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The Top 10 Worst Parking Lots in Pleasanton

These parking lots drive me crazy. Which ones do you hate?

Driving around Pleasanton isn't comparable to, say, Boston at rush hour or the Bay Bridge, but there are certain spots around town that can drive a driver insane, especially when it comes to parking lots.

So here's my list of the Top 10 Worst (Insert Other Choice Adjectives Here) Parking Lots in Pleasanton. Feel free to fully debate the merits of said list in the comments below and suggest additions, subtractions, etc. 

10. 

This lot clearly was not designed for today's SUVs. The clown-car size parking spaces are microscopic in width and length, and with a narrow roadway between and no sidewalks it's tricky to walk through with little kids, knowing no driver could see them as they're trying to back out between the large car butts jutting out here and there. There's also a busy drop-off area, where cars often linger/double park to pick up library patrons, blocking the main entrance and creating a back-up into the street.

9. Hopyard Village Shopping Center 

With a wacky one-way loop, several entrances and exits off busy streets and tiny side lot areas, navigating a car through here can be dicey. Cars exiting onto Hopyard Road face Valley Avenue traffic that isn't interested in slowing for merging vehicles. If you exit onto Valley eastbound, it's difficult to cross over two lanes through the median, given the timing of the lights. There just aren't enough spaces at  and . Note to drivers: Unless you're yielding to bikers, walkers, etc., you do NOT have to stop to merge onto Hopyard northbound from Valley. This actually backs up traffic trying to enter the shopping center. And it's really annoying.  

8. Stoneridge Shopping Center

Aside from fearing for your life with , this lot is difficult to leave and enter with its multiple entrances and exits immediately into Stoneridge Mall Road, which circles the entire property. Cars like to speed around the mall like it's a track, clearly oblivious to drivers that are slowing down to enter the lot. Drivers leaving have to just gun it fast and hope no one is whipping around a corner. Can anyone say: Add a stop sign? In terms of life inside the lot, forget parking anywhere near The Cheesecake Factory on a Friday night. And hide your belongings.

7. Gas Corner Market at Bernal

Whew. Combine a , a busy gas station with a car wash, a busy street off the freeway and the new Safeway, and you've got No. 7 on our list. The Bernal Avenue entrance puts drivers right into the drive-thru exit, up against cars backing out from the convenience store spaces and navigating through vehicles leaving the pumps. I've seen many multi-car jams here, with no one having any idea of where to go. 

6.

Why do people think it's OK to speed through this parking lot? Or any parking lot for that matter? Despite a stop sign outside Walgreens and plenty of speed bumps, I've had many close calls in this lot. I'm guessing drivers are rushing through to avoid the light at Valley and Santa Rita? Then there's the overcrowded parking section outside Starbucks. Bad! And don't get me started on that newly installed traffic island that bans left turns onto Valley from the exit behind Walgreens. Now cars have to make an awkward U-turn at Santa Rita to get where they're going. And I'm just waiting for some drunk to run it over in the middle of the night.

5. 

It seems like a Trader Joe's signature: affordable fairly healthy food items and .... packed parking lots. I don't think I've ever been to a Trader Joe's with great parking. Maybe because they're housed in spaces that are compact and inexpensive to lease? Anyway, Pleasanton's Traders isn't any exception. The lot, with its strange sloping grade (perfect for carts to go rolling off on their own) and small spaces (see No. 9), can be a nightmare. Cars entering from Santa Rita northbound have to navigate a narrow corner around the Italian restaurant, and it backs up from there. Tip: No one seems to police the spaces behind the restaurant (facing Pimlico) near the gas station car lot.

4.  West Angela/Peters Avenue Bank Lot (on Saturdays)

It is extremely baffling to see the huge number of parking spaces reserved for the bank when there's absolutely no way that many people ever even GO to a bank in person at any one time. (Hello, online banking!) Fortunately the city doesn't seem to be enforcing this ridiculousness, as 99 percent of the people who park here on Saturdays are bound for the farmers' market. But then, sadly, you have the tiny lot next door, with a mere fraction of spaces, that does indeed need some additional parking. They end up having to put up warning signs and have a security person patrol the area.

