This citizen thought that perhaps a couple people he knew on the city council could come up with an idea that could help in this situation. Interestingly, I had heard the same concern voiced by two other employees of restaurants. Tonja and I are habitual eaters-of-appetizers-at-the-bar types, and tend to strike up conversations with our servers. Parking is a significant expense for downtown workers, and many restaurant employees have to snag their spot quite a distance away, to find an affordable option.
I didn't have any great ideas for the council member, other than to opine that it might be worthwhile for some businesses to offer a buddy system, allowing another employee to spend 15 minutes on the clock in order to accompany a lone employee going off duty after dark to a remote parking spot.
A couple of days ago, though, I spotted Companion, a smartphone application with exactly this problem in mind. Someone mentioned it on Twitter, and remarked how much her college-student daughter appreciated the app. Companion seems to be targeted towards college students, but the concept would work equally well for a shift-worker facing a jaunt of several blocks during the hours when a sense of discomfort may be present.
I have no personal experience with Companion, and I'm sure there are other apps with a similar function. In fact, one that I use everyday, Glympse, could be used for this purpose. I generally send a Glympse to Tonja when I'm heading home, and occasionally to someone I'm meeting when I am running late. I've even used Glympse to provide the family with an update on my travels when I am out of town. There are several things I especially like about Glympse.
Here's something men virtually never consider when searching for a parking spot: how safe will I feel when I come back to the car? We think about how close is it, how expensive in it, but I don't think men are ever thinking about their personal safety when they come back to the car after the game, the movie, or the class. A man would rarely pass up an otherwise prime parking spot because there isn't a streetlight nearby, or there's a sketchy alley to traverse. Yet, I think these are factors that women consider reflexively.
Juice up your battery, pick an app, and you needn't be entirely alone as you head home.