Why Utilize a Parking Expert Throughout the Parking Lifecycle?


Why Utilize a Parking Expert Throughout the Parking Lifecycle?

An investment in a parking facility doesn’t begin when the celebratory shovel turns the first pile of dirt, nor does it end when the first users enter the structure. The parking lifecycle begins at the earliest planning stages, whether expanding a campus, designing an entirely new development, or redeveloping an existing area. Once the facility has been designed, constructed and opened, proper care and maintenance can significantly improve the user experience, extend its life and reduce future retrofit and repair costs.

Parking experts understand the unique challenges parking poses, and are uniquely qualified to navigate them.

Parking experts who understand the full parking lifecycle can not only help owners integrate parking more effectively, but also make the most out of that investment. 

Early Master Planning & Studies

Parking is often a key driver in determining the success and size of a larger project. Standalone parking should fit within the context of its environment, while mixed-use parking and parking as a component of other buildings should be well-integrated into the overall project. A parking expert can help you answer a number of valuable questions early in the process that can dramatically affect design, including:

How much parking is needed? Supply and demand studies can help determine how much parking is needed to support your projects. When integrating parking into mixed-use projects, shared parking studies can help ensure adequate parking is provided without overbuilding. 

Where should parking be located? Early master planning and feasibility studies aid owners in determining the location, size and impact of structured parking. From site constraints to circulation patterns and effect on surrounding land use, parking experts can guide you through the process to ensure your parking is well-integrated into the final design.

How much will it cost? Budget is a critical factor when planning for structured parking, and parking experts have an in-depth understanding of the critical elements that affect the construction cost of a parking structure.

Parking Design 

Parking often provides the first impression a person has when they arrive at a destination. Therefore, creating a first impression that enhances the user experience should be a primary goal of parking design. Parking experts understand the unique challenges parking poses, and are uniquely qualified to navigate them, including: 

Sustainable Design: Per the USGBC, stand-alone parking structures are not eligible for LEED certification. However, Parksmart is a USGBC rating system designed specifically for parking structures. Parksmart Certified parking experts can assist you in designing to Parksmart or Parksmart equivalent goals and guide you through the certification process. 

Electric Vehicle Charging: Electric vehicle sales are at an all-time high and continuing to gain popularity, which in turn increases the demand for charging infrastructure. From meeting current code guidelines, to understanding the different types of charging stations, to managing electrical load and efficiency, parking experts understand the current challenges posed by EV charging technology and can help you navigate them.

Mechanical & Automated Parking: In an increasing number of urban areas, site constraints such as limited footprints, height restrictions, the cost of subterranean excavations, etc. can make mechanical and automated parking solutions a more cost effective design alternative. 

Ongoing Maintenance

Protecting your parking investment with proper care and maintenance not only extends a parking facility’s lifespan and reduces future retrofit and repair costs, but also ensures the user experience continues to provide that valuable positive first impression. Parking experts can help you develop both short and long term plans for maximizing the lifespan of your parking structure. 

Ongoing Maintenance Plan: While much can be done during the initial design to enhance the durability of concrete structures and minimize maintenance, parking facilities require regular upkeep to maximize their lifespan. A parking expert can assist in developing an ongoing maintenance plan that includes routine sweeping, pressure washing and regular visual inspections by a facility manager, which can pay long-term dividends by keeping the structure friendly and pleasing to users, as well as identifying potential issues before they require more extensive repairs.

Capital Improvement Plans: In addition to establishing a detailed cleaning and regular maintenance plan with daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual tasks, a parking expert can work with you to develop a Capital Improvement Plan to protect your parking investment. An important part of this plan is regular condition assessments starting when the structure is 5-10 years old. In addition to identifying any structural issues that could affect a facility’s lifespan, condition assessments can also identify safety concerns that may impact users.

Parking is a significant investment. Therefore, whether designing for an office or healthcare campus, mixed-use development, higher education, municipal downtown or multi-modal hub, utilizing a parking expert throughout the parking lifecycle of early planning, design and construction and ongoing maintenance can help you get the most out of it. 

Taylor Kim, AIA, is Senior Project Manager, Watry Design, Inc. He can be reached at tkim@watrydesign.com

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Taylor Kim
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