Planning for Difficult Parking Situations at Your Event
For many people (including me), parking is one of the most stressful aspects of attending an event. But it doesn't have to be! With a little bit of planning, you can avoid those pesky parking scenarios that leave you feeling frazzled and frustrated. Here are some tips to help you plan for difficult parking situations at your next event.
Give detailed written and visual parking instructions
Written instructions are usually given for parking, if remembered at all by the host. But this is not always the best way to aid in a difficult parking situation. One of my friends invited me to a game night and said that I could park on a side street or at the church at the top of the hill. I drove around for a bit and I found a side street to park on, but I still have no idea where in the world the church is...or the hill much less.
One of my favorite parking experiences was when I went to visit some friends downtown and the host provided a screenshot from Google Maps with the streets I could park on highlighted and a path drawn from each street showing the path to walk to the apartment. Perfection! All of the anxiety I had about parking downtown melted away!
So with that in mind, you'll want to provide a clear map of the parking lot or area, including where the best spots are located, and any special instructions. You can take screenshots on any maps app of the neighborhood, parking areas, and surrounding streets. Then you can highlight the places guests should park so that those who are unfamiliar with the area can easily find their way. If parking in your area has rules and regulations, provide specific instructions about where people can and cannot park. Make sure to include details about handicapped and accessible parking spaces, if available.
Make sure there is enough parking for everyone
When planning your event, make sure to consider how many people you expect to attend and if there will be enough parking for everyone. Let neighbors know you're having an event and ask them if guests can park in front of their houses, or in their vacant spots if you're in an apartment. You may even want to offer a small compensation for the inconvenience. This can help accommodate guests if there's not enough parking at your home. You can also look into reserving parking spots in the area or using a nearby garage if you're in a city area.
If parking is limited, let guests know how many cars are able to come and ask them to carpool if possible. You could even set up a group chat for guests to decide who's riding with who. Consider providing alternative forms of transportation to your event so guests who can't drive (or don't want to) don't have to worry about finding a place to park. Provide details on public transportation, and consider suggesting rideshare options from central locations.
Remember to give the Gate Code
Most parking lots and garages are regulated by a code or card. This can make it difficult for guests to access the area without knowing the exact code. Make sure to provide this information ahead of time so no one has to wait in line at the gate. And don't forget to mention the all important "#" or "*" that needs to be pressed after entering the code. Please? I really don't want the car behind me getting impatient because I can't get the gate code to work. Before you give the gate code to your guests, be sure to go down to the gate and test it out yourself.
Also, you may also need to provide instructions on how to enter the lot so guests make sure they end up at the right entry point for non residents. Be sure to stay by your phone during the event to answer the gate and let guests in.
Be aware of any fees in the area. In some areas, there may be fees associated with a particular lot or street. Be sure to check local laws and regulations before you plan your event. You don't want anyone to get ticketed or towed! If there are any fees associated with specific lots or areas, make sure to include this info in your event instructions so guests can plan accordingly.
Communicate early and often
Keep your guests informed about parking arrangements, providing them with written instructions (including the aforementioned map!) ahead of time to help ensure they know where and how to park before they arrive. Send out reminders closer to the date as well so that everyone is on the same page.
These are just a few tips to help you plan for difficult parking situations at your next event. With a little bit of planning and communication, you can ensure that everyone has an easy, stress-free experience getting to and from your event. Happy parking!