Furnishing Zoning: Spaces, Materials, Fit-Out

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The planner is concerned primarily with the shopper and his her trip to the shopping center only after the shopper is driving on the road and up to the time that he enters one of the stores in the center. After that, we leave him to the world of stretchable hose and non-stretchable budgets. The planner is most concerned with four stages of the shopper's trip — the road he travels to get to the center,the point at which he leaves this road and enters the center, the search for an unoccupied parking space, and the walk to the stores.

Shopping center developers, as shown in the earlier reports, must consider many facts which are not strictly within city planning jurisdiction, such as the trade potential of the area surrounding the shopping center, and the types of stores that should be located in a particular shopping center. As final plans for the shopping center begin to emerge, showing the size and layout of the stores, parking area, and service areas, the planner becomes vitally concerned. In fact, we believe there is enough information available on the principles and practices of shopping center development for the planner to be concerned about possible zone locations for shopping centers even before a shopping center is proposed for his area.

This report tries, therefore, to cover the stages of the shopper's progress that concern the planner and indicate the difficulties encountered along the way. Thirty minutes driving time is currently the accepted limit of the market area of a major regional shopping center, which might serve up to , people. The area enclosed within the thirty-minute driving time has to be calculated according to the condition and congestion of the streets and is not always in direct ratio to linear distance. Five miles of expressway may be traversed more quickly than five blocks of crowded business section.

Shopping center developers recommend traffic counts of the major streets serving the center, not so much as an indication of the business potentiality, but as a check on the congestion already existing and an aid in predicting the traffic situation after the center is opened. As a matter of self-preservation, developers and architects recommend further studies, including the future road-construction programs in the area, and future housing developments and population movements in the area, so that other effects on business and traffic may be determined. Once the gross annual volume of business of the center has been estimated, the average number of cars using the center daily may be estimated.

Also the peak traffic, in and out, may be estimated, and the time of day at which peak loads will occur may be determined see below: Stage Two.

To the normal present and future traffic loads of the roads serving the center must be added the traffic generated by the center, and the totals must be compared with the capacity of the roads. If the roads do not have the extra capacity to handle the future traffic loads, new road construction should be in the offing, or the center should be located elsewhere. If possible, the site selected for a new shopping center should be adequately serviced by existing public roads. Crowded highway intersections have long been considered good commercial locations, but the problem of access to the shopping development is receiving much fuller consideration in modern shopping center planning.

The key to the access problem is not the volume of traffic passing the center, but the density. As traffic surveys have often shown, the total number of cars passing a given point on a road the volume eventually drops as the density gets close to the saturation point. The reason for this relationship is simple. The closer the cars are packed together, the slower they must go. In such dense traffic, as might be said to characterize the rush hour traffic of some Los Angeles freeways or the Chicago Outer Drive, tie-ups and delays are also more frequent, and more costly in terms of highway efficiency.

The roads having highest volumes are those on which the cars are spaced further apart and travel at higher speeds with relative safety. Both the high-density and high-volume roads offer problems of access to the shopping center. On the high-density, fairly slow-moving road, it will be difficult for drivers to maneuver into position to turn off. On high speed roads, ample warning must be given the driver that he is approaching an exit, and the exits into the center must be designed with safety features that take the higher speeds into account. Few shopping centers will be served by high-speed, limited-access roads.

Shopping centers being constructed in developing areas will be served by an existing road network which may not be adequate to handle the traffic that will arise when the shopping center is completed and the area is built-up. The points of access from the roads to the shopping center should be adequate to accommodate traffic at the busiest hours of the center. Victor Gruen, architect and designer of shopping centers in "Traffic Impact of the Regional Shopping Center," see biblio estimates that an exit or entrance with continuous flow can handle up to cars per hour.

The peak load of a shopping center can be estimated on the basis of the annual gross income of the center. The problem is three-fold: first, to determine the largest single-day gross business; second, on the basis of the average purchase per car to determine how many cars will be in and out of the center on that day; and third, to estimate the number of cars that will enter and leave the center during the busiest hours of that day. Gruen estimates that a large regional shopping center may expect a peak volume at the rate of 3, cars per hour. In such a case, it would seem that four exits are needed to discharge the 3, vehicles.

Parking is the prime convenience advantage of the shopping center over the central business district. In spite of the repetitive statement of this fact, the shopper may not always find the parking space he wants. The shopper wants a space he can find easily, with a minimum of difficulty in moving around the parking area, and one that is located near the store or store group in which he is going to shop.

The fault is sometimes with the developers who have underestimated the need for parking space or found the land too valuable to be devoted to parking. Sometimes there are too few parking spaces simply because there are too many people with cars looking for them. Leaving the center, he must go through approximately the same steps in reverse, including finding his car which occasionally seems more difficult than it was to find the space originally.

Finding the space.

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Whether the customer finds a space at all depends on the amount of parking space originally provided. The quantity of space is discussed below. Otherwise, the key factors in moving cars around the parkinglot are the lay-out and width of the aisles between the rows of parked cars, especially near the most attractive stores, the department store s , the supermarket s , and the drug store s.

How wide the aisles should be depends mostly on whether they will be one-way or two-way. A survey made by the Eno Foundation Parking Lot Operation , showed that the aisle widths of eight parking lots with one-way aisles averaged 14 feet, and ranged from 7. The low figure of 7. For two-way aisles, the width in about twenty parking lots averaged If the customers park their own cars, as happens at nearly all shopping centers, then the aisles should not be so narrow as to make the task difficult, nor so narrow that one car being parked will temporarily tie up traffic in the aisle.

