Parking lots are a commonly used and important aspect of driving. Many parking areas use LED lights to enhance visibility, they may also employ the use of guards and video cameras to ensure a safe area. Whether it is a covered lot or garage, these areas are convenient and ubiquitous in most cities and towns. Here are some popular key terms regarding parking areas.
Boom Gate – This is a bar that is a barrier between vehicle parking lots and garages. It is usually counterweighted so that it can be lifted if necessary. Usually this device is mechanical, and lifts when the operator of the vehicle pays money. Gates are affixed with reflective lights to help drivers maneuver to the the exit.
Meters – This is a mechanism that collects money in exchange for the right to have the vehicle in a specific spot.
Permit – This is an item, like a ticket, that allows an individual to park in a specified area. Businesses, schools, hospitals, airports and other private areas use these so they can distinguish who is allowed to park in a specified area. You may also find these in certain city areas that are extremely congested. Generally, city passes are for residents of that area only.
Valet – This is a service provided by some businesses. Customers’ vehicles are parked by an individual that works for the business. Certain restaurants, airports and hotels offer this service for free, while others may charge a fee. These professionals can usually get automobiles closer together and straighter than if the driver did it himself. Many vehicles have a special key called a valet key that allows these professionals to park the vehicle but not lock or unlock the car.
Parking lots are spaces built or created for the storage of cars or other vehicles of private transportation. Individual spaces are generally marked by lines and vary in size based on the nature of the vehicle or vehicles they are designed to fit. These lines are often angled to allow for easier, wider turns into the allotted spots. The overwhelming majority of parking spots are reserved for cars, but in lots at larger venues such as stadiums and airports, longer lines indicate spaces in which use is restricted to buses or limos. Many lots have reserved handicapped spaces that require permits, and lot security/law enforcement is quick to ticket violations. The most common parking lot is paved with either asphalt or concrete and has the striping pattern of lines, but by definition as a structure for parking, a lot can take multiple forms. It may be a garage, in which there are multiple levels available for parking. Some garages, particularly those within the confines of a city, use mechanical lifts to essentially stack cars on top of one another. In terms of payment, logistics vary as much as lot aesthetics, but typically one is granted entrance without much planning – by either buying a permit for a scheduled amount of time, or by simply driving up to the entrance. Some lots have what are known as boom gates, which control the lifting and dropping of a barrier via a person or a machine. Some offer valet service, where a car is parked by attendants, and issue a ticket to identify the car later on. Others have meters that are paid individually, similar to street parking. In short, at the airport or city center, by valet or meter, parking lots can make traveling in the public domain cheaper and more convenient.