Hollywood loves to portray cars hurtling down garage ramps and across parking decks as bystanders dive out of the way. Or to use a parking garage as the scary setting in which an attacker kills an unsuspecting and helpless victim as he returns to his car. If your perception of parking structures is based on what you see on TV and in the movies, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that these are deadly buildings where disaster is just around the corner.
Of course, the reality isn’t quite so grim—or at least it doesn’t have to be. There is nothing inherently unsafe about parking facilities. Yet there are thousands of parking structures throughout the United States that pose serious safety hazards because they weren’t designed with safety in mind. All too often, parking areas have been treated as an afterthought by building owners and designers, and security has suffered as a result.
There are two primary safety threats in a parking structure: crime and vehicles hitting pedestrians. Designers can reduce both threats through careful planning in the design phase that focuses on key aspects: design, lighting, access control, CCTV, and audio monitoring.