For many businesses, the parking lot is one of the most dangerous areas to be aware of. With cars and pedestrians having to share this space, it is easy to see how accidents could happen. In places where you add shopping carts, delivery trucks, and other things to the environment, the danger will only escalate. When thinking about workplace or business safety, you absolutely need to look closely at the parking lot.
Proper parking lot management will help you to make sure everyone in the area knows where they should be going, and how to avoid problems. In addition to dramatically increasing the safety, this will also ensure your parking lot is used as efficiently as possible.
Understanding Your Current Strategy
Unless you are a brand-new company that is just getting ready to open, you already have some type of parking lot management strategy in place. If you did not, there would be no parking lines or other guidance and people would just park however they wanted, which would be a mess. Before looking at how you can improve your parking lot, make sure you understand exactly how it is being utilized. This means gathering information including things like:
- The Size of Your Parking Lot
- Current Positioning of Parking Spaces
- Any Barriers in Place
- Signs that are Being Used
- List of Accidents or Other Incidents that Have Occurred in the Past Year
Having this information, and any other relevant details, will help you to set your goals for how you want your parking lot to operate. It will also give you a good starting point so you can decide what you want to leave in place, and what you want to change.
Setting Your Goals
The parking lot for your business is one of the most important assets that you have. Since most parking lots take up a very significant percentage of the total area your business occupies, it makes sense to use it as effectively as possible. Coming up with ideas on how you want the area to function will be a good step toward figuring out how to bring these goals to reality. Some common goals that businesses have when it comes to parking lot management include:
- Have Space for As Many Vehicles as Possible
- Make it Fast and Easy for Customers to Enter the Building
- Allow for Efficient Delivery or Shipment of Goods
- Keep Pedestrians Safe
- Minimize the Risk of Accidents
- Make it Easy for Vehicles to Enter and Exit the Parking Lot
Ways to Improve Parking Lot Management
There are many different tools that you can use to improve the way your parking lot functions. The most commonly used method is by painting parking spaces onto the ground. Before doing this, make sure that you plan out exactly where you want them located. Keep in mind that you likely have to have handicap accessible parking spaces that are close to the entrance of the building, and have a ramp if needed. Beyond that, you can place the parking spaces in whatever configuration makes the most sense.
Something that is becoming more popular recently is painting a pedestrian walking area in the parking lot so that people and vehicles are less likely to be in the same area. You can, for example, place a row of parking spots, then a pedestrian walking path, and then a row of parking spots on the other side. This will be an efficient use of space and also let people exit their vehicle and walk directly to the safe path. Just make sure that the pedestrian walking area has barriers that will prevent drivers from accidentally running into them.
Beyond the standard markings that go on the ground of the parking lot, there are many different things that you can use to improve your parking lot management strategy. The following are some of the most popular option to consider:
- Signs – Putting up signs is easy and conveys a very clear message. There are many different types of signs that can be used in parking lots including handicap only signs, speed limit signs, no parking signs, and others.
- Barrier Posts – Putting up strong barrier posts will help keep vehicles from entering an area where people are walking. These can be metal or concrete posts that are installed in the ground. To reduce damage to vehicles while maintaining safety, place post covers on them to give cushion to the bumper of vehicles.
- Trees – While placing trees in a parking lot may seem like a poor use of space, they can be very helpful. For example, the trees will have barriers (such as a curb) around them, which can help to direct traffic. In addition, the trees can provide shade for customer vehicles, which people will appreciate.
Of course, there are many other ways that you can improve your parking lot management strategy. The important thing is that you actively work on how this is going to be done rather than just letting it develop on its own. A good parking lot management strategy will really improve customer and employee experience for your company.