Parking Sizes and Different Types of Parking Lots

Did you know that parking space size is not regulated globally and in fact, there are huge discrepancies between the size of spaces for parking by country, state and even region? There is even more differences in the styles of parking in different parts of the world. In examining this fact, there is no clear way to say that one is better or worse than another.

The only thing which is clear is that there should be more urban planning in almost every area to determine the best way to park, in order to relieve congestion on the roads due to looking for parking and supplying more parking to the growing population of cars on the roads.

Most Common Parking Lots

The above ground, basement, and surface are the three main types of parking lots found today.  The above ground parking refers to parking which need ramp access to open-aired spaces, while the basement parking lots are underground.  Surface parking is probably the most common and simplest parking, just at ground level, no extra excavation or building supports are needed for this type.

Commonalities in Parking

Each type of parking has its own features and attributes.  For the above ground and basement parking, the signage, the driver visibility are of upmost important, as is the structural foundation, beams, columns and slabs; if in areas where earthquakes occur, the parking must have seismic retrofitting (extra materials and techniques which make the parking withstand earthquakes, winds, thunderstorms and other acts of nature.)  The seismic retrofitting is a worldwide requirement today and has been since the 1970’s (see picture on left.)  Underground parking also must be wary of proper ventilation.  While the surface parking lots need to be designed with other aspects of importance, such as good drainage.

Parking Space Size

Parking space sizes vary.  Although there are typical measurements for parking spaces, seems as though whether they are really used can be debated.  Speaking in typical terms (for USA,) a compact parking space is 25 square meters (270 sq ft), while the average space is about 30 square meters (320 sq ft).  This size includes the landscaping and the room to get into and out of your car.
While handicapped parking spaces worldwide are much bigger, for obvious reasons.  Even with the typical size, seems there are many discrepancies, for example, in San Francisco, average parking spot size is 8 x 22 feet = 176 sq ft. according to one blog, while another blog claims that MTA estimates that each metered space is 8×20 feet. In New York, each unmetered space is 8×18, which is even smaller than both the typical, average size and the size of those in San Francisco.  European and other countries have even smaller spots, sometimes the spots are so close together that the cars are forces to hit each other’s door upon entry or exit of the vehicle.

Parking Spaces Improvements

In learning about parking lots, different types and parking spaces, the one clear thing is that more research must be done so that cars are not damaged and there is enough room to get in and out of cars easily, while at the same time, not wasting valuable space.  They safety issues have been handled well, especially for natural disasters, now the details need to be investigated a bit more also.