When designing your parking lot or parking garage, you imagine the best experience for your visitors and employees. But does your vision extend to people of different abilities and ages? What will ensure the best experience for children, elderly, or disabled patrons? Also important: have you kept your facility up-to-date with the latest accommodations and safety precautions? If not, you could be liable for damages if a patron is injured while in your parking lot.
The most important element of a visitor’s experience is safety. It might not be in the forefront of his or her mind when parking at your business, but it certainly will be if something goes wrong. So make sure you review your parking lot’s safety features regularly.
It’s the Law
Parking lot design must comply with federal and state law, as well as local zoning ordinances, to maximize safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. The layout of the lot should provide plenty of space for vehicles to maneuver. Lighting should be optimal for drivers to see at night and for pedestrians to feel safe as they walk through your facility. Could it be time for you to re-stripe or re-design your layout or update your lighting? Make sure you comply with the most recent codes. Special rules are also updated often to accommodate disabled individuals.
When your parking facility is designed or altered in any way, a re-evaluation of your accessible (or handicapped) parking accommodations is required for you to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The required number and location of accessible parking spaces varies based on the size of the parking facility, the number of parking lots or garages that serve large entities (such as hospitals, universities, airports, sports arenas, or malls), and the distance between the parking facility and the entrances to the building. If you resurface your lot or redo its layout to allow for more parking spaces, the number of accessible spaces must comply with the “scoping table” to be ADA-compliant.
Obey the Signs
Signage to mark accessible spaces is also required and must be placed at a height that is visible to all even when a vehicle is parked there. Your signage scheme should take into account the safest pathways for drivers navigating your parking lot or parking garage. Clearly marked routes to exits are very important, as are lanes and directions of traffic to minimize risk of collisions. “Wayfinding” signs that direct pedestrians to entrances to your buildings will help them find the place they’re visiting. And well-marked lot section locators will prevent pedestrians from getting lost when finding their cars as they leave your business. A comprehensive re-design of your signage can improve safety for all visitors using your parking facilities.
If you need help understanding the latest laws and ordinances, or for expert knowledge in parking lot design updates, call us at Curcio Enterprises, Inc. We specialize in all things parking, and we are here to help.