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Tips for managing your parking lot.
Let’s face it — sometimes going to the gym isn’t very high on the priority list for everyone, even your members. So when clients make the commitment to show up to your club, one of the last things they want to do is waste time driving aimlessly around a lot looking for a place to park.
As a matter of fact, architecture and interior design professional Bryan Dunkleberger insists that there are two things members desire before they even have the opportunity to set foot inside of a facility.
“When people come to the gym they want two things right away; to park quickly, and to get to the front door quickly,” he said, laughing at the irony of a gym-goer circling a parking lot in search of a space that will minimize his or her walk to the gym.
Dunkleberger, a founding principal of S3 Design located in Braintree, Massachusetts, has over 20 years of professional experience working with a variety of corporate and institutional clients. According to S3 Design’s website, he has also been recognized for his expertise in the design and planning of fitness centers and other sports and recreation facilities.
He said that while clubs cannot altogether overlook the issue of parking, as it is dictated by code, some do make the mistake of trying to cut corners on the matter.
“Sometimes a [S3 Design] client tries to go to the minimal amount of parking,” he said.
Or sometimes a less than ideal parking lot is simply inherited and a disruption in how traffic flows around a space is unavoidable. Dunkleberger made suggestions for those club owners as well.
“If you have a flow issue, you can put in one-way signs. Funnel everybody in one direction,” he said.
The design pro also noted that sometimes a club has a parking lot in both the front and back of the building. In that scenario he suggested that owners should make sure that the bigger of the two lots be in the front of the club, even if that calls for some interior rearranging.
“Avoid dead-end areas,” he added, speaking of places where drivers would be forced to make three- and four-point turns.
Dunkleberger also urged that the parking area be well lit.
“You definitely want your parking lot to feel safe,” he said. “If it doesn’t feel safe, you’ll lose a big chunk of your population.”
And if all else fails, he suggested one sure-fire way to put a smile on every member’s face. “Try to put 1,000 spaces at the front door,” he said with a chuckle.
All jokes aside, Dunkleberger warned that club owners should take the issue of parking very seriously, because once the parking area is established, altering it in any way could be a daunting, and in all likelihood, expensive task.
“Once you’ve built it, you’re kind of stuck with it,” he said.