Theater parking lots and you
We’ve all heard the story so many times. Wouldn’t it have been great to wakeup and be in the 1930’s. Not because of the economic conditions and not because of anyone in particular, but for the movie theaters. This was golden age and it was going well until the suburbs came along twenty years later by kneading the population across a much larger landscape.
For the past decade, we’ve been at a new crossroads as well. A lot of our favorite triplexes and early multiplexes are getting phased out for new grander megaplexes. However, this transformation coincides with the last one. Just as people began going to smaller neighborhood theaters due to convenience, the same applies today. Not only because of the material amenities becoming more and more standard but because of the most precious commodity in some cities today, parking.
How much has the amount of available parking doomed or celebrated your local theater? Expansive exterior parking lots seem to go hand in hand with the new stand alone megaplexes. One can hardly find a more irritating experience than circling around a tight lot for a prized space. As a result, huge pieces of property have been partitioned off to make sure this doesn’t happen, at least during anytime but the most high traffic days.
The ease of parking has also been improved quite a bit. From different sized spaces to high tech lots that tell you the precise number of available spots on any given level. Let’s not forget about how much easier it’s gotten to get out of them. Prepay machines and lots where you in advance by space number are all the more common.
Maybe parking has judged the future of our theaters more than we know. To a lot of people, a night out at the movies is a rather casual endeavor. Once one has to be stuck finding a spot or valeting because the downtown theater has no parking, the simple night out becomes an event. Some people just don’t want an event every time they go out. Twenty years ago, the ideal place for a new movie theater was the local mall. With so many of the new theaters being stand alone entities, one has to wonder if a controlled parking environment was as much a reason for this trend as the extra theater space.
So what does this say about the future of our favorite theaters? With so many classic theaters in jeopardy, would the most feasible solution be to just bulldoze the structure across the street and build a new parking lot?
(Thanks to pbo31 for providing the photo.)
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