Friday, February 18, 2011

Designing Parking Facilities: There's More to It Than Concrete Slabs

"Parking Basics & Green Strategies" (.pdf)
Ed Rahme, AIA, LEED AP,, via New York (state) Parking Association

"Fundamentals of Parking
"Parking Garage Basics & Green Strategies...

"...Learning Objectives

"Presentation Structure:
• Part I: Size of the Parking Space
• Part II: Circulation: Width of the Traffic Aisle & End Turning Bays
• Part III: Vertical Circulation: Parking & Speed Ramps
• Part IV: Circulation Systems: Single and Double Helix
• Part V: Vehicular Entry and Exit Lanes
• Part VI: Parking Efficiency
• Part VII: Structural Systems
• Part VIII: Concrete Durability
• Part IX: Code Provisions
• Part X: Accessibility
• Part XI: Security
• Part XII: Lighting
• Part XIII: Elevators
• Part XV: Sustainability
• Part XVI: References....

This is a .pdf/Acrobat file - but it looks to the Lemming as if it was converted from something like a PowerPoint presentation.

If you've ever wondered just how wide and long a parking space should be, how much headroom there should be in parking ramps, or how the turning radius of a Toyota Sequoia compares to that of the AASHTO Passenger Car (P) Design Vehicle - this should be a very useful resource.

Some of what's here seems to be specific to New York State building codes - but there's quite a bit that's applicable for most parking lot/garage designs. Or, in the case of why salt is bad for concrete, applicable in places where winters involve ice or snow.

Some of the "sustainability" and "green" stuff is surprisingly practical: plantings on the roof to keep the upper deck cooler (sunlit plants are cooler than sunlit concrete); filtering and recycling storm water; that sort of thing.

Then there's the nifty idea of giving priority to those cute little toy cars with almost enough room inside for the driver. They're probably practical for getting around inside a convention center, or for driving a block or two: provided you don't have to carry much along.

The Lemming lives in central Minnesota. Never mind how energy-efficient those little mini-micro-bitty junior cars are: During winters here, it would hardly be worthwhile searching for one of those things after each snowfall.

What's the Big Deal With Parking Garages?

Folks in America, and a fair number of other places around the world, use powered vehicles to get around. Back in the 'good old days,' when horsepower could be calculated by counting the number of horses attached to a cart, folks didn't have to worry about exhaust fumes.

Manure in the street and the occasional dead horse? That they had to be concerned with. And, unlike exhaust, that stuff didn't just drift away on its own.

Which is another reason why the Lemming doesn't miss the 'good old days' all that much.

Since we use cars in this country, we need some place to put them when they're not carrying us and groceries - or whatever - around. Here in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the population density is low enough for us to get by with a parking lane on most streets, and a few parking lots.

In a place like, say, San Francisco, or Albany, new York, that won't work. Now in the more heavily-built-up parts, anyway.

Which is where parking garages come in. Happily, folks have caught on that parking garages don't have to be bug-ugly eyesores - and that the things should be designed with safety and health in mind.

Change, as the Lemming has opined before, happens. And sometimes it's for the better.

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