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Eurofurence Information => Feedback => Topic started by: amee2k on 03.09.2014, 11:42:25

Title: Correctly using the Loading/unloading area?
Post by: amee2k on 03.09.2014, 11:42:25
This may or may not be the correct subforum for this, but this thing kept nagging my mind...

(Definition: by "loading zone" I'm referring to the strip with the taxi parking spots in front of the hotel entrance. I'm trying to describe the situations as detailed as possible, but if something is unclear I can draw a diagram.)

I arrived at EF by car, and I had a lot of stuff because I agreed to help transport stuff for several other people (who were unable to bring some things due to their mode of travel, or simply because they didn't own items that I had). Besides some smaller items, I had in total four folding shopping boxes (32 liter size class), a travel bag, a laptop bag and a large luggage bag (belonging to my passenger), my backpack, and a large A3-sized folder for art prints. This also included several items of expensive electronic equipment in a price range that basically renders them impossible to replace anytime soon for me, should they get damaged or lost. All of these items needed to be unloaded and reloaded. My room was in wing 2, floor 3 (i.e. over the reception area, and out of range of the catwalks connecting different wings).

*Arrival:* I arrived at around 18 o'clock on the early arrival day, and loading zone was overflowing with cars. The first half of the left (street side) row was mostly full of taxis, followed by the Crown Victoria and several other convention related vehicles. The other side was full of cars, either parking in second row to unload, or clearly annoyed taxi drivers and people who wanted to leave but were blocked in. When I pulled up the driveway, an (unmarked) car parking behind the last taxi spot pulled out and got in line with the second row to try and leave. So I took his spot and proceeded to sign-in, find my room mate, and unload the car as quickly as possible. With three pairs of paws to carry stuff, the unloading needed only two runs to the room and there were minimal queues at the elevator at the time. I didn't look at the clock, but it shouldn't have taken longer than some 20 minutes. When I returned to the car to leave, a taxi driver had pull up behind me, then tried to get into the second row only to be immediately blocked by another car in that row. So now he was standing at an angle across both lanes blocking the driveway entirely. After some 5 minutes of subliminal communication with my tail lights, he re-positioned his car so I could reverse down the driveway and leave to the (external) long term parking lot.

*Departure:* When I departed on monday morning, the loading zone was somewhat less crowded, with only few people parking in second row and blocking everything. So I got the car from the long-term parking lot and left it in the same spot right behind the last taxi. This time I didn't have anyone to help carrying though, so (even after optimizing the box content for carrying multiple items at once) I needed a total of four trips to the room and back to get everything down. Even using the stairs on the way down (which was somewhat challenging with two boxes blocking most of the view below eye-level), there were significant delays due to the elevators, and one trip to the room and back would take almost 10 minutes. After bringing the second load down, a hotel employee came up to me and instructed me (in strongly accented english) to vacate the parking spot and park on the street in front of the hotel. This idea distinctly did not make me happy. Quick examination of the road signs indicated that parking on the street was not allowed on both sides. And now I had to carry everything down the staircase to the basement, back up the stairs in the lobby, and again down the stairs in front of the hotel and across the street. Even though there were barely half as many cars in the loading zone as on the arrival day.

While I would like to think I'm an experienced driver, I essentially don't have any experience at all with typical loading procedures at hotels. So is there something that I missed about using the loading zone in front of the hotel??

Also, here are some ideas that came to mind to make the peak times easier next year during the arrival and departure days:
1) Relocate the taxis (and if applicable, the equivalent to the exhibit Crown Victoria and other cars not arriving or departing). They were using a lot of space without any apparent benefit. Mainly because they were blocked in like everyone else.
2) When there are no bus arrivals expected, allocate the bus parking space right below the entrance as secondary loading zone and open the sublevel entrance to the hotel that was closed all week long.
2b) This is probably impractical, but still: arrange to have parking allowed on at least one side of the street on those days. If you want, with a sign "Nur zum be-/entladen" or 60 minutes with parking disk to avoid people hogging those important spots all day long. The street is wide enough and parallel parking is efficient for random access, unlike the long queue which resulted from people parking in two rows in the regular loading zone.
3) Needless to say because this isn't restricted to the arrival/departure days, but still: Please find an insurance/regulation-compatible way to make the staircase usable in both directions! *puppy eyes look* Particularly on the departure day the elevator was mainly used by people going up empty-handed (because there is no other way) while people (including me) were carrying eyebrow-raising amounts of luggage at once down the staircase.
Title: Re: Correctly using the Loading/unloading area?
Post by: SouthPaw on 03.09.2014, 11:57:54
I stand for correction, but I believe the "correct" procedure is to use the hotel car park for loading and unloading if you're arriving in a private vehicle. Parking is free for the first hour, though I appreciate there were long waits for the lifts as only the Wing 2 ones serve the car park levels.
Title: Re: Correctly using the Loading/unloading area?
Post by: Schakaline on 03.09.2014, 12:19:57
So obviously you were too cheap to spend the 2.50 for an hour or two down in the garage and now go on complaining that everybody should accomodate to your weird ways.

This amuses me greatly.  ;D

And FWIW, "loading zone" is defined as THREE MINUTES i.e. one suitcase and a passenger into the lobby, not a full car load worth of junk and several trips to the rooms and back. Common sense, people, common sense.
Title: Re: Correctly using the Loading/unloading area?
Post by: Furvan on 03.09.2014, 12:21:04
This may or may not be the correct subforum for this, but this thing kept nagging my mind...

Kurze Frage, warum hast du nicht die Tiefgarage benutzt für entladen/laden?  =^.^=
Zugegebener massen erhöht sich je nach Hotelflügel ein wenig der Spass mit den Aufzügen aber dennoch ist das ganz sicherlich weit stressfreier :)
Title: Re: Correctly using the Loading/unloading area?
Post by: amee2k on 03.09.2014, 12:47:19
Maybe this is unusual, but when I said that I have no experience with hotel procedures, I meant exactly that. This and last year's EF are the only car trips with hotel stays that I have taken in my life. (All others either not featuring hotels, or different modes of travel.) If my inexperience causes amusement, you're welcome to twitter about it on facebook. :3

Considering the term "loading" area, and the fact that several other people were visibly unloading large amounts of stuff there, I felt that it entirely made sense to use that area to unload the car. I already had the intention to use the main parking lot for loading/unloading next year, but thanks for clarifying the intended roles of each area. My impression was that the main parking lot was intended as a long-term parking opportunity only, and the price policy was designed to keep short term users away. (I only found either 15 or 18 EUR/day on the estrel website, depending on the price list, with no hourly rates.) So thanks for the information that the first hours is free. Now it makes considerably more sense. Expected level of personal stress wasn't much of a factor in any decision, really, because of the limited time frame of the situation.

Edit: Evidently my suggestions above were based on that preconception as well, so they're probably redundant