Infamous Rock in Snoqualmie Parking Lot inflicts Thousands in Damage, Property Manager installs Rock protection

It may seem unbelievable, but in the age of social media, one decorative rock has gotten a very bad reputation very quickly. Chances are, if you’re a driver impacted, all you have to say is you ‘hit the rock’ and many know exactly what you’re talking about.

And it seems over the past two months the rock as developed a “love-it or hate-it” social media fan base as residents have taken to Facebook to post photos of car after car (as well as drivers) in an embarrassing situation: high-centered on a rock that is cemented into a narrow planting strip at the entrance to a Snoqualmie Ridge retail building parking lot.

The parking lot is pretty busy as it houses businesses like Anytime Fitness, Ana’s Mexican Restaurant, Early Learning Center, Snoqualmie Valley Kids Dentist and the Snoqualmie Ridge ROA office.

According to social media photos and comments, as well as others who have messaged us, in the past two months about 12 vehicles have either hit the rock or been high-centered on it, including my daughter who clipped the back tire of our truck on the curb just last week, ripping the running board off.  One business owner, though, put that number at closer to 20 impacted cars.

Luckily my daughter didn’t high-center, nor require a tow truck for a truck-rock removal. She simply threw the running board (and pieces of a Dodge bumper who hit it before her) in the truck bed and sulked home, reluctantly relinquishing her clean driving record.

When she told me what happened I said, “No… not that darn [insert stronger word for full effect] rock.” And then proceeded to inform her she might be shamed on Facebook, which seemed more terrifying than hitting the rock she said she never saw.

I went back and drove the entrance, and sure enough what she said was true – the rock is shorter that the hedge that lines the planting strip prior to where the rock was cemented in. It didn’t excuse the fact that she hit it, but it did help explain why she and many others are hitting this rock.

View of planting strip as you enter the parking lot and from inside the parking lot on Kinsey Street.

View of planting strip as you enter the parking lot and from inside the parking lot on Kinsey Street.

Never Saw it – Bad Driver Debate Erupts

“Never saw it” seems to be a common description from others who have hit it. “Bad drivers” seems to be the common social media description from others who can’t understand how anyone could hit a rock in a parking strip. Seems this one rock is also very divisive in the community.

But it turns out, the rock – and what was there before the property manager cemented it in – have a rich history of run-ins with local cars. And the problem that the rock was designed to fix – drivers going up on this narrow planting strip as they make a right turn and maneuver the tight parking lot – hasn’t been solved.

Some say the rock is there to prevent cars from clipping the curb and hitting a car parked in the adjacent parking spot, but in every photo of high centered vehicles, no car is parked there. In fact, drivers says it is helpful to have a car parked there when entering the lot because the parked car alerts you to how far the median/strip extends.

According to one business owner, cars have been hitting whatever is in this narrow parking lot planting strip for many years now. First a tree, then a bush, then the non-cemented in boulder, which would cause it to roll into the parking lot and become another hazard.

A business owner said tenants the building have been required to pay extra year end triple net charges to cover the cost of landscape damages and curb repairs.

One local driver’s ed instructor said she doesn’t believe the rock needs to be in the planting strip/median – that the rock isn’t protecting the building or a car if parked there. She said the median itself protects the adjacent parking spot. Her solution? Remove the rock and leave it paved. She said a blind spot exists at the entrance to the parking lot due to the overalldesign of the lot, entrance and landscaping.

Regardless, about a year ago, the decision was made to cement the rock in – as well as install another [taller] rock into the planting strip on the opposite side of the parking lot entrance on Kinsey Street.

And as they say: Let the games begin.

Now, instead of damaged landscape or a rock being pushed into the parking lot, cars are sustaining the damage – and on a pretty regular basis it seems.

We talked to a few drivers who admitted to high centering and/or hitting their vehicles on the rock – to attempt to understand how this is repeatedly happening.

The common theme for those who ended up on the rock is they could not see how far the planing strip extended into the parking lot – nor could they see the rock. They wrongly thought the planting strip ended after the hedge. They turned right too soon and drove right up onto the rock, which is shorter than the hedge. As they never saw the rock, they also didn’t know what they were on at first.

Since the end of March, at least six cars have made this costly mistake and ended up high centered. In January another vehicle sustained $8,000 in damage. According to one business owner, the vehicle’s owner let the property manager know about the damage.

In mid March, Karisa Rice also turned too soon in her 2007 Nissan Altima. She blew out her tire and seriously damaged her car. She said it was $1,300 to fix the damaged tire and wheel, but in the end the car sustained another $9,000 in damage. As the damage was worth more than the car, her insurance totaled the vehicle. She never reported the incident to police or the property manager.

