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Parking lot striping and pavement signs are keys to improving efficiency and safety for pedestrians, drivers, and employees—but a strategy is necessary to ensure the visual cues are helpful rather than confusing. Explore this guide to develop your own strategy: Consider who benefits most from visual cues, the types of pavement markings available, and which parking lot or roadway markings to implement.

Benefits of Pavement Markings

Pavement markings are everywhere: Roadways, parking lots and garages, bike paths, and pedestrian zones all benefit from clear, durable markings to share information and provide directional cues. Delineation improves safety on highways by defining traveled lanes, separating traffic, and sharing details about upcoming traffic flow or conditions. Temporary pavement markings, paired with signage and flaggers, are especially necessary during construction or roadway repair.

Applying pavement markings in parking lots, garages, construction areas, or sidewalks improves safety and navigation and can provide messages about limited access. Roadway lines provide information about travel direction, separate opposing traffic, communicate lane instructions, and issue relevant notices for drivers or pedestrians.

Marking crosswalks and sidewalks creates designated pedestrian zones to keep visitors safer as they walk through parking areas. Similarly, labeling non-pedestrian or limited access areas—such as loading docks or loading bays—can keep unnecessary foot or vehicular traffic from impeding the loading or unloading efforts and prevent accidents when trucks (or even rail cars) move through the area.

Types of Pavement Markings

To ensure the lines and other cues remain in place, choose the appropriate pavement marking materials and application method based on the intended use. For visual cues intended for long-term use, permanent pavement markings are often a better option. In construction zones or to display temporary messages—such as for a short-term detour or traffic pattern change—temporary, removable pavement markings or painted cues may last long enough.

Permanent or Temporary Pavement Markings

When marking lanes during roadway construction or applying pavement markings for long-term use, options backed with pre-applied, pressure-sensitive adhesive are durable and easy to apply. Paint-free application requires no dry time, so traveled areas and parking lots can open quickly after pavement markings have been applied. For improved safety, pavement markings include features like reflective beads or embedded anti-skid aggregate. Pair pavement markings with road reflectors for even better visibility in dark or rainy conditions.

Temporary and permanent roadway markings include:

  • Traffic lane stripes and signs
  • Turn cues and directional arrows
  • Temporary construction messages
  • Warnings of traffic pattern change or merging traffic

Parking Lot Markings

Bring attention to reserved parking spots, create pedestrian safety messages, provide information, or add navigational instructions for drivers using pavement marking signs. Non-skid, durable ADA handicap parking decals are designed for easy, long-lasting application so the reserved spaces are easy to spot.

In warehouse locations, use pavement markings to denote truck bay designations and trailer storage areas, share loading dock safety messaging, and highlight emergency lanes, hazard zones, and fire safety information.

Beyond navigational cues, parking lot markings can:

  • Designate no-parking zones
  • Bring attention to building entrances and exits
  • Ensure emergency exits are clearly marked
  • Provide sufficient space between parked cars
  • Keep delivery routes clear of visitor traffic or parked vehicles
  • Parking garage directional cues
  • Parking space markings

Visual Cues for Non-Drivers

In pedestrian zones, provide clear information with crosswalks, directional cues, and pavement striping. Ensure visitors know where to enter the building, which areas must be kept clear, and where they may cross paths with traffic, forklifts, or