How to Create a Parking Lot Plan

How to Create a Parking Lot Plan

Offering well thought out and effective parking arrangements are vital aspects of the overall transportation infrastructure of any country. 

Parking structures affect the overall visual appeal of a destination and, as a result, the amount of foot traffic. Poor parking can be disruptive to the flow of commerce, and ultimately, good governance.

By providing well-constructed parking lots, businesses manage can elevate their reputation and customer experience. This is because their employees and customers don’t have to worry about poorly designed parking areas. 

While several features must be considered before building a parking lot, such as size, location, layout, etc., it’s not too tough a task if you plan properly. At My Site Plan, we’re experienced with creating site plans for residential and commercial projects, including parking lots. Here’s what goes into creating an effective parking lot plan.

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Steps for Creating a Parking Lot Plan

If you’re looking to design an efficient parking plan, here are the necessary steps to follow:

1. Determine the Purpose of Your Plot Plan

The design of your parking lot depends on why you’re creating the parking lot in the first place. For example, it might be for a storage facility where huge trucks carry big shipments, or perhaps a clothing store where shoppers need to park their vehicles, and so on.

The purpose of your lot influences details like

  • Size
  • Pavement thickness
  • Space angles

Here’s how various purposes mold the design of a parking lot:


Alt Text: a very full parking lot

  • Size: There are certain industries and establishments that take code requirements into account for parking. The square footage of the building or facility is calculated to determine how much space is needed. Some sectors rely on a calculation of the number of seats or rooms, such as for hotels and movie theaters. 

The recommended amount of space will also depend on the kind of corporation you’re running. A university, for example, will evidently require a greater number of seats than a bookstore or a restaurant. 

  • Pavement Thickness: The thickness of the pavement is yet another feature that will vary from one parking lot to another. It can be calculated based on the weight that a given bitumen or asphalt will carry on a day-to-day basis. 

For instance, if the parking lot is supposed to hold heavy trucks, the height of each parking level will need to be taller and the pavement will need to be thicker.

Combining the criteria of the soil quality used below the pavement and the subgrade soil class helps you decipher how thick your pavement should be so as to reach its maximum durability potential. 

alt Text: A parking lot with diagonal rows

  • Space Angles: Aligning your parking lot with your driving aisle is something you should keep in mind when making the parking plan. This is where the importance of space angles comes into being.

If it’s a parking lot with a high rate of turnover, such as that for a convenience store, an angle of 45 to 60 degrees should work. Employee parking or overnight parking, on the other hand, needs to have an angle of ninety degrees for the parking plan to work. 

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2. Calculate the Space and Size

Based on the city, the type of building, and industry, the standards of a parking lot’s dimensions can vary quite a lot. However, certain factors can aid you in calculating the coverage area of your pavement. 

The very first thing you need to figure out is the number of spaces you will require. For this, you’ll have to look up the amount of parking spaces either recommended by your industry, or check the ones implemented by the requirements of the building code.

Once you’ve figured out the number of spaces that will be required for your parking plan, you can then calculate the other parking lot necessities as well, such as two-way barrier gates or so, which can also take up quite a lot of space. 

Alt text: a large stadium parking lot full of cars

When trying to decide the size of the parking lot, you have to take into consideration how each space will be utilized. The standard size for public parking spaces is usually 9x19. 

Not every single space will have the same size dimensions, though, as certain parking spots are often reserved for specific reasons, like providing access to the disabled.

You need to remember that the parking lot you create has to be accessible to everyone out there. This includes accounting for ramps, walkways, parking spaces for handicaps, etc. In such a case, you will also need to include space for extra parking barriers and more room for aisles between the spaces in your design.

If the site plan you’re designing requires extra space, those deserve separate considerations. These include situations if your parking lot has a zone for loading trucks or a drive-through lane for the shoppers or customers. A school parking lot, for instance, will require more space for buses to park in, and also for drop-offs.

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3. Design Guidelines for Parking Layout

Some of the best kinds of parking lots get that title because of how well-optimized and safe their designs are. A lot of factors need to be considered for this; factors that go beyond creating the required amount of space directing traffic properly, and making sure to think about pedestrian traffic as well.


Space is definitely one of the most important constituents of a stellar parking lot. A 90-degree angle space is often considered the best option to go for. Having a rectangular-shaped parking lot is much better than an irregular design. 

Long sides that run parallel to one another in a parking lot, containing parking spaces situated along their perimeter is a go-to recommendation for many site plans. 


Alt Text: a Parking sign posted on a brick wall

The next thing to check off your parking lot plan list are useful and lawful signs in order to keep the pedestrians and the right-of-way vehicles safe. 

Some of these signs include pedestrians crossing, the stop and yield signs, speed limit markers, and so on. While placing these signs, make sure they are in line with the design flow for both the citizens as well as the drivers.


Wheel Stop Barriers

To ensure that every vehicle is parked safely within the allotted spaces, it’s best to place wheel stop barriers along the parking slot’s front end. These barriers are helpful in stopping the cars from causing any damage to the landscape or the buildings situated right beside the parking lot.


Perimeter Curbs

Perimeter curbs can also be designed around the parking lot, if your space permits it.

While appropriate stripes for parking lots are essential, equally necessary are safety markings that facilitate better traffic flow. 

These markings should be painted on the pavement of your parking lot. The markings help the drivers and citizens identify as to where the access aisles lead to, and also which of the slots are meant for the handicaps. 

You can also choose to paint them in stripes to give a sign of pedestrian zones along the pavement. Make sure that these markings are vivid and clearly visible. Painting them with traffic paint that’s waterborne and quick-to-dry is a good idea.

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4. Security Details for Parking Plans

The flow of traffic is definitely one of the most pertinent features to keep in mind when designing your parking lot. However, other elements need to be remembered as well in order to make sure that your parking lot has top-notch security provisions.



Alt Text: a parking structure with LED lights

The lighting inside a parking lot determines its safety. Therefore, light fixtures that provide proper coverage should be implemented. In addition to providing satisfactory vision that allows for comfortable driving, it should also not have any glare emanating from any side. 

This is so that the areas and buildings near the property are still properly visible. The sections of the parking lot that have heavier traffic, such as the exits and entrances and loading zones, should be provided with even better lighting.



The asphalt in your parking lot should be designed in a manner so that the draining system is within control. This entails the pavement stopping the moisture from sweeping in and damaging the soil underneath. 

Design catch basins along with inlets so as to keep standing water away from the asphalt. These draining provisions should be constructed in the very initial stages of the parking plan design. Keep the slope at a minimum of 2%, so that water doesn’t accumulate on the edges of the pavement. 



The details of your parking lot must jot down the changes in elevation levels as well, and actions must be taken accordingly to notify anyone who accesses the lot, so that they can stay away from risking and harming themselves accidentally. 



Source Alt text: a dramatically lit parking lot ramp

One feature to install in this regard, for example, are ramps. These ramps can lead from the pedestrian access to the parking lot, and then to the access aisles of the shared handicapped zone. The design of the perimeter curb can also include ramps that go from the pavement to the elevated sidewalks

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Creating a detailed parking lot plan will make construction easier, alleviate parking lot traffic, and make it safer for pedestrians. For more information on how to create other types of plot plans visit MySitePlan. MySitePlan offers residential, and commercial site plans for your backyard, or office space. 

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  • Annie Rosellini