From a lot to a lot better: Perceptions of security and attractiveness of design features of two parking lots in the City of Kingston
Parking Lots , Security , Attractiveness , Urban design , Design features
The aim of this study is to determine which factors influence the users in the Frontenac County Court House lot and the Springer Memorial lot; and offer recommendations for improving these lots. Moreover, the study also aims to determine how Surface Parking Design Guidelines (Section 6.3) of the City of Kingston Design Guidelines for Communities (Draft, 2014) can better address designing safe and attractive lots through amendments to their existing guidelines to incorporate first and second generation CPTED principles. The main questions guiding this research are: 1.Which physical features influence the perceptions of security and attractiveness of Court House Parking Lot and Springer Parking Lot?; 2.How do these physical features affect the perceptions of security and attractiveness of both parking lots?; 3.How can the Surface Parking Design Guidelines (Section 6.3) of the City of Kingston Design Guidelines for Communities (Draft, 2014) be expanded as amendments to the existing guidelines?; 4.How can both the Court House and Springer parking lots be improved to reducethe fear of crime? The research involved a review of literature to gain understanding of the topic. The review helped to inform the methodology used to conduct this research. Since this research seeks to determine the opinions of users on parking lots, the methodology used a focus group that consisted of twelve graduate planning students residing in Kingston who had basic skills in physical design, and who could offer insights into design improvements for both parking lots. The focus group was conducted at the School of Urban and Regional Planning that was attended by eleven out of twelve participants. The participants were divided into four teams and the focus group consisted of three rounds. The participants analyzed the photographs of the two parking lots, and reported their opinions on a rating sheet. They also traced design features on the photographs that they found appropriate using a tracing sheet to supplement the rating sheet. The study organizes the findings using an analytic framework; this framework is based on the CPTED strategies for parking lots and the Surface Parking Design Guidelines (Section 6.3) of the City of Kingston Design Guidelines for Communities (Draft, 2014). iv The key themes of Perimeter Controls; Landscaping and Aesthetics; Surveillance; Graphics and Way-finding; Lighting; and Multiple and Mixed-uses formed the broad framework under which the specific elements for each theme addressed the concerns of focus group participants. Information gathered from the review of literature and the results from the focus group helped to inform the recommendations to expand City of Kingston Urban Design Guidelines for Communities (Draft, 2014), recommendations for improving the physical design of Court House and Springer parking lots. This research can benefit the City of Kingston on user perceptions of security and attractiveness that can help guide future developments of surface parking lots. The recommendations on parking lot design will not only result in attractive lots, but also enhance the safety of users. One of the guiding principle of the City of Kingston Design Guidelines for Communities (Draft, 2014) is to “foster attractive communities and a sense of place” (Section 2.1, Page 3). The amendments to the Surface Parking Guidelines (Section 6.3) of the City of Kingston Design Guidelines (Draft, 2014) offer an opportunity to support and integrate this principle into the surface parking design guidelines.