For one way aisles, width should be at least 10 feet; for two way aisles, about 20 feet. Getting the car into the space: Basically, we are assuming that most parking lots are laid out pretty much in the same way. For instance, the spaces and the aisles may be laid out this way:.

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The narrower aisles a are the pedestrian walkways sometimes provided, and the wider aisle b between rows of spaces is the aisle for maneuvering the cars. The lay-out may be varied for several types of angle parking, thus:. The total parking lot area per car space including aisles affects the customer in terms of his difficulty or lack of difficulty in getting into a parking space.

The Eno study showed that, for head-in, 90 degree parking, the lots studied averaged square feet per car, with a minimum of square feet and a maximum of square feet.

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Now square feet per car is considered too small an area for shopping center lots, and is a more commonly accepted figure. Baker and Funaro in Shopping Centers: Design and Operation state that feet is the minimum that can be considered satisfactory.

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Whatever figure is taken, not more than square feet need be devoted to the space itself. Baker and Funaro recommend a space 9 by 18 feet, and one 10 by 20 feet should be ample. The rest of the area square feet per car by their standards will be used up in aisles, exits and entrances, and landscaping. No land will be saved by making spaces less than 9 feet wide. Since cars are about 7 feet wide, a smaller space will encourage straddling the dividing lines, and the result will be even fewer usable spaces than if they were 9- or feet wide. Walking from the space to the stores: Once the shopper has safely gotten his car into the best available space, he has only to walk to the stores.

We have been assuming that parking would be laid out around the outside of the store group, with the interior mall reserved for pedestrian movement. See Figures 5—11 below for design of the parking areas in relation to the possible types of store grouping. Some parking lots have concrete sidewalks between the rows of parked cars aisles marked "a" in figures 1, 2, and 3. If they are installed, they should be at least 7 feet wide to allow for the overhang of the front ends of the cars, and to allow room for two people carrying packages to pass each other without difficulty.

The Parkington Shopping Center, which is served by a five-story self-parking structure in the interior of the store grouping, is able to boast that no shopper need walk more than feet from his parked car without being under some cover. Covered walkways for shoppers can be an important feature, especially where the parking is spread out considerably, and the weather often inclement. Multi-story parking garages, because of the relatively high cost per parking space, are not usually recommended by shopping center developers, except where the amount of land is limited and its cost per square foot is high.

For shopping center purposes, it is almost necessary that the structure be a self-service parking garage, and this fact raises some problems of design in a multi-level garage, particularly in the size of the spaces and aisles on each floor, and the width and design of the ramps leading to the floors.

The Parkington self-parking structure has separate ramps leading directly from each floor to the ground. The quantity of parking space is measured in two ways. The older method is to compare the total area devoted to parking with the net retail area of the stores. Thus, if 50, square feet of floor space is devoted to retailing, and , square feet to parking area, we would say the ratio is A more recently used measure is to compute the number ofparking spaces per 1, square feet of store space.

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If we assume that each space takes up a total of square feet of parking lot area including aisles, landscaping, etc. By the old method, a ratio of meant that there were three square feet of parking for every square foot of retail space. So, for 1, square feet of retail space, we have 3, square feet of parking.

At square feet a space, 10 cars can be parked in that 3, square feet. Therefore, a ratio of by the old method, is equivalent to saying 10 spaces per 1, feet of retail floor area. Table 1 illustrates the relationship between these two methods of calculating parking in relation to sales area.

With these measures in mind, we can talk about the parking area actually needed for a shopping center. Gruen and Smith have worked out a parking "demand" for a proposed shopping center having , square feet of floor space and described in Shopping Centers: The New Building Type see biblio. This design is similar to Shopper's World, Framingham, Mass. An example of how to read this table would be: a ratio of three square feet of parking area to one square foot of floor space is the same as saying They calculated the number of cars per square feet of rental area from observed traffic in an existing center for the six business days.

Then they calculated the number of cars daily for a center of , square feet with 20 per cent more business than the observed center. Finally, an hourly schedule for Friday open until P.


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While a careful and scientific approach to the problem is to be applauded, it is still questionable whether any more accurate results can be obtained by such a method, after all of the "estimates" and "reserves for unusual conditions" are thrown into the figure, than can be obtained by general observation of existing centers and the adequacy of their parking facilities.

While the Gruen and Smith study was based on observation, it was extremely detailed, and the question remains whether one can improve on the simple ratios generally offered. Two general statements seem to hold true for parking facilities at shopping centers. The first is that there seems to be no record of any parking facility having too large a capacity for the center see below, Can you have too much parking?

The second statement on parking spaces is that there will be more walk-in business in a neighborhood shopping center than in a community or regional shopping center, and therefore the smaller center will not require proportionately as much off-street parking space as the large center. Table 2 lists and describes the parking facilities at a number of shopping centers throughout the United States. We must disabuse the reader in advance of any hope of great accuracy in the statistics. The number of parking spaces, and the rental sales area were checked in two sources for a few of the centers.

The figures which were checked varied from 10 to 90 per cent. Compare the data in Table 2 with the recommended standard of It is doubtful if any two planners or architects could agree on the number of square feet of parking space required for a shopping center or individual store.