Success Starts & Ends in the Parking Lot

Have you ever turned into the parking lot of a shopping center, school, or church and found yourself frustrated as you try to maneuver through the chaos?  We find that this happens all too often. You can see the front door but a sea of curbs, medians, and pedestrians stalls your progress towards a parking spot.  Once you finally come to a stop between those two white lines, you must dodge others trying to find that sacred parking place near the front door, and zig and zag through aisles of parking, finally arriving at the front door of your destination, frustrated, and worn out. The whole experience of coming to this place has been tarnished by the parking lot chaos.

Whatever purpose brings us to these places, the quality of our experiences will ultimately be measured by our first and last interactions in the parking lot.  No matter how beautiful the building design is or the quality of the activities and experiences inside, their experience will be overshadowed by a negative arrival or exit experience.

So how can we remedy this situation and be sure that these wonderful spaces are not tarnished by their parking lots? The best parking lots take into account the vehicle and the pedestrian, hardscape and planting, both lighting and signage.  They are intuitive to navigate through.  They are spacious and aesthetically pleasing.  They provide clear walking paths towards the building entrances and provide traffic patterns that do not create conflicts between those driving and those walking.  These places have a seamless progression of activities from first arrival, finding a parking space, walking through the lot, and arriving at the front door.  They are just as easy to exit as they are to enter.  If a parking lot is well designed, your guest will not even notice it.  They will arrive at the door to your building, ready to begin their experience, without even remembering how they got there.  When it is time to leave, they will not have to fear the exit scenario.

Often times, the parking lot is where designers and building owners spend the money last and where they cut first when in reality, it is one of the most memorable aspects of your guest’s experiences.  It must be thought through and well mapped out.  Your parking situation can be a deterrent if done incorrectly but with a little thoughtfulness and planning, it can leave a welcoming and lasting first impression.

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