In our latest Quick Question videos we asked our industry experts, is parking dead? It was a relief, although no great surprise, to hear that the industry is very much alive and kicking. That said, many of our experts warned, that it is possible, of course, for a parking facility to die if it is not well maintained and if it fails to adapt to developing consumer needs.
So what can be done to revive a “dead” parking facility? And, even trickier still, what can be done when a parking facility experiences a death? Because, if my Google Alerts are to be believed, parking facilities are amongst the most dangerous places on planet Earth! Joking aside though, it is certainly true that parking facilities have developed a bad reputation for criminal activity.
Aside from the serious crimes that can take place in parking facilities, public nuisance and vandalism can make parking facilities seem unsafe. Once a facility has become neglected and underused it becomes more appealing to criminals as a place to conduct illegal activity, further exacerbating the neglect and underuse. Put simply, it becomes a vicious cycle.
But there is a whole industry dedicated to making parking facilities safe, secure and welcoming. So, what steps can parking facility owners and managers take to break the cycle? Here are eight simple tips to revive a parking facility.
Let There Be Light
Lighting is the simplest way to improve safety in a parking facility and is important for so many different reasons. A facility must be well illuminated to avoid collisions with the structure, other vehicles, and pedestrians. Furthermore, a well-illuminated facility immediately deters criminals by allowing CCTV to operate across the whole facility without any dark zones.
Searching for an energy-efficient lighting solution can be a cost-effective way of improving safety and security. And simply walking through the garage to replace broken lights and identify dark areas can make a huge difference at a very minimal cost.
Time for a Facelift
A dirty, vandalized and poorly maintained facility sends a clear message that the facility is not monitored or cared for and that criminals can go about their business unimpeded.
Ensure that a facility is well-painted, in light and bright colors to create a reflective surface for lighting and color-coding for wayfinding. Any graffiti should be removed as quickly as possible to deter others from adding to it and make the facility more appealing to drivers.
Stairwells and floors should be kept clear, free from litter and well-drained as all will improve the appearance and make it clear that the facility is well cared for and closely monitored.
It’s A Masterpiece
Art is a simple way to transform a parking garage from an unloved space to a vibrant hub at the center of the community. Art deters vandals from graffitiing and, by involving local artists or making the piece relevant to the location, it can give a facility soul and an anchor it in the community.
Street art and parking garage art can put places on the map, increasing visitors and making areas more desirable. Think about all the hype surrounding Banksy pieces, and all the city’s around the world offering walking tours of their most popular pieces. To find out more about the benefits of parking art, take a look at this blog post from EasyPark.
A Barrier to Success
Reducing access to a few, well-lit and monitored entry and exit points can make parking facilities much safer. Planting can be both a friend and foe in this regard: it can create a natural barrier or funnel, but also give criminals places to hide and obscure CCTV visibility. Meanwhile, fences, barriers, and bollards can all be used to limit antisocial behavior but can look a little unsightly when compared to natural alternatives.
Moving in the Right Direction
Signage and wayfinding is another relatively cheap method of improving security and safety in a parking facility. People who are lost and distracted make easier targets and so entrances and exits should be well marked. And colors, symbols, and names for floors and aisles can help drivers remember where their vehicle is parked, helping to minimize the amount of the time they spend walking through a facility.
Pave the Way to Success
A floor in a good state of repair is essential aesthetically. Aside from reducing slip and trip hazards and damage to cars, a well-maintained floor shows that a parking facility is cared for. Consider opting for a waterproofed and well-draining floor, in a pale color that will reflect light and help reduce shadow. Bays should also be well marked as well as pedestrian access. Flooring can be costly but done properly, a hardwearing floor can transform a neglected parking garage.
“Sending Out an SOS”
Security systems can seem like a big investment. Of course, there are comprehensive and integrated systems out there, that are very worthwhile, but even little fixes can make a big difference to safety. From gates and doors to CCTV, emergency stations and intercoms there are lots of options to consider, and all will help increase the safety of your facility.
Time for Technology
Keeping your facility up to date with the latest technology can also deter thieves. Consider installing license plate recognition and ticketless solutions to minimize the time drivers spend out of their cars. Or you could upgrade payment machines to cashless alternatives to deter thieves.
By keeping the technology up to date you provide drivers with a seamless experience whilst removing common targets for criminals. And, if adding new technology isn’t an option for you, be sure to remove any broken machines, as these make it clear that a garage isn’t being maintained.
A Brave New World
By taking small measures to improve your facility you can let criminals know that it is monitored, well maintained, and a poor target. Much can be done to transform a neglected facility, but as consumer needs change, parking facilities will need to make changes beyond simple maintenance. Stay tuned to the Parking Network blog as we get to grips with the latest craze hitting the industry: mobility hubs.