Despite its apparent simplicity, the layout of an attractive and efficient parking lot requires a skilled designer who pays close attention to the principles of good engineering design. Key elements of a good parking lot design are stall widths that reflect the anticipated mix of users' vehicle types, aisle widths that meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the stall layout design, and appropriate provisions for handicapped-accessible parking.
Parking Stall Dimensions
Dimensions for parking stalls vary by jurisdiction, but a typical standard parking stall dimension is 9 feet wide by 18 feet long. Smaller stalls can be used in those jurisdictions allowing compact car parking – these stalls often can be as small as 8 feet wide by 16 feet long. Widths of stalls designated as handicapped-accessible must meet current federal requirements. Typical dimensions are an 8-foot wide stall with an adjacent 5-foot wide aisle.
Parking areas that do not meet minimum design standards present a false economy – for example, motorists will ignore lane markings and use two spaces if the provided stalls are too narrow.
Drive Aisle Widths
Drive aisles allow for vehicle circulation within the parking lot and provide sufficient area for motorists to back out of stalls. The typical minimum dimension for two-way drive aisles is 24 feet. The typical minimum width of a one-way aisle, often used with angled parking stalls, is 12 feet, with the required minimum width increasing as the angle of the stalls increases toward 90 degrees.
For parking lots open to the general public, white is the standard color for parking space markings. Yellow designates areas not available for parking, such as painted islands at the ends of parking rows. Blue designates handicapped-accessible spaces. Red curbs are used in some jurisdictions to denote fire lanes where parking is prohibited.