Swayam Kar said his wife high centered their SUV with $2500 in damage incurred.  The wife of another local business owner damaged her passenger side door with a $1300 bill. An instructor at Anytime Fitness said one of their members sustained “thousands in damage” after encountering the rock. As for us, we don’t have an estimate yet, but in addition to the running board ripping off, the bottom of both passenger doors, as well as the lower frame of the truck body are dented.

The Snoqualmie Police Department is aware of this rock’s bad reputation, but as it is private property their job is to take incident reports for those who chose to report, and many don’t appear to be reporting their rock encounters to police.

Property Manager Responds

JSH Properties, who manages the retail building and parking lot, was asked to comment as to how long they have known aboutRock issues surrounding the rock – and if they plan to add additional signage or reflectors to help improve the issue.

JSH did not respond regarding how long they’ve known about the rock, but did say on the day this story ran they would install a bollard to the planting strip as a solution.

On Wednesday, May 25th, workers installed a bollard (3 foot steel pole) near the base of what has become known as “Rock on the Ridge” (complete with its own Facebook page).  The pole will also be painted yellow and is visible above the hedge that lines the parking lot entrance.

Hoping to Stop the Car Carnage

The hope in doing this story, is that ours would be the last vehicle damaged, but we waited too long to publish and an SUV was high centered the day after our incident occurred last week.

So for now folks – BE AWARE.  You can say you are a good driver, going slowly, paying attention –  and it would never happen to you. But that’s the way many drivers felt until they found themselves stranded, beached on a rock they said is hard to see.

And now you also have a yellow pole to contend with…. and in lieu of rock removal, there’s not much else that can be done it seems.

To summarize, Snoqualmie now has a pole protecting a rock…. and it’s still murky what the rock was protecting, but it sure is a famous rock now – even KIRO News did a story it today.

Happy incident free, safe driving Snoqualmie Valley – and watch out for that darn rock… and now pole!

 

Collage of vehicles high-centered on the parking lot Kinsey Street entrance.

Collage of vehicles high-centered on the parking lot Kinsey Street entrance.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Robert McGreggor says

    It looks to me like too many people in a hurry. Slow down, take care and notice your surroundings. If you look at those pictures, each one of them is nearly touching the bush. They were trying to cut a corner too sharp. You each caused this damage yourselves.

  2. It’s straight up negligent driving. I get that the parking lot design is poor, it’s too small and narrow, however, looking at the pics it’s not like they’re hitting rock because their vehicle is too long to make the turn, they just didn’t pay any attention to the surroundings and turned way too early. That planter isn’t extra long. And yes, I’ve parked in that lot many times…with a full sized SUV…and I’ve never clipped the curb let alone centered my bumper on the rock.

    • Travis Wetherbee says

      How the hell are people getting high centered there? Do they realize how fast they have to be going for that to happen? My lord, pay attention to your surroundings, this is scary that these people are out on the roads with oncoming traffic. It is a wonder they haven’t been killed before…Rather it is a wonder they haven’t killed someone.

  3. Sounds like the “injured” need to put down their lattes, cell phones and PAY ATTENTION! Maybe a refresher driving course :<)

  4. Michael Westcott says

    This is too funny. Congrats! Tales of the Rock has made it to the east coast! I am a civil engineer in North Carolina and this made my day. I had to go on google earth to take a look for myself. I hate it for all the people who have damages their car but it is funny. I am not Licensed in Washington State to do engineering but the solution is simple. Contact the City and find out if you can take the parking spot next to the island with the rock and convert it into island also. Remove the rock and plant shrubs over 3′ tall in the center of the island. The larger island with shrubs tall enough to see would solve the problem.

  5. There is no one else to blame, but the drivers. We’ve hit a social norm it seems, that generally, folks do not take responsibility for their own actions anymore. It’s someone else’s fault. B.S.
    The simple “solution” is paying attention, go slow and be mindful of your vehicle’s size and orientation in a cramped parking lot. The rock, curb and island have done nothing wrong. It’s inattentive driving, plain and simple. This is a lesson learned, and unfortunately, an expensive lesson for some. I’ve parked in this lot for many years with different size vehicles and never hit it. I’ve curbed a wheel once up the street, but blamed myself, not the person who put the curb there. Jeez.

    Danna, your daughter did the right thing and you guys keeping light-hearted about it. She owned up to the incident, tail between the legs and came home. Kudos for picking up some one else’s junk, too! They must have thought it was some one else’s responsibility to clean up after them.

