Tag Archives: compact

What Does Compact Even Mean?

By John W. Hammerschlag

Often, we drive through parking garages and encounter “Compact Car Only” signs.  What does that mean to the customer? What exactly is a compact car? The definition of compact car is left to interpretation and can result in parking stalls improperly used, impeded traffic flow, and angry customers.

Upon receiving a recent customer complaint at our flagship garage, The Poetry Garage in downtown Chicago, we were challenged to revisit a common problem in parking – oversized vehicles parked in the end stall of a parking bay.  Those parking are generally early risers (often construction workers in their Suburbans or pick-up trucks) who want to park close to the elevators, resulting in very tight turning maneuvers for others circulating in the garage. Traffic flow is hindered, and accidents are known to occur.

We evaluated our “compact car” signage and placement in our facilities and utilized a superior design focusing on a 3-dimensional “small car” eye-catching graphic with specific and clear messaging. Now strategically, visibly, and repetitively placed over each of the end stalls of the parking bays, these signs improve the overall traffic flow in our parking garages.

Along with “gentle” compliance enforcement, not much of which is needed, interpretative creative graphics and precise messaging have made a huge difference in enhancing the customer parking experience.

John Hammerschlag is president of Hammerschlag & Co., Inc. and is a member of IPMI’s Planning, Design, and Construction Committee.