Are you installing a new parking lot or repairing an older parking area? Increase the safety and efficiency of your commercial parking zones by following recommended rules for professional design and maintenance. Here are four best practices to follow for commercial parking lots.
1. Minimize Wasted Space
If your business has expanded, your parking lot may no longer meet your needs. When you don’t have enough spaces to accommodate your employees and customers, it’s time to either have a new parking lot constructed or maximize the spaces in the existing parking lot.
First, determine if your parking area has any wasted spaces. Empty corners and edges of your lot can be utilized as spaces for motorcycles or bicycles.
Other wasted space can be eaten up by:
- Recycling receptacles
- Portable signage
- Storage buildings
- Abandoned vehicles
- Seldom-used commercial vehicles
By removing these space wasters, you can create additional parking areas for staff and customers.
2. Maximize Your Lot’s Parking Capacity and Efficiency
According to experts, non-disability parking-space dimensions should ideally be 9 feet by 18 feet. However, not all vehicles need that much room to park safely. Increase your number of spaces by designating some areas as compact-car or motorcycle parking.
For high-turnover lots, one way to increase the efficiency of parking spaces is to change the angle of your spaces. In 67 percent of cases, having parking spaces set at 90-degree angles from curbs or aisles is the most efficient way to utilize your lot’s capacity.
In other cases, 90-degree-angled spaces can reduce efficiency in high-turnover parking lots. Drivers have issues executing right turns into spaces and may clog one-way parking aisles trying to find an open spot on the left.
Angled parking generally offers unidirectional flow and more efficient access to spaces. The size of your lot can also make angled parking more efficient.
A 60-degree-angled parking-space setup is the optimal arrangement for lots measuring (in feet):
- 125 by 175
- 125 by 150
- 150 by 150
A professional parking-lot installer can help you determine the most efficient use of your parking area both in terms of the number of spaces and the overall traffic flow.
3. Comply With ADA Requirements
Ensuring that your lot is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) has many benefits. You reduce risks of fines, litigation, and bad press. You create a welcoming, safe environment for staff, customers, and clients with disabilities.
If you have older parking spaces with 5-foot access aisles for vans, you should know that requirements have changed. New laws require 8-foot access aisles to meet the ADA standards for van-accessible parking spaces in Minnesota.
If you merely paint over the old 5-foot aisles, you can remain ADA-compliant without increasing access-aisle dimensions. If you resurface, seal-coat, or reconfigure the spaces in your lot, you must provide the new 8-foot access aisles.
Angled spaces should have the access aisles located on the passenger sides of the spaces. Slopes of the spaces should remain below a 1:48 ratio, and there must be at least 98 inches of vertical clearance above the access aisles.
You aren’t required by state law to paint the surfaces of your van-accessible spaces within the parking areas. However, you should provide signs at the heads of van-accessible spaces. Signs should be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and include the international access symbol in white with a blue background.
4. Protect Your Business From Lawsuits
Hazardous parking lots pose safety risks to all workers and visitors. They also put your business at risk of workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits.
If your business has been warned or received complaints about safety issues in your parking lot, you could be fined or receive penalties for not correcting the hazards. Conduct a safety inventory of your parking lot to find and correct potential hazards.
Experts state that parking lot safety is increased by:
- Replacing speed bumps with rumble strips
- Posting speed limit signs
- Making aisles one-way only
- Maintaining 2-percent grade in all directions
- Raising pedestrian walkways
- Installing adequate lighting for visibility
Proper surface care of the parking lot is also key to reducing the risks of hazards and lawsuits. If your parking lot has potholes, slick surfaces, or icy conditions, your liability is increased.
Budget and plan for repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to your parking lot to stay out of legal trouble and provide the safest parking area for your employees and customers. Perform seasonal lot care as often as is needed to decrease slip-and-fall and crash hazards.
Seasonal maintenance includes:
- Sweeping away slick leaves and debris
- De-icing frozen patches
- Keeping signage and lot markings visible
- Clearing snow to remove blind spots
Keep plenty of salt and de-icing materials on hand during winter to maintain traction and footing for drivers and pedestrians. Or hire a reliable parking-lot maintenance company to stay on top of winter-related hazards in your parking areas.
Schedule installation, re-striping, maintenance, or repair of your commercial parking lot in southeastern Minnesota by contacting Plehal Blacktopping. We’re happy to work with businesses and industrial customers within a 90-mile radius of Shakopee, Minnesota.