Who knew that environmental stewardship could also yield a better parking spot? It can; that is, unless someone decides to park their conventional car in your hybrid parking spot.
Recently, companies like Home Depot, Office Depot, and IKEA have created special parking spots for owners of hybrid vehicles. For example, CBC News reports “Ikea to introduce anti-idling program, hybrid preferential parking spots”. These spots seem to be especially popular in urban areas where parking is at a premium.
I had not seen a hybrid-designated parking spot until I visited the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to having a progressive environmental policy, the Kierland also has a few special parking spots reserved for hybrids.
Ironically, drivers of non-hybrid vehicles don’t seem to discriminate between regular spots and designated hybrid spots (as is evident from the picture above). In fact, abuse of hybrid spots seems to be among the top impediments facing this emerging trend. For example, a recent post on the Kicking Tires blog complains “Home Depot Hybrid Parking Abused”.
An early remedy reported by the Denver Post in “Companies give preferential parking to hybrid vehicles” was enacted in Aspen, Colorado where special permits now enable hybrids to park for extended periods in 2-hour spots. However, true enforcement of green parking cannot really be imposed until ordinances are enacted to fine drivers who wrongfully park their gas guzzlers in hybrid spots. Following in the footsteps of handicapped parking spots, I predict enforced hybrid parking spots are just over the horizon.