Vehicle management

Most car parks require some form of vehicle management signing, particularly the larger ones. Drivers need to be informed if one-way systems operate, when rights of way vary, and where special areas for coaches, trailer-towing vehicles and people with disabilities are designated. As the general rule is to keep signs to an absolute minimum, the site layout should be analysed at the design stage in terms of the driver’s requirements, and a schedule of signs should be proposed showing their positions and messages. Siting of signs should ensure that they will not be obscured by other vehicles.

The signs should use standard symbols in standard colours so far as possible. Where text is necessary it should be expressed in positive terms (‘Please do not park along the road edges’). As the scale of the landscape and road areas is usually smaller and the speed of vehicles slower, the signs can be smaller than those needed on public highways. Sign structures should be as unobtrusive as possible, being of a simple yet robust construction and materials. Slabs of wood or stone set vertically into the ground and routed or sandblasted with the symbol, which is painted in the appropriate colour, are one type. Plastic, wood or metal symbols fixed to wood or stone are another.

Low-level signs will work in car-only areas, but signs may need to be taller where higher vehicles such as coaches use the site. Vegetation should be kept trimmed around signs, and damaged signs should be quickly repaired or replaced.

Marking of parking spaces should not be necessary unless long ones are needed, or pull-through spaces in an area car park are provided. Surface markings are not easy to provide in car parks with unsealed surfaces, but stone setts, can be used if required. Horizontal barriers can also be used as indicators. In some area layouts, marking may be unnecessary if people follow the habit of parking around the edges first and then using the middle area. Car parks with sealed surfaces can be marked with white or yellow lines, but these appear urban and should be avoided if possible, especially if continuous lines are used. Pull-through spaces can be signalled by island beds of trees or shrubs, which help to direct traffic flows.

Vehicle management

Wooden fences can be used as barriers: (a) A simple post-and-rail construction works well. (b) This version is mortised for a stronger finish. This is a traditional form of construction in some places. (c) The zigzag fence is a traditional type in North America. (d) A vertical board-on-board fence makes a visual screen, perhaps more appropriate in urban fringe areas.