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Are you making the most of the space you have for parking, or is all that potential extra space looking a little, well, invisible? When you have a parking lot or garage or similar facility, more than likely, you’re only using one level of space for parking or storing cars. The time has come to think outside of the box, or rather, outside the parking stripes. Consider the following options when deciding how to improve spacing in parking systems at your building or facility.

Lateral/Vertical Thinking

Lateral thinking means figuring out a way to deal with a problem by leaving a prescribed path (though perhaps “rut” would be the better word) and finding a new way to fix it by coming at it from a different angle. Most people think of parking lots and garages as horizontal affairs, running along a single plain, whether on a parcel of land or via a system or ramps and levels. Here’s where lateral thinking comes into play, though in this case, it requires you to think vertically. With mechanical car parking, cars can be stacked, one over the other, through a series of parking lifts and racks. One space can turn into two, three, four, or more, depending on the amount of clearance overhead. Cars are situated and separated on their platforms, protected from damage, and kept from interfering with one another.

Measure for Measure

On average, a parking space requires about nine feet by 19 feet of space (van-accessible spaces, of course, as well as other special-use spaces, are larger). Check the property records and see if your lot is making the best use of the space available. If you need to repaint parking stripes, think about traffic flow and entry and exit points, and whether angled or perpendicular parking spots are better for your purposes. Angled parking tends to work well and is safer since visibility is better and cars can leave their spaces more efficiently and with less steering. However, once again, while it’s technically perpendicular parking, mechanical car parking makes even better use of limited space and doesn’t need to accommodate individual drivers exiting their spaces at the same time.

Park More Densely

One of the bigger obstacles faced by cities and similar areas where land is at a premium is a lack of available areas due to high-density development. There are fewer large parking lots in most downtown areas because property is valuable and is better developed into a property-generating office or residential space. Architects are often called on to develop the bottom floors and subbasements of their structures into parking spaces. Parking garages can serve that purpose, but for maximum effect, density needs to come into play. In this case, automated and mechanical car parking systems with lifts and stacking features can handle two to three times the number of cars than standard self-parking garages with ramp access. You could say that density is your facility’s destiny.

Technological Solutions

In this age of apps, you should know there are smartphone programs that allow drivers to locate and even reserve parking spaces well before they enter the lot or facility. This means they spend less time driving around the place, slowing down traffic, blocking entrances and exits, and risking damage. Look into providing a way for clients, locals, and travelers to reserve and hold a space and even pay for it in advance to keep cars moving and reduce congestion on-site and around the facility. Letting customers pay for extended parking also diminishes the amount of foot traffic, leaving more space for cars to park and maneuver.

Communicate

If you want to ensure someone does the right thing, make sure the lines of communication are clear, concise, and not easily contested. In a self-parking facility, signage needs to combine direction and instruction in easily understood language or symbols. Post signs where drivers and pedestrians can see them while making sure the signs don’t offer a hazard themselves. Naturally, post signs according to the flow of traffic indicating stops, right of way, direction of traffic, yielding, crosswalk indicators, and the like. Standard traffic lights can also be handy in maintaining order. As mentioned earlier, when painting parking stripes, as well as directional arrows and other marks on the floor of your facility, ensure they’re highly visible. They should also be reflective, waterproof, and provide the symbolic “walls” between vehicles, pedestrians, and equipment.

Barriers

Where symbolic walls won’t do, add concrete dividers and parking curbs, speed bumps, pylons, flexible delineators, and similar standing and sometimes immovable markers to make it extra clear where cars can and cannot go. Also, indicate if cars should slow down. Barriers not only direct traffic but also reduce damage to property, greenery, people, and other cars. Even if the barrier causes no real damage, like flexible delineators, it’s a visible and helpful reminder to pay attention to what they’re doing. Freeing up space is just one more advantageous result of using these. Of course, consider the savings by switching to mechanical car parking. Automated parking facilities don’t need signs and painted warnings to ensure swift and safe parking.

Light It Up

One thing that always goes hand in hand with efficiency and safety is great lighting. A parking lot or garage without adequate lighting is a rat’s nest of lost drivers, collisions, and crowding. Lighting needs to be able to show drivers the way to go without dazzling them or causing delays and accidents. Glare is also an issue for surrounding buildings and passing traffic, so your facility needs to go for brightness without blinding brilliance. Once again, an automated parking system removes the need to add lighting since cars are taken and stored in a facility that offers no access to drivers and pedestrians. The savings on electricity truly add up!

Any Questions?

If you are pondering how to improve spacing in parking systems in your own facility, contact us for more information on how an automated parking facility could work to increase parking, raise revenue, and protect your investment and your clients’ vehicles!

How To Improve Spacing in Parking Systems

This post was originally published on Harding Steel