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Westfield Topanga's Orgy of Parking Anarchy

For those of you who have made it to the West Valley to enjoy the newly refurbished and expanded Westfield Topanga, you've no doubt experienced or maybe heard about the mall's new horrendous parking structure - a series of twists, turns, unexplained arrows, and lines of cars stuck in place, immobilized as one driver waits while another car pulls out. It really is parking insanity as you can see from the picture above.

If you manage to make it to the third level you'll no doubt be confronted by this choose your own adventure intersection where in order to pass, one must maneuver past cars drifting in seemingly endless directions. In the scenario we encountered, the truck to the right was waiting for the car marked with the purple 'X' to pull out, while cars moving from right to left waited behind the 'X' car before moving on. The car to the left chose to go straight, hoping to find a spot close to the door, while we were left with the option of going straight or taking a left, while being mindful of traffic moving right to left and from the rear left (marked by red arrows, above), where another traffic aisle exited. Making it to this point was a mini-success, as the levels below were fraught with other challenges, which we describe after the jump.

Entering the parking structure from Owensmouth we encounter an electronic tally board telling us how many spaces are available on each level. We noted that parking on Level 2 was FULL, but there was plenty of parking in Levels 3 and 4. Excellent, we'll hop up to Level 3.

Not so fast! In order to get to Level 3, everyone has to drive through Level 2. WTF? Among the many confusing signs and arrows in the parking garage, is the one above (circled). It directs exiting traffic into any of three directions, including into one area that's fenced off and also into oncoming traffic where we are. Hmmm.

This is our second visit to the parking structure, and both times the same thing has happened. A car at the front of the line, on Level 2, has stopped to wait for a space to open, thereby blocking the aisle and the flow of traffic. Nobody can move and traffic is backed up down the ramp onto level one, which the electronic tally board helpfully describes as "OPEN". What does that mean? We have no idea. If there was such a contest, we would nominate Westfield Topanga for the worst parking garage in all of LA.