Engineering Carparks for a Greater User Experience

Friday, January 8th, 2016
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Parking continues to be an increasingly contentious issue.

As space diminishes due to dense development in urban environments, so too do the number of user-friendly car park facilities, with much of today’s parking architecture creating highly restrictive conditions for manoeuvring vehicles.

Residential property developers are providing increasingly complex engineering briefs, too, aiming to squeeze car parks and driveways into smaller developments or into trickier sites. The outcome is that narrower and often steeper driveways are being built, some with hazardous inclines that can present serious safety issues which cannot be overlooked.

Steep blocks are more common for single dwellings, yet are a growing feature in developments where land parcels in outer suburban areas are being utilised. When building exposed driveways along cliff faces or other elevated areas, the key issue is the provision of adequate barriers that can withstand the force of larger SUVs pushing through. Although speed is not often a factor, the weight of today’s larger vehicles requires a higher standard of barrier for safety as well as compliance.

Incorporating safety into the design of modern carparks and driveways can be a complicated process to ensure space is equally accessible for both drivers and pedestrians. For residential buildings, consideration must also be given to the multifunctional elements of urban developments. Ideally, new apartment developments should not only offer car parking for residents. The modern car park should also accommodate visitor parking, storage space, bike and scooter parking as well as special bays for washing cars and van parking for online grocery deliveries and removalists. In mixed use buildings, there will also be a requirement for retail and commercial parking zones and related bin areas.

Safety doesn’t have to compromise aesthetics. As vehicle impact safety barriers in residential locations become more commonplace, so too is the demand for more visually appealing solutions that complement residential home environments. Aesthetics can be enhanced by looking at clever customisation solutions, for instance curved driveways, wall finishes and designer anti-climb mesh which can integrate with the building’s overall design and street appeal. New barrier systems on the market disperse with the traditional roadside w-beam which has provided commercial and residential parking facilities less industrial-style options.

Great car park design also thinks about how to minimise driver confusion and frustration. Today we are seeing modern, user-friendly car parks adopting a streamlined internal design that facilitates greater free flowing traffic movement as well as considering pedestrian safety, which must also remain a key consideration. Car parks with too many columns, a tight layout with confusing traffic circulation patterns, blind spots, and poor signage are frustrating for drivers. The increased disorientation can lead to accidents, including vehicle collisions and pedestrian incidents.

While residential carparks become more aesthetically appealing, a parking structure that is pleasing to the eye should never compromise safety.

Cover courtesy of Carpark Compliance Solutions: Palm Beach Driveway 

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