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Parking Lots

B. Deer

Whether you go to the mall, zoo, supermarket, or doctor’s office, you’ll need to park somewhere. And that might very well be a parking lot. What makes a good one?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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Photo: Shutterstock

Q : Where do dogs park their cars?

A: In a barking lot!

Seriously though, parking is a huge part of life for those traveling in cars. Whether you go to the mall, zoo, supermarket, or doctor’s office, your mother, father, or taxi driver will need to park a four-wheeled vehicle somewhere. And that might very well be a parking lot. What makes a good parking lot and how is it built?

Six Steps to Successful Parking Lots

Ideally, parking lots shouldn’t be too memorable. When a parking lot is a topic of discussion, it usually means there’s a problem — spaces are too narrow, potholes, or not enough room to maneuver. If businesses followed these six steps, parking lots would be a lot more user-friendly. 1.

1. Plan Well. The better the planning, the more potential for the project. Way before any machine arrives or any cement pouring is done, the lot size is measured and professionals spend quite a bit of time designing the lot — the look, driving areas, parking areas, safety features, number of parking spaces, handicapped spots, and more. 2.

2. Dig Deep. The lot area must be totally dug up to remove all types of potential hazards, such as tree stumps and roots, stones, garbage, old pavement, and even tough soil. 3.

3. Build a Base. About 80 to 90 percent of the strength of the parking lot is provided by the aggregate base. Aggregate means a whole bunch of separate particles mixed together to form a mass. The parking lot aggregate usually is a mixture of crushed rock and sand. Then come the huge roller trucks to make sure it’s super compact and level (flat) without any dents or bubbles. 4.

4. Drain the Rain. No one likes puddles in parking lots, and certainly not ice patches.

 

The pavement should be slightly sloped — obviously in the right direction — and should include some catch basins for the water to flow into. The planning for this should have happened already in Step 1. 5.

5. Pave and Save. Out come those huge trucks full of asphalt, and the dumping begins. Pouring and smoothing, pouring and smoothing, pouring and smoothing — until the lot is totally level. Be careful, it gets quite hot there! 6.

6. Strip and Paint. Now it’s time for the artists to come out of hiding and draw those lines. Ever wondered how they are done so neatly? There are all kinds of machines that make it pretty easy to draw the lines — from machines pushed around by a person walking on foot, to a machine driven like a bicycle, to a mini-truck. And those more pictorial designs — like those of a handicapped spot or words such as “fire lane” or “right turn only”? These are made combining the use of a machine with that of stencils. Yup, like the ones you use to make projects, just a bit bigger and more durable.

White paint is used to designate all parking areas. Yellow paint for no parking and danger areas. Blue paint is used for handicapped spots. (excerpted)

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