BRENTWOOD, Mo. – The Promenade at Brentwood recently went up for sale and, for years, its parking lot has caused an upheaval of customer frustration.

The Riverfront Times even considered it the worst parking lot in America. From congested entry and exit points to avoiding collisions with another vehicle or pedestrian to finding an adequate parking spot, this lot presents many challenges for drivers.

But according to Jalil Kianfar, associate professor of civil engineering at Saint Louis University, there are ways to survive the promenade’s parking lot physically and mentally.

“For the record, that is not my favorite parking lot in St. Louis either,” Kianfar said.

How to enter the Brentwood Promenade parking lot

There are four entry points and three exit points for the Brentwood Promenade parking lot, but most customers only use the entry and exit located off of Eager Road.

Kianfar suggests using the entry and exit point located on Rose Avenue next to the Micro Center and Five Below. Strassner Drive and Hanley Industrial Court are also accessible for drivers to enter or exit from the parking lot.

“There is not proper wayfinding that can remind everyone that there are two other exit points you can use and actually save time,” Kianfar said.

He also says it’s a matter of perception that customers would divert to using the shortest distance to enter and exit the parking lot off of Eager Road, but the shorter distance does not lead to shortest travel time.

How to stay sane in the Brentwood Promenade parking lot

Customers should also keep in mind the cognitive load of leaving the parking lot through Eager Road, considering the multiple stores a driver must stop by while negotiating with pedestrians and other cars.

“This happens unconsciously, but that mental and cognitive load after you’ve already been shopping and you want to get out of there can have a significant impact,” he said.

The parking spot predicament

Kianfar said it also becomes a trade-off with the parking lot’s customers when it comes to finding a parking spot. A driver must determine whether to endlessly circle the parking lot looking for the perfect parking spot or park further away, requiring more walking during their visit.

“The parking lot is fulfilling its purpose. Unless you go there the weekend before Christmas, you can always find a parking spot there,” Kianfar said.

While the parking lot is sequestered between two large strip malls, including large retailers like Target and grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, there is a benefit to having a smaller parking lot.

On a typical day, there is some portion of the parking lot that is not in use. Since the Brentwood Promenade overlaps it’s parking demand between it’s businesses, they avoid providing excess parking, which Kainfar says is not beneficial to the environment or economy.

“Parking lots really environmentally do not contribute much; they contribute to storm water that runs into our sewer systems and they absorb heat, which creates other issues,” he says. “You can use our land better and provide space for another store or becomes green space.”

According to CBRE, the commercial real estate firm offering the promenade, the parking ratio is 4.26 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. This is concurrent with the Brentwood City code that states retail parking lots should have 4 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

Included in the marketing materials, CBRE said there are 1,440 parking spots available for customers.

CBRE also shares that this is a highly-trafficked location serving over five million shoppers annually.

Survival is possible

Whether the parking lot could be larger or designed better for how densely populated the shopping center can become, there are ways to physically and mentally survive the lot.

Once leaving the lot, don’t forget to exit out of Rose Avenue or Strassner Drive; it may seem longer or out of the way but the mental sanity will be worth the extra gas.