**To Petersen Automotive Museum: If you do see this, do NOT respond to *ME* – respond to all of the people who try to come to the museum who have to park blocks away**
On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at about 11:15a, we got to the Petersen Automotive Museum – with our internet-purchased tickets in hand – but were turned away from the parking garage. On a WEDNESDAY at 11 am. How is that possible? Because the Petersen Automotive Museum doesn’t hold parking for patrons of the museum. Apparently, they don’t even hold enough parking spaces for people who have purchased regular admission tickets AND Vault tour tickets the day before arriving.
Instead, the Petersen Automotive Museum wants museum visitors to park… well, anywhere you can find a spot on the street. However, there is very little street parking near the museum. After spending $125 million on the renovation, they chose to ignore paying customers so that they could rent out their parking to nearby office buildings.
On this day, there wasn’t a big car show, or movie screening, or special guest. This was a normal Wednesday morning. And even though the Petersen Automotive Museum has 3+ parking levels, they sadly forgot WHY they have a parking garage in the first place – for the people who want to go to the museum! And for those who say this is a “public parking garage”, I see no signs that say that, and I the parking tickets have Petersen Automotive Museum logo printed right on them. And if it IS a “public parking garage”, the Petersen Automotive Museum needs learn how to negotiate with the city to get enough parking to serve their customers.
During our Vault tour, there was a total of 8 visitors. Most of the group had to be 60+ years old, but NONE of the other visitors were able to park in the MUSEUM PARKING GARAGE, because they garage was ‘full’, so they had to walk several blocks to get there. And this isn’t a tiny garage either. A guestimate, using Google Earth images of the garage, is that there are over 700 parking spaces in the garage – but apparently there aren’t enough for paying customers.
Yes, I completely understand that there is money to be made by renting parking spots to nearby businesses – but when you inconvenience the people who want to come visit YOUR business, you’ve completely missed the point of customer service.
How can the Petersen Automotive Museum fix this problem?
A few incredibly simple ideas come to mind:
- Look at the number of tickets and Vault tours that have been purchased online and hold AT LEAST that many parking spots.
- Look at the data from their daily ticket purchases to come up with an educated guess based on how many tickets are usually sold on a Wednesday (or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, etc.) and hold that number of parking spaces for Museum visitors.
- Sell parking tickets online along with the admission and Vault tour tickets – then hold that number of parking spaces (yes, I know this is repetitive, but if the Petersen Automotive Museum ever does see this, they may not understand the simplicity of these ideas without pointing out the obvious.)
- Install parking counters like MANY malls in Southern California, to display how many spaces are actually available, since we saw SEVERAL open parking spots as we walked through the garage to get to the entrance.
I’ve been to the Petersen Automotive Museum many times and I’ve never been so upset with them. Most people drive a long way to get to the Petersen, so having to hunt for parking blocks away from the Museum just exacerbates the frustration of LA traffic. In the future, I’ll be sure to share this story with anyone who is even thinking about visiting the Museum, being sure to tell them that it’s not worth the trouble. Just go to one of the many other car museums and experience in the Los Angeles area.