Your parking lot lines and organization say a lot more about your commercial property than you might realize. After all, the parking lot is the first thing clients, guests and prospective employees and tenants see and use. If it’s unattractive, uneven, hard to navigate, and poorly marked, visitors won’t feel comfortable, and they’re less likely to come back a second time.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your parking lot is designed for the smoothest, safest use by drivers and pedestrians alike. Making those smart layout decisions start with knowing exactly what a top-notch parking area needs. So let’s take a look at parking lot anatomy.
How the Different Features of Your Parking Lot Function
What makes good parking? The answer is simple: A parking area that pleases visitors has a distinct set of markings, signs and other features that are well-kept and marked so that people can easily navigate, park and walk the lot.
Making your plans with the end-user in mind is the best way to create a parking lot design that works well for your property and gives you the greatest value for your investment.
When choosing the aspects your parking lot needs, keep in mind that navigational and safety marks are most important, but there are also several added features that can create curb appeal and a welcoming feel that draws in visitors.
So, whether you’re upgrading an existing area of pavement or installing a brand-new parking lot, make sure to plan adequately for all these features:
Overall Parking Lot Size
Knowing how your parking lot will be used is a key factor in determining how to design it to get the most out of it—which means ensuring it’s big enough to accommodate daily visitors without being so large that parts of it never get used.
Among the aspects that are worth considering, you should define:
- Number of users—You’ll want the lot to be big enough to accommodate the average number of users easily, or you’ll have traffic issues.
- Type of use—What types of vehicles are likely to drive in your parking lot? Will it be just cars and light trucks, or do you expect heavy delivery and construction vehicles to be on it? Heavier vehicles need stronger pavement to reduce the chances of buckling.
- Municipal and industry requirements—Depending on where your commercial property is located and what it’s used for, you may need to provide a specific parking lot layout or offer a specific minimum number of spaces.
Clear and Controlled Flow
Drivers are trained to quickly recognize and respond to various traffic signs and markings wherever they go—parking areas included. Make it easy for them to use your parking lot by ensuring your commercial pavement is marked consistently with drivers’ expectations.
- Parking lines—There’s nothing more frustrating for drivers than to have questions about where they should park. Fresh, bright striping makes this clear and easy.
- Usage signs—Eliminate confusion with large, well-maintained signs that mark areas like visitors parking, employee parking, main entrances, and other key information.
- Navigational signage—Yields, stops, no parking, speed limits, and other signs ensure that cars drive safely, helping to prevent accidents on your property—and limiting liability risks.
- Directional stenciling—These are pavement markings that tell drivers and pedestrians what to do. You can stencil anything that’s helpful—including navigation lines, arrows, and words like STOP and PEDESTRIANS ONLY.
Ample Safety Planning
Proper safety planning will lessen the likelihood of accidents, falls, and other liability issues—which of course is essential for your business as well as those who use it.
Safety features to consider include:
- Bollards—These posts either mark obstacles to avoid or are installed to prevent vehicles from damaging property—such as the side of a building near a drive-up window.
- Wheel stops—These barriers are placed at the head of parking spaces to prevent vehicles from rolling forward too much. They’re handy for protecting other parked cars, property, and pedestrians.
- Speed bumps—To ensure vehicles move at a safe speed, bumps and raised marks can be handy navigational tools.
- Lights—A well-lit parking area is essential for security. Light poles should be spaced so drivers can see clearly even if headlights are off.
- Curbs—From location and height to clear paint and breaks in the curb (called cuts) that help walkers step safely onto the sidewalk without tripping, your parking lot curbs should be properly installed and well maintained.
Parking Lot Space Accessibility
Your parking area should be easy for all people to use, which means thinking about any special situations or unique needs that your visitors, tenants and customers may have.
- ADA Compliant Parking spaces—Accessible Parking spots should be properly located near accessibility ramps, and clearly marked with stenciling and signage.
- ADA-consistent travel markers—Audible crosswalk signals and marked fixtures set in or near crosswalks can help those who are vision impaired to safely navigate your pavement.
- Family features—Roomier parking spaces can be designated for parents or guardians to load and unload their young children and strollers.
- Eco-friendly areas—Make your commercial property up-to-date by including access to electric vehicle charging stations that are well lit and clearly marked.
Attractive Added Features
Beyond the features already listed here, you can level up your commercial property’s curb appeal with beautiful parking lot planters, small trees, trimmed hedges, brand logos and other creative designs that add style and charm. These features can be customized to create a unique look that delights you and your customers and tenants.
Turn Your Parking Lot into a Valuable Asset
The right design and layout can make all the difference in how efficient, safe and appealing your parking lot is. And remember, an existing parking area can be refreshed to improve its value—something the EverLine experts would love to help you achieve—so you get a superb return on your investment.
Learn more about how our parking lot line striping services keep your asphalt and concrete spaces attractive, easy to navigate, and safe for customers, visitors and staff.