4 Parking Security Essentials

Parking security essentials can increase safety, reduce crime, and protect your assets


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    To account for high traffic levels during the evening, lighting is a key focus for the Wave Mixed-Use Parking Facility in Atlantic City, NJ. Plentiful fixtures, an open design, and light paint colors create good visibility and a clean appearance for this 1,180-space structure that serves a variety of area businesses.
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    To handle the volume of pedestrians and traffic, careful attention was paid to signage and clearly marked driving lanes at the Red Rose Transit Authority Queen Street Parking Structure in Lancaster, PA. The garage provides close to 400 parking spaces and user incentives for nearby bus, trolley, and Amtrak lines.
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    What kind of access control does your parking use? Credentials are an effective measure to ensure that those in your garage or lot have pre-approval. The same methods you use inside your facility can be translated to parking users, such as ID and smart cards or issued passes. Public parking areas can also use sticker tags, payment options, or valet services to control access.
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Improve Access Control
Access control in parking areas addresses two goals – the safe and efficient flow of vehicle traffic and generating a record of parking users.

An open lot may use passive security measures like fences, bollards, and landscaping barriers to outline the parking area and direct users to the proper entrances.

Parking can also benefit from credentials, such as smart and proximity cards, ID badges, issued passes, or window and sticker tags.

Credentials create a pre-approval system, making your garage or lot another checkpoint before people enter your building. Pair them with barriers such as gates and raised arms for added traffic management.

Clearly marked parking spots, crosswalks, and lanes will also safely move people in and out of parking. If there is confusion about where people should be walking or driving, accidents are more likely to occur.

“Good wayfinding signage is also key,” stresses Harkins. “You want people to find their vehicles as efficiently as possible so they’re not wandering around or less aware of their surroundings because they are distracted.”

Justify the Expense
Whether you can use value engineering during the design phase of a parking project to minimize security vulnerabilities or you need to improve your existing parking area, don’t put off security measures.

Because parking doesn’t demand the attention of facility managers like their energy bills or sustainability program, it’s easy for plans to be shelved and maintenance ignored. But if you can’t ensure users’ safety, it’s time to invest in your parking assets.

Don’t forget that while your parking area serves as an amenity for occupants and guests, someone could leverage your asset into a weapon.

The soft costs associated with a major security breach – a negligence lawsuit, a tarnished company reputation, or lost business – can create lasting damage your company may not be able to sustain.

And no building owner wants to be faced with crunching real numbers if an aggressive attack, such as a vehicle bomb, takes place on their property.

“Your return on investment comes into play when you don’t spend more than is originally required to provide a safe environment for your employees, customers, and visitors,” says Robinson. “Ask yourself – if these security options cost me this much today, how much would it cost me if an event compromises my facility? Do I want to become an example of what not to do?”


Jennie Morton jennie.morton@buildings.com is associate editor for BUILDINGS.



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