The most life threatening, road-rage inducing, fist-shakingly bad lots detailed.
KHTS has been compiling our Big Lists for quite some time. We’ve looked at the top stories, the dumbest criminals, the best Christmas movies, top recipes…you name it. But rarely do we get to do something as meaningful as bash the worlds most unpleasant parking lots, which just so happen to be located in the Santa Clarita Valley.
So here it is, the worst of the worst. We’ve compiled our ratings using the following criteria:
• Overall congestion
• Ease of entrance/departure
• Parking availability/parking spot sizes
• Frequent use by jerk drivers
8. Vincenzo’s Newhall shopping Center off Lyons Avenue
This shopping center is so much lower than Lyons Avenue it’s practically underground. Now, parking is available in scores, however this shopping center is nearly impossible to get into if making a left from Lyons Avenue, because the I-5 exit dumps a steady stream of cars right past the entrance.
7. Long, thin shopping center on Soledad Canyon Road at Bouquet
This center has been around for a million years in Santa Clarita. Back in the days of the horse and buggy, I’m sure you could get in and out. In today’s world, it’s absolutely impossible. They’ve got great shops in there, like Philly’s Best and Wing Stop. I would love to eat there. But unless I’m coming from Canyon Country and on my way to Saugus, I can’t bring myself to attempt the challenge. Too much traffic to make a left from the center to travel east on Soledad. During rush hour, westbound traffic backs up past the center, which means anyone looking to get in might as well learn to fly.
6. Prima Healthcare/Bagel Boyz shopping center
Located across the street from Costco, this shopping center is an oddity in many facets. Developers built it into a hillside, so it’s spread across an irregular footprint. The worst part about the center is that left turns are prohibited while exiting the main driveway. That means in order to get back to the Sierra Highway area, motorists have to drive a good distance the opposite direction before finding a place to turn around. Oh, and did I mention that the only place to turn around is right next to the Via Princessa off ramp from Highway 14? Yeah…good luck with that one. There is a secret exit near Bagel Boys that does allow left turns, but how many people know about it?
5. Albertsons parking lot in Westridge
One way in, one way out. The businesses are popular and the drivers confident. Maybe a little too confident. I don’t think there is a single stop sign in the parking lot, so backing out of a space is difficult. You would think people with nicer cars than you would be afraid of hitting you. They’re not. Be very careful when hitting up Albertsons or Bevmo (also, put earmuffs on the kids because you’ll say some things).
4. Food 4 Less center in Canyon Country
Who doesn’t like discounted groceries? But really, when you calculate in the probability that your insurance rates will go up after driving in the Food 4 Less shopping center, you might find that the discount is lost. This center has several things killing it. First, almost no visuals direct who has the right of way between the horizontal and vertical lanes. People figure it out by arguing after they’ve almost plowed into each other. Second, even if it posted driving rules, I doubt anyone would care. A heavy dose of jerk drivers take their business here. Third, you can’t get out of this center. Getting in is easy, but battling Whites Canyon and Soledad Canyon to get out is near impossible. Frequently the line of cars to get out of the center backs up so far, pedestrians have to walk between cars to access Walgreen’s and Bank of America.
3. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital
Parking at Henry Mayo? I know, it’s an oxymoron. There are about 400 too-few parking spots at the facility (my scientific estimation), and the valet system is more fiction than reality. To make matters worse, the Facey Medical building on campus has perhaps the smallest spaces in town. Unless you drive a Vespa, plan on circling the lot until the first parking structure goes up (only a few more years to go!).
2. River Oaks shopping center
Ah, Target, how I love thee. Of course, apparently everyone else in the Santa Clarita Valley does too, especially around Christmas time. The holidays will murder any parking lot, but this one just can’t handle the increased load. Entrance and exits are good, there’s surprisingly quite a few ways to access the center. The problem starts once you’re in. There is only one way to get from one end of the parking lot to the next, and its right in front of all the stores. By the time you reach your destination you’ve yielded to 150 pedestrians, each one walking slower than the next. Your back hurts and children make you “nervous.” That’s right; this parking lot will physically age you. Then add the fact that jerks also make a point of shopping at Target during the holidays. I don’t know why, but they do.
1. Trader Joe’s/Best Buy parking lot.
You knew this was coming. Trader Joe’s is a blessing and a curse. Their products warm hearts but their stores euthanize parking lots. The Best Buy parking lot used to just be bad. Now it’s the worst ever. Let’s highlight some of the lot’s less popular attributes.
- Getting in and out is impossible because the lines of cars waiting for parking spaces block the flow of traffic if you enter from Newhall Ranch.
- Enter from Bouquet and you have to combat heavy traffic coming from the opposite direction. Plus, you can’t even get in the turn lane because it’s only 3 ½ feet long.
- The City has installed numerous turn restrictions and barriers along Bouquet Canyon Road leading into the parking lot over the years. Half the fun is trying to figure out what new turn “enhancer” they’ve installed this week.
- Getting out? Why would you want to do that? Take a number because the line starts by El Presidente and ends somewhere near Mt. Rushmore. Good thing the light at Bouquet is timed for 10 seconds. How generous of the traffic planners.
- Since no one can: a) park, or b) leave, getting around the parking lot is about as fast as an unannounced visit to the DMV.
This parking lot is, I think, literally a black hole. What goes in never comes out, except possibly in another dimension.
- Stater Bros lot in Canyon Country (knuckleheads galore).
Shopping Center on west side of Copper Hill and Seco Canyon Road (businesses have a tough time staying open there).
- Smart and Final shopping center on Lyons Avenue (because of the post-office-red-zone-parkers and the narrow in-lot isle).
- Westfield Valencia Town Center (Used to be plenty of parking. Now parking lots are starting to become buildings).
- The KHTS parking lot on Camp Plenty Road (Surprise surprise, the KHTS Studios won hands down in an interoffice poll).
Since it’s the holiday season, I might as well look at the positive parking situations:
Target/Kohl’s Canyon Country.
This center is grossly under populated, which guarantees a close parking spot with every visit! Enjoy it while it lasts. As development picks back up there will be more and more people vying for those spots!
Walmart/Toys R Us center in Stevenson Ranch
Is this lot busy? Sure. Does it have some jerks? Absolutely. But overall it seems to handle the load pretty well. It is one of the most popular shopping centers in town and yet parking is always available (sometimes it’s near the back, but it is there). Also, there are several traffic lights to clear out the parking lots to the two major streets nearby. Easy in, easy out.