Valet parking is becoming more common in Walnut Creek, especially now during the holidays with the Downtown Business Association offering valet parking for $5 to $7. But prior to the start of this program on November 20, there had already been valet parking for the Cheesecake Factory in the parking garage at Plaza Escuela and in the parking garage for Nordstrom.
We dodged a very massive valet parking bullet with the original proposal for a new Neiman Marcus in Broadway Plaza. The original project plans would have necessitated transforming the entire South Main Street garage into valet parking during peak shopping times. That proposal faced legal challenges, which forced changes to the project–including the elimination of
the valet parking scheme. The rest, I guess, is history, with Walnut Creek voters saying “yes” on November 3 to a more modest new department store project, sans valet parking, in Broadway Plaza.
I call the original proposal, with is massive valet parking scheme, “annoying” because I am so not a fan of valet parking. But by making this statement, I am not objecting to the holiday valet parking program, coordinated by the city, the Downtown Business Association, and Signature Parking. This program may provide an elegant solution to holiday shopping and parking hassles.
My aversion to valet parking is strictly personal, and perhaps neurotic.
In my job, I have had the opportunity to eat at very nice restaurants or stay in very nice hotels—the kind where you have to drive up and valet park. First of all, I drive a 10-year-old Toyota, with its fair share of scratches, bangs, and rust forming on the rim of my driver’s side door. I always feel self-conscious pulling up to a hotel behind a shiny new BMW or Porsche.
The only benefit of having a crappy older car (which runs very well, by the way) and turning it over to a valet is that I’m not going to get all that bummed if it gets bumped.
But my biggest problem with valet parking is that I feel like I’m giving up control and access to easy mobility. Maybe this is an American thing, with our love of our wheels. I don’t know. Or it’s more evidence of my own neurosis. This sense of giving up control becomes more of an issue if you go to a hotel, where your car gets parked somewhere–maybe blocks away–and then you have to call the front desk and wait for someone to bring your car around if you want to leave the property. If I’m visiting a beautiful place with lots to sight-seeing opportunities, I just want to be able to leave my room, hop into my car, and go.
Valet parking would never be my first, second, or even third choice in Walnut Creek. I gave in to local valet parking when I attended a family dinner at Scott’s. When dinner was done and we said our good-byes, it irked my neurotic, impatient self that I couldn’t just walk out of that restaurant, find my car in the underground garage that serves that restaurant, and go. I had to wait! The night we went, there was one guy on duty, and he was a bit overworked, so it took me, like 10 minutes, to get my car.
But maybe you like valet parking. I have a co-worker who very much likes it, and was even excited about the original Neiman Marcus/Broadway Plaza valet parking proposal. He’s the kind of guy who drives a cool-looking car, dresses well, and probably thinks valet parking makes things easier for him. He probably also likes that VIP feeling that a valet parking service can provide. (By the way, doesn’t the guy in this silhouetted image remind you of Mad Men’s Don Draper?)
To me, valet parking just feels so restrictive.
But again, I’m not voicing any general disapproval of this holiday valet parking program. I’m just stating my personal valet parking “issue.” Think I should talk to my therapist about it?
The program will incorporate several of our existing curbside locations at Il Fornaio and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse alongside a new location at 1250 Locust Street, (The Old Veterans Building Lot) located directly across from Century Theaters. The Fee for valet parking at the new Locust Street location will be $5 and all other participating locations throughout town will charge $7.
The Public Valet Locations can be easily identified by valet podiums with large signs indicating “Public Valet Parking”, with valet attendants in Red Polo Shirts.
It is our goal to make valet parking a convenient and easily accesible parking option for all visitors of downtown Walnut Creek. As an added convenience, customer of the service will be able to drop off accumulated shopping purchases at the valet station for delivery to their vehicles, making extended shopping and dining outings easier.