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6 Parking Lot Design Essentials

Parking Lot Design Essentials
Image by Free-Photos for Pixabay

6 Parking Lot Design Essentials: Are You Utilizing Every Inch of Space Available?

Fourteen thousand square miles of the United States is taken up by parking lots. Parking lots are required for almost every store, restaurant, or office building. They are crucial to the success of any business. A parking lot is the first and last spot a customer sees when entering and exiting a building. This means that it must work well and look good. Here are six parking-lot design essentials in order for the parking lot to work well.

Parking Lot Design Essentials
Image by Free-Photos for Pixabay

Parking Lot Design Essentials – Maximize Available Space

Maximizing space is crucial for a parking lot as you want as many cars to fit as possible. The more vehicles that can fit in, the more potential customers the building receives. It is also important to know that parking spaces must be a specific size so that cars may fit. You need them to be big enough to fit different cars’ sizes, but also small enough to maximize the number of vehicles. Engineering firms like Cochran Engineering can help you with the parking lot design. Spiral ramps also help a lot with maximizing space, that is of course if the parking lot is two stories.

Optimize Traffic Flow

There are a plethora of different ways to help traffic flow. Some parking structures implements a one-way system, while others allow for both ways in between spots. Depending on the size of the parking lot, you can have one-way lanes or two-way lanes. An excellent way to help traffic flow is to add arrows. Big arrows help to direct traffic resulting in a more tame and straightforward system. You can also optimize traffic flow by taking away bumpers in the parking spaces. Bumpers are good for making sure a car does not go over the line in front of them, but they also take up valuable space.

When there are no bumpers, cars can drive forward to get out if there is no car in front of them. This causes traffic to flow better since vehicles do not need to pull out. Pedestrian zones must be considered as well. There has to be appropriately placed walking and crossing zones for people on foot. This helps to keep traffic moving while keeping both walkers and drivers safe. If the parking lot is directly next to a store or restaurant, there should be appropriately placed loading and unloading zones.

In addition, traffic control and flagging are among the best ways to ensure pedestrian and vehicular safety in the area. Setting up a clear and concise traffic pattern is crucial to ensure safe passage. Improper traffic patterns can lead to dangerous accidents, resulting in severe injury or even death. The proper use of traffic flags will prevent confusion and make it easy for drivers to find their designated parking spaces. You may check the Capitol Barricade to look for the different types of flags used to regulate traffic in parking lots and other parking areas.

Entry and Exit Placement

Entry and Exit placement are crucial as it must be available to people on the main road, while also contributing to the optimization of traffic flow. A well-placed entry and exit zone make traffic flow more natural. Ignoring the placement of this can result in bad traffic flow. Placing speed bumps near the entrances and exits is good as it makes sure people are not speeding through the parking lot. Installing curb ramps in any locations that have dangerous curbs can also help keep vehicles safe. There should also be signs near both the entrance and the exits. Most trouble with parking lots is when it is hard to find the exit or entrance; signs make it much easier.

Aesthetic Elements

Parking lots
Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

Aesthetic elements are not as crucial to the success of parking as other types of structures, but it does contribute to the vibe of the area. The visual appearance of a parking lot will promote a happier mood among those inside. You can also use designs and colors to differentiate from different areas in the parking structure. If the parking lot is multiple stories, you can assign a color and design to separate the stories. This will help people remember what floor they parked on. These designs can be drawings of things like animals, foods, or plants. You can assign a theme to your parking lot and have each level show a different color and design that is part of the theme.

Advertisements can also add to the aesthetic element of the parking lot. Stores and restaurants near the parking lot can buy spaces to put up things like posters. Different posters in the parking lot can be aesthetically pleasing. These advertisements can also be online things; they do not have to be ads for companies near the parking lot.

Disability Spaces

All parking lots need a few spaces dedicated to people with disabilities. These spots should be much closer to the building than normal spots. If the parking structure is multiple stories, you can design the disability spots near elevators. Since the disability spots need to be near the entrance, you have to figure out how to make them work with the loading and unloading zone. You can most likely place the disability spots to the right of the entrance and the loading and unloading zones to the left.

Depending on the size of the parking lot, the number of disability spots will vary. The more regular spots you have, the more disability spots there should be. If the parking spot does not have many spaces, you do not need a lot of disability spaces. The disability spaces should also be colored differently, so it is easy to differentiate between the spots. Most disability spaces are white and blue, instead of white and black for normal spaces.


Well-designed parking structures can go from good too bad in days without the right maintenance procedures. During the design and planning phase maintenance should be considered. You have to think about what will need future maintenance and dedicate areas in the lot for maintenance teams to set up. If the parking lot is too full and cluttered, maintenance people will not have a spot to work out of. Issues with paint, curb repair, and landscaping upkeep will most likely present themselves in the future. Taking this into consideration during the planning phase as it will pay off in the long run.

Numerous aspects must be considered when creating a parking lot. They all mainly have to do with safety and functionality, if there is trouble, do not hesitate to reach out to trained professionals.