 3. Downtown Pleasanton, Thursdays, Anywhere Near 

While Mr. DJ spins his tunes, girls (yes, "girls," not women) have been seen stopping traffic on St. Johns to teeter across the street in stilettos and mini skirts to get to Barones' popular summer music parties. But what about the rest of us boring locals who just want to meet up with friends for dinner in the area? Forget it. You might as well walk downtown on a Thursday. Then there are some sassy parking lot attendants at neighboring barking out threats to anyone they think might be trying to avoid their hefty parking fee, which they likely had to add to stop the Barone's girls from stealing their restaurant spots. While I'm super glad downtown Pleasanton is attracting lots of business, it's getting a little too crazy, people, and it's going to start deterring folks from frequenting other businesses in the area. 

2.  Pleasanton Sports Park

This is really an accident waiting to happen. There aren't enough parking spaces in the main lots, so cars end up in the tight short spaces that back out directly into the narrow Sports Park Drive. Cars speed down this road, and there are too many kids and people here to make this safe. The signage and road markings in the main lots are inadequate, and the lot seems to just merge into the roadway. Drivers, be careful! There are lots of kids here on game days! Don't get me started on Blackbird Drive, where it's clear neighbors are bitter to get the overflow. Cars speed here, too, and residents seem sick and tired of their driveways getting blocked.

