Parking lot improvements can make a big difference for the customer experience and curb appeal of your restaurant business. Every parking lot poses a risk for cars, pedestrians and property, as customers and employees can be involved in accidents and cause damage.
Improperly maintained parking lots may pose an increased risk for your business. However, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of parking lot improvements and proceed with care when making improvements.
Parking Lot Improvement Risks
Businesses may face complaints, injured parties or damages to property as a result of the state of your parking lot or improvements that don’t meet accessibility requirements.
- Complaints can arise for several reasons. Lots that are poorly maintained may elicit complaints. A lack of designated parking spaces for employees, customers and those with handicap accessibility needs may lead to a complaint.
- Injuries can result in parking lots with inadequate stop and yield signage that does not protect the right-of-way for cars and pedestrians. A lack of speed limit markers, reserved parking and van-accessible spaces can also result in injuries.
- Damages can occur due to poor lot design. Without large aisles for cars to maneuver through, and spots that allow drivers to pull in and back out easily, damage is more likely. In lots without parking wheel-stop barriers along the front of spots, the risk of damage to landscaping or buildings is greater.
The risks of complaints and liability for injuries and damages can be reduced by protecting your business with the proper insurance and making smart improvements to the lot. Review your parking lot’s accessibility and structure to see where you can make adjustments to reduce the risk and make your business safer and more welcoming.
Parking Lot Improvement Benefits
Improving parking lot design and accessibility has many benefits, including:
- Better experience for customers and guests
- Improved neighborhood curb appeal
- Less risk of an ADA accessibility complaint or claim
- Decreased risk of pedestrian trip, slip and fall accidents
- Lower risk to pedestrians and vehicles traveling through the lot
- Less risk of damage to buildings, landscaping and property
When making parking lot improvements, consult the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which was last updated in 2010. Follow the requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act for parking lots and access to public facilities. Key standards include:
- Lots must have at least the required minimum number of accessible parking spaces, which varies depending on the total number of parking spaces in the lot. For a facility with 1 to 25 spots, at least one must be accessible to cars and vans. Larger lots require more spaces.
- Van-accessible spaces are required to offer a spot and access aisle that are each 8 feet wide with vertical clearance of 8 feet.
- Accessible parking spaces must meet the minimum signage and pavement markings required to identify them.
- Accessible spots must have no more than a 2 percent pavement slope in any direction.
- Parking lots undergoing any planned alteration should plan to bring the lot into compliance with the latest regulation.
Parking lot improvements that increase safety and enable accessibility can lower the risk your business faces. Prevent claims by improving safety and accessibility by maintaining and improving your parking lot.