When planning for parking and mixed-use design, there are a number of issues to consider to ensure the safety, functionality, and aesthetic appeal of these spaces.
First and foremost: People. If the structure does not attract people, none of the technical elements matter. Parking is not about cars, but people; well-considered parking can enhance the overall experience of a place, while ultimately determining the success and profitability of the structure. Parking is often the first thing people experience when arriving at a destination, and the last thing they experience when leaving. If the parking experience is unpleasant, it will have an impact on their decision to return.
Additional considerations include:
Aesthetics and Architectural Enhancements
The design of a parking or mixed-use facility should complement and enhance the design of the surrounding buildings and neighborhood. This architectural continuity is critical to the success of a project.
Effective functional design
The function of a parking structure is critical to its success. It must incorporate an efficient functional layout that best utilizes structural systems to reduce costs while providing a pleasant patron experience. Some of the most important functional design considerations include:
Safety and Security
Safety is a major concern in all areas today, particularly in parking facilities where people are often walking alone or at night. Therefore it is of critical importance to incorporate the highest level of security features into every aspect of parking planning and design. The following are some of the most common safety strategies:
Passive Security Measures
Active Security Measures
Security through Generating Activity
Sustainable design practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. Structured parking is, by nature, sustainable as it is a more efficient use of land. Rather than paving acres of land for surface parking to support the needs of a development or campus, structured parking provides an opportunity to meet parking demand using a fraction of the space of a surface lot.
However, there are many opportunities to incorporate sustainable design, construction, and operations practices into the development of parking and mixed-use facilities. Some of the most common strategies include:
Durability and Maintenance
Parking structures are unique facilities, designed to withstand extremely harsh conditions including weather extremes, water infiltration, thermal expansion and contraction, vehicular traffic, and particularly in the northeast, de-icing salts and snow plows. The service life of a parking structure is measured by an engineers’ expertise in understanding concrete durability, and the design of systems, such as precast concrete and cast-in-place post-tensioned concrete, that are used in building parking structures. Understanding life-cycle costs enables engineers to assist owners with parking structure maintenance programs.