1. Dublin/Pleasanton BART

Why can't BART install space counters in its parking garages? It's like a visit to Parking Garage Hell to drive around in circles, spiraling up, hoping there's a space left, only to hit the top and find nothing, and then have to cram your car around to exit, while other similarly S.O.L. drivers pile up behind you. I've learned my lesson. You cannot park anywhere at BART in Pleasanton or Dublin after 8 a.m. And to make the pain worse, you get to cruise by all the unused car pool spaces and 10 a.m.-and-later spots, which I highly doubt ever really EVER get full after 10 a.m. These days, I either get dropped off or drive to park at Castro Valley, which, um, sort of defeats the purpose of having our own BART stations.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Connie Lord Quintanal July 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
My guess is you have not been to Trader Joe's in Livermore. Try it.....Great parking
Megan July 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Pleasanton Library parking lot does have more then one entrance and exit, but just like sheep everyone follows everyone else. This morning, I was just parking my car a little further away, and some "female dog" came barreling down the wrong way against the arrow exiting and pulled into the empty spot right next to my car, I was in the process of getting out and she (the female dog) didn't even look and opened her door in a hurry and hit my car door. She didn't apoligize at all but asked if I was okay. you "female dog" you hit my car not. then she proceeded into the library like she owned the world (maybe she does). I in the meantime-go my digital camera out of my car and took a picture of her license plate for my records. Now as for the Bank of America lot on Peters@W Angela-the only time a Security guard is there is during the fair which I think is fair. Being a resident of the downtown neighborhood near the fair, I have no problem with the Bank having that guard-make the fair goers pay for parking-they think nothing of it when slamming $11.00 beers all day at the racing. Trader Joes lot? not even touching that one. Go to the Livermore store-much larger lot and store.
Marilyn July 11, 2012 at 06:35 PM
If you are referring to the BART parking garage at STONERIDGE MALL, it is VERY inconvenient and dangerous to drop off someone to ride BART...there's really no place to do it, except where in parking spaces, such as the handicapped spots. This causes delays if one wants to park there, but have to wait for the car dropping off people to leave. Also, people walk through the first floor parking garage without any concern about cars coming into the garage to park...I guess they're supposed to go OUTSIDE of the garage (on the left, facing Stoneridge Drive) and walk on the sidewalk provided, but there's NO SIGNAGE pointing pedestrians to that effect. Very poor planning on the Stonedridge side of the West Dublin/Pleasanton station
Stacey Gustafson July 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Loved this one! You hit all the worst parking spots. And what about the poorly planned exit/entrances? It is each man for himself trying to get out of mall parking or the library during after school hours. You should rate the parking lots for middle school and high schools. Talk about impossible to navigate.
Megan July 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Wow what happened to my long comment-I was just speaking the truth. I didn't use any foul language at all.
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I will Connie..! Thanks!
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Great point Marilyn! I forgot about that..I got picked up there once and everyone who needed a pickup was in the bus lane. Or, they were illegally parking in the mall lot. Has anyone gotten a ticket doing that? Dare I ask?
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Thanks, Stacey. I am wondering about the middle/high schools..From experience so far I know the elementary drop offs are nuts.
Chris Madsen July 11, 2012 at 09:40 PM
There is an email address on some BART trains where you can leave feedback. I left this exact feedback and was dismissed by no less than 2 BART reps who replied to me as if I didn't understand the complexities of parking lot planning. They solicit feedback, you give it, and they manage to tick you off even more! Nice...
Georgia Choate July 11, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Megan, I can see your long comment just fine. Although I have found a bug pop up on Patch comments before.... Thanks for the article Kari! Livermore TJs lot is heavenly. I still go to Ptown TJs 'cause I've gotten to know the employees. I'm able to go at 9 a.m. park anywhere, and chat it up over coffee samples. You hit the others spot on too. Mostly I've just found my favorite entrance/exits and have driven through them so many times over the last 7 years that I know where drives are coming by the surrounding foliage! Creature of habit. What gets me most is when people are rushing to work, mostly at Valley/Hopyard Peets, or rushing home from work and cut me off illegally. The bad manners just aggravate bad lot design. Glad I can work from home :)
Technology Guy July 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM
OMG - We cant leave out the Regal Hacienda in Dublin (I know this is about Pleasanton), Id love to meet the complete morons who designed that mess. I wonder if any of the restuarants realize how many of us who wont got there anymore unless its the last resort...Or unless you are willing to walk a half mile. The traffic patterns were designed by a monkey (wait - thats an insult to monkeys).
Tracy Fisher July 12, 2012 at 01:17 AM
omg! recount! Trader Joe's has to be #1! Such a terrible location for an awesome store!
Huh July 12, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Soon to be #1 is the old Nob Hill/soon to be Walmart Grocery. Try making a left out of either of those driveways-- good luck! It's all about the entry and exit..
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Maybe we can start a campaign Chris..other parking garages have these..it can't be rocket science :)
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Totally agree Technology Guy!! I use that lot all the time (I was going to add some bonus Dublin lots, because I'm there a lot. Their Safeway is terrible, too.) There are all those strange weird meandering road patterns inside the Hacienda Crossing lot that make NO sense. And I got stuff stolen from my car there recently. BAD!
Kari Hulac (Editor) July 12, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Understood Lisa! Yes, these are suburb life woes. Could always be worse. :)
Artistic Captures Photography July 12, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I also find the Pleasanton Gateway (new Safeway on Bernal) to be VERY awkward to navigate! Especially at lunchtime.
Artistic Captures Photography July 12, 2012 at 06:15 PM
The new safeway shopping center (Gateway) is very tricky to navigate as well, a few times I have had cars nearly back right into me... something about the way it's laid out, and trying to get out of there at peak hours (lunchtime) can be a mess.
Annette Langer July 12, 2012 at 09:05 PM
You're in luck. They've installed a No-Left-Turn and No-Crossing-Santa-Rita-to-head-west sign at the Nob Hill Santa Rita exit adjacent to Pleasanton Urgent Care. I almost made my usual left-hand, hold-my-breath turn onto Santa Rita and noticed the sign just in time, unlike the guy ahead of me who ignored the sign and turned left.
Annette Langer July 12, 2012 at 09:07 PM
As long as you're including the Dublin Hacienda Theater parking, how about the goofy maze you have to negotiate in Livermore to get to and from the new Target off Fallon Road and 580?
Pamela July 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Marilyn, I totally agree with you. This is the worst planned BART facility Ive ever seen. And presumably for those BART riding mall employees, there is no covered or uncovered for that matter walkway and/or lights for protection during rains, nighttime, and speeding cars! Visitors from out of town are confused with the West Pleasanton/Dublin AND Dublin/Peasanton station names.
Marilyn July 24, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Pamela, you are so right...BART train operators should ALWAYS announce that this station is for Stoneridge Mall...you would think the Mall would request that. But I know that it confuses BART riders who only use the train occasionally. Yes, it is NOT safe...it is very risky to walk in the garage, and not safe because of cars speeding by and possibly being accosted. I attempted to park in the mall parking lot ONCE, and the security car came racing over to me and asked if I was shopping at the mall. Of course I told the truth that I wasn't and I moved on over to the garage!
Anne Freitas August 30, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I know this about P'town but the Raleys lot in Tracy is the worst. The Tracy Blvd. entrance doesn't even lead to parking spaces. It's the entrance to nowhere.

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