Having arrived at the destination, the visitor needs to park the car. The design of car
parking has to take several factors into account.
– Cars may be left on the site for some time if visitors go off to hike a trail or do some other activity. Security of the car and its contents from theft, shade in hot weather, and the prevention of accidental damage from other car park users, ensure that the car will be protected until the occupants return. If people feel that their car is safe they will enjoy their experience more.
– Once the more relaxed landscape of the site has been reached, and the attractions of the facility start to divert attention, then car speed and disorientation should be reduced by laying out the car park with simple, easy-to-follow routes.
– Equipment such as bikes, boats, sailboards or other large objects often have to be unloaded. Space is needed around the car in order to get things out of the back or side doors, or off roof-racks, and put onto the ground nearby out of the way of other cars.
– People on the site are likely to be more relaxed, wander around more and be less vigilant, so that there may be some risk of accidents: from reversing vehicles, for example. Small children and pets may be particularly at risk.
– Sites may be used all the year round. Snow and ice, hot dry summers, rainy periods or other extreme climatic conditions may have to be accommodated in the use of materials, their durability and maintenance and the layout of the area with respect to drainage, snow clearance operations, dust and glare.
– The character of the landscape and the concept of contrast with the urban scene will determine how far the layout of the car parking will blend into its surroundings and reinforce the sense of difference. The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum or other planning tool should already have determined this.