On Curiosity About Parking Garages

I decided this morning to park the Beetle on the sixth level of the parking garage at the subway station.

I had parked on the fourth level. Recently I changed to the fifth — I could park closer to the stairwell on the fifth, thus cutting down on walking time, even though it was another flight of stairs.

But the sixth!

If you’re driving out I-795, Baltimore’s Northwest Expressway, near exit four you can’t help but notice the massive brick parking garage. Eight storeys tall, the tallest building in the area (until the Metro Centre is built, anyway).

What intrigued me about the sixth floor was this. From the subway platform, it looks like there’s no retaining wall of any kind on the sixth floor deck. Oh, there’s a decorative green grille, but it doesn’t look like, from the ground, that it would be sturdy enough to stop a vehicle from plowing through and then plunging eighty feet to the ground.

Naturally, I had to investigate this. Also, I reasoned, I would be able to park even closer to the parking garage stairwell, as the fifth level of the garage is fairly well abandoned so I couldn’t imagine that there would be many people parking on the sixth floor at all.

I was, in fact, able to park immediately next to the stairwell on the sixth floor.

I was also able to investigate the apparent lack of restraint at the edge of the parking deck to my satisfaction.

High tensile metal ropes. Running in parallel, about four inches apart, from a foot off the concrete deck to about three feet up. They run the length of the deck, through the concrete and brick supports.

From the subway platform, they’re invisible behind the decorative green metal grille. It occurred to me that someone who was very determined might be able to dislodge one or two, but they wouldn’t be able to dislodge them all and thus plunge off the side. And even then, the metal grille would provide a last line of defense from a death by car plunge.

My curiosity sated, I went downstairs and hopped the train into the city.

The nice thing about where I parked was that, from the subway platform, I could see the blue Beetle. No retaining wall made it very easy to spot.

Otherwise, it was an uneventful day.

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