Parking lots are harder to design than many people might think. They require a lot of math and code to get precisely correct — even more so if the lot is planned to have fees.
An optimal parking lot may look different for every person, but there are a few things that designers can implement to make the layout of a parking lot that much more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are a few tips for leading any parking lot to success.
1. Find the Right Spot
First, the lot owner must determine where to place the parking lot. A lot needs to be placed somewhere to minimize cracking and damage so the owner won’t have to repair the parking lot frequently. Choosing the right spot is essential to building a parking lot that will last through years with minimal maintenance.
Consider the types of vehicles that will stay in the parking lot — heavier vehicles mean that the parking lot will require thicker pavement to hold up throughout its daily wear and tear.
2. Choose the Angle
The angle of the parking spots matters, as it determines how many parking spots will fit into a lot, as well as how easily certain cars can pull into them. If most cars have helpful parking sensors or an excellent turn radius, it could be easy for them to fit into straight parking spots.
Angled spots make it easier for larger cars to pull straight into a spot on their side of the parking lot rather than at a 90-degree angle. If space is an issue, parallel parking spots may be a good addition to any remaining, awkwardly-shaped areas.
3. Pick Ample Lighting
People feel safer driving and parking at night when there are more lights around. Even if the parking lot won’t be used after business hours, developers must consider that night falls during business hours for half of the year, meaning that without ample lighting, the parking lot might be bathed in darkness when evening rolls around.
Lighting can show off the parking lot more, allowing people to find their spots more easily, and it also can keep people feeling safe.
4. Add Landscaping
Any good parking lot has more than just parking spaces. By adding trees, shrubbery or any other greenery, a parking lot can become more appealing visually and more tempting for people to park in.
Trees can calm people down and help them have less anxiety, which could be very welcome as they walk through a parking lot to an important meeting or appointment. How a person chooses to landscape a parking lot can communicate the overall feel of safety they want the lot to have — even if it’s just a parking lot, it can make a difference.
5. Assign Spots
The owner of the lot needs to think about the lot’s function and whether assigning parking spots to users who occupy them is worth it. People could then either pay or sign up for a spot to use. This method would work excellently in cases where the parking lot is for a commercial office building — everyone could have an ensured spot when they arrive for work.
However, other lots are a little different, as many times, people wouldn’t be returning to the same spot day after day, especially in cases of tourism and traveling.
6. Meet Requirements
Depending on where a parking lot is built, it should have regulations from the town that it needs to follow. Not every set of guidelines is the same, so every developer must check to ensure the size of entrances and exits, as well as things like driving lanes, to ensure they comply with the city standards.
Before a project truly begins, everyone should double-check the criteria that need to be followed so they can ensure that the project will work well and be both legal and acceptable.
7. Maximize Drainage
Nobody likes standing water in a parking lot, especially as it poses an issue for both vehicles and pedestrians. Cars can hydroplane while trying to get out of the lot, and water may pose a slipping issue for people trying to reach their vehicle or destination.
By including drains, parking lots can avoid water hazards — as long as they’re large enough to drain fast enough. Some people might think that including larger drains is an eyesore, but it can prevent tragic accidents from happening on a new lot.
8. Install Emergency Call Stations
A parking lot can also feature emergency call stations to keep people feeling safe, which will alert law enforcement when someone needs help. Whether it’s an emergency or someone just wants assistance walking to their car at night, having these stations can give people peace of mind at any hour.
An emergency call box ensures that law enforcement arrives faster than calls via mobile phones, making it a great decision in a pinch. It ensures the safety of all who use the parking lot and the person who owns the lot.
9. Consider Entrance Gates
An extra layer of protection to the parking lot would be to install a gate. Parking decks tend to have gates that only allow people in once they pay or talk to an employee standing watch. A parking lot with a gate ensures that no cars will enter after-hours and that everyone pays any fees they are supposed to.
Without a gate, people may come in and out as they like, which isn’t much of an issue for a lot that doesn’t have fees. If the parking lot plans to have just a parking meter where people can pay, then some accountability via a gate that does not let them in or out until they leave could work excellently.
10. Keep It Compliant
The best way to build a parking lot is to ensure that it’s compliant with ADA standards. Each parking lot must have ramps to allow folks who cannot climb stairs easy access to the sidewalks. Furthermore, there should always be a van-accessible parking space alongside the other accessible parking spaces.
Ensuring that a parking lot accommodates every sort of driver and passenger shows people that they are welcome, no matter their business in the parking lot.
Building the Best Parking Lot
It’s difficult to go wrong when constructing a parking lot on the surface, but much goes into ensuring that it is as functional and aesthetically pleasing as it can be. From the mathematical equations to ensure all the spaces will fit to determining the density of the pavement, a parking lot is more work than it seems.
Choosing to build the best parking lot from the ground up — including the aesthetics that may influence people to use it — is essential to creating the optimal parking lot.