Parking stop causes bad trip

The SE Texas Record Jan. 4, 2012, 8:29am

Parking stops are hard to miss. Available in various colors and made of concrete or heavy composite materials, they're typically about 6 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 4 inches high.

They're not exactly unobtrusive.

Moreover, they're provided by merchants – at a unit price of $40-$50 – for the benefit of customers to reduce parking accidents.

Granted, you wouldn't expect to encounter a parking stop inside a restaurant or retail outlet, but finding one outside, in the parking lot, should come as no surprise.

That's where they're supposed to be. That's where they're found.

People who trip over parking stops in parking lots cannot plausibly contend that they weren't expecting to find such things in such places.

Perhaps parking stops could be bigger and come in an array of attention-grabbing colors, or maybe have lights and sirens and kinetic elements to advertise their presence, but they still would pose a danger to people who are oblivious.

If you're potted or ipodded or otherwise preoccupied, no amount of external visual or auditory stimuli will protect you from the hazards of self-absorption.

We don't know what kind of bubble Elaine Bromley was bouncing along in on April 14, 2009, as she exited the Port Arthur Luby's. But, somehow, she managed to trip over an "unmarked" parking stop in the parking lot.

Now, nearly three years later, she's filed suit in Jefferson County District Court, demanding that the popular cafeteria chain be held liable for not marking that parking stop.

Earlier, Bramley did manage to find her way into Luby's, and out again, without markings to guide her. She seemed to know what a door looked like, where it might be found, and how to operate it. She managed to discern an unmarked table or booth and make intelligent use of unmarked cups, dishes, and flatware.

But parking stops in a parking lot – what a surprise!

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