Parking space

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For the 1933 short animated film, see Parking Space (cartoon).
Marked parking spaces
Angled parking spaces

A parking space is a location that is designated for parking, either paved or unpaved.

Parking spaces can be in a parking garage, in a parking lot or on a city street. It is usually a space delineated by road surface markings. The automobile fits inside the space, either by parallel parking, perpendicular parking or angled parking.

Depending on the location of the parking space, there can be regulations regarding the time allowed to park and a fee paid to use the parking space. When the demand for spaces outstrips supply vehicles may overspill park onto the sidewalk, grass verges and other places which were not designed for the purpose.[1]

Marks and space size[edit]

Parking spaces in an American parking lot.

In parking lots, parking is allowed only where marked.[2]

In North America, the width of angled and perpendicular parking spaces usually ranges from 2.3 to 2.75 metres (7.5–9.0 ft). For example, normal parking spaces in the city of Dallas, Texas are 8.5 feet wide, while compact spaces are 7.5 feet wide.[3]

Because the boundary between parking space and driving area is not always well-defined, the length of a parking space is more difficult to establish. However, most angled and perpendicular spaces are considered to be between 3.2 and 5.5 metres (10–18 ft) in length. Though, in the United States, a parking space 10 feet deep is uncommon and most parking spaces will be within 16 feet to 20 feet, with 19 feet deep being the standard DOT recommended depth for standard perpendicular parking.

Parallel parking spaces are typically cited as being approximately 2.76 metres (9.1 ft) wide by 6.1 metres (20 ft) long.

During construction, the specific dimensions of a parking space are decided by a variety of factors. A high cost of land will encourage smaller dimensions and the introduction of compact spaces.[4] Many garages and parking lots have spaces designated for a Compact car only. These spaces are narrower than traditional spaces, thus allowing more cars to park.[5]

Street with spaces marked for parallel parking
Parking lot in Épône railstation (France).

According to French standard “Norme NF P 91-100”, minimum width of parking spaces range from 2.20 to 2.30 metres (7.2–7.5 ft) (See fr:Marquage du stationnement en France). Narrow parking spaces such as in Vevey, Switzerland might make opening the door difficult in a larger vehicle.

Larger cars are an issue when the size of the parking spot is fixed. Automobile associations warn of this issue.[6] A Swiss Association regulating parking space wants to consider this issue for 2016.

In the United Kingdom the recommended standard Parking bay size is 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) wide by 4.8 metres (16 ft) long. Recently there has been some controversy about most UK parking spaces being too small to fit modern cars, which have grown significantly since standards were set decades ago. [7]


Paid bike parking in Shibuya, Tokyo

Parking spaces commonly contain a parking chock (wheel stop), which is used to prevent cars from pulling too far into the space and

  • obstructing a neighboring parking space, curb, or sidewalk.
  • contacting with and then damaging a building wall.

This barrier is usually made of concrete and will normally be a horizontal bar to stop the tires from moving forward or a vertical bar that may cause damage to the vehicle if contact is made. In a parking garage, the barrier will often be a concrete wall.

Parking spaces for the disabled[edit]

An example of a disabled parking place.

Some parking spaces are reserved as handicapped parking, for individuals with disabilities. Handicapped parking spaces are typically marked with the International Symbol of Access, though in practice, the design of the symbol varies widely.[8]

In the United States the Access Board provides guidelines on parking spaces.[9][10]

Women's parking spaces[edit]

In some countries, women's parking spaces have been established in more visible spots to reduce the chance of sexual attacks,[11] facilitate parking for women, or to provide spaces that are closer to shopping centers or employment.[12][13]

US curb markings[edit]

Curb markings in the United States are prescribed by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).[14] Local highway agencies may prescribe special colors for curb markings to supplement standard signs for parking regulation. California has designated an array of colors for curb regulations. A white curb designates passenger pick up or drop off. The green curb is for time limited parking. The yellow curb is for loading, and the blue curb is for disabled persons with proper vehicle identification. The red curb is for emergency vehicles only - fire lanes (no stopping, standing, or parking). In Oregon and Florida, the yellow curb is utilized to indicate no parking. In Georgia either red or yellow can be used to indicate no parking. In Seattle, Washington, alternating red and yellow curb markings indicate a bus stop.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]