about the parking spot is funny. But if finding a parking spot is as easy and painless as this, I won’t search high and low for a place to park ever again.