  6. I have not had any altercations with that rock but the angle of the spot and the general tightness of the parking lot do make it a hazard and I don’t think you can fully blame the drivers. It’s a poorly implemented solution for a rather normal problem.

  7. I completely agree with the above comments. Reading the article made it sound like an invisible rock was sitting in a very bad area. It’s clear from the photograph that sloppy and lazy drivers are constantly cutting the curb which is a dangerous and bad maneuver in and of itself. I hope the rock is left and we learn to be better, more cautious drivers instead of demolishing anything in our way so we can continue to drive without concern or thought. What if a small child had been standing on that curb instead? The rock is quite large and I think the damage should serve as a wake up call to the negligence of the driver.

  8. My daughter hit that rock and scrapped the whole side of my car. I initially thought it was her inattention, however the very next day she was in the same lot and a lady was stuck on top of it so I had to go check it out for myself. When you are driving into the lot there are shrubs that completely obscure the view of the rock and the curb. If there is no car parked in the space that the curb is trying to protect then you could totally cut the corner short without realizing the curb and rock are there. Unless you have driven it you really can’t see the whole picture especially if you are unfamiliar with it. There are so many easy fixes like the engineer above mentioned. I complained months ago to JHS and they didn’t seem to be interested in making any changes. Irritates me that all of us who have had damage to our cars have had to pay out of our pockets when JHS has known this is a hazard for quite some time. Damage to my car was $8k with $1k out of pocket for rental and deductible. I will have to swing by tomorrow and see if they actually fixed the problem.

  9. Dear idiots in Snoqualmie:

    LEARN
    TO
    DRIVE

  10. Drive carefully. As noted in the article the Early Learning center resides in this parking lot with lots of children being walked to activities on Center Blvd, parents picking up, and sits directly next to Anna’s outdoor patio.

    I didn’t see it? Do you just blindly turn your car around corners are things you can’t see? Driving classes teach to be perpetually mindful at all times (parked, parking lots, roads, highways) when in your vehicle. The rock didn’t sneak up on the car – the driver snuck their car up on the rock.

  11. FORD DRIVERS says

    Four of these pictured are Fords. The other two were companies owned by ford. Conspiracy. Wait, Chevrolet slogan.. Like a Rock.

  12. What if there was a dog or a small child on the other side of thr hedge? Don’t put your car through any space you can’t see. Simple.

  13. This has me rolling! Pun intended! If possible make it a left turn only! Just a suggestion!

  14. Travis Wetherbee says

    Pretty simple question for anyone that has hit this rock…who was driving the car? Secondly was the rock itself moving at the time that you hit the rock? If so then please share with the rest of us how the rock was moving. If not, then you hit an inanimate object that doesn’t move itself….meaning you didn’t pay attention to your surroundings and your vehicle size and speed as we were all taught when we learned how to drive! I have a rock stand at the end of my driveway and you would be flipping amazed at how many times I have to go and stack the rocks back up. The rocks aren’t actually in my driveway, they are located about 6 inches to the left of the pavement in my driveway. However it always seems to happen almost every week someone pulls in and cuts the corner and knocks them over. Luckily these are not inset into the ground and they break apart fairly easy. The point here is to pay attention to your surroundings, speed, vehicle and most importantly take responsibility for your actions rather then sending the news media an email about how inept you are at driving.

  15. Woody14619 says

    If I were the property managers, I’d replace the rock with a very solid statue of a small child (possibly made of metal, so it could withstand several “hits”). This would solve the problem quickly, since anyone hitting it would have to answer to “what if that had been a real child?”

    Imagine the horror of anyone looking under their now high-centered car and seeing a small child as the reason for that predicament. Hell, I’d chip in some funds to see that happen, so long as there is also a webcam installed.

  16. Ummm, stop your car when you hit a curb. Seriously these people felt the car hit the curb and decided it was a good idea to just keep going And if you’re going too fast to stop, well that also speaks for itself. It’s a parking lot…..

  17. Jim Gibson says

    These are not drivers ,steering wheel holders at best

  18. Luddite Commuter says

    If I went over that curb (without the rock) back when I was taking Driver’s Ed, that would be a fail right there. I saw the KIRO report on the 26th, and the photos show that all the cars tried to clip the corner. In other places, that’d be like driving up onto a sidewalk. And people wouldn’t do that!
    Still, rock or no rock, there’s no call to drive up onto the curb. If there’s a car coming out and there’s not enough room for both, then let the other guy go out first. No point trying to force the issue. If you drive over the rock and cause $8K in damage, it’s all your own fault.

  19. Robert McGreggor says

    So many times I have wished that there were “like” buttons beside the posts here.

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