If there are very few parking stalls left on a cold, blustery Sunday morning, what does the visitor do? Stay? Go back home? Head to a neighboring church? In an automobile-based society, the average family comes to church in multiple cars. The attributes of a particular brand of religion is less important than in previous generations. For visitors with no ties to the church, if parking is scarce or cumbersome, heading to a different denominational service across the street is a real possibility.
Capacity – Provide one stall for every two or three seats in worship. Increase the formula when multiple Sunday worship gatherings are held back-to-back and when hospitality between services has high attendance.
Safety – Consider safe access from the car to the curb, particularly for patrons with special needs or young children.
Variety – Address a variety of “types” of parking stalls that will embrace visitors with special needs, including:
- Stalls designed for people needing physical assistance.
- Places designed for parents (with kids and lots of “stuff” in tow).
- Spaces convenient for the elderly.
- Locations equipped for “special needs cars.”
Nothing says “welcome, please come in” more strongly than a doorway. The doors need to be a prominent feature that beckons the outsider to enter.
Visibility – Make the Main entry obvious and easily identifiable. Entries should be the symbol of announcement and invitation.
Protection – Improve the convenience of the entry with a canopy. A drop–off, drive-through canopy not only heightens the visibility of the entry but also provides:
– Ease of direct access into the building.
– Protected waiting area before or after events.
– Safety during loading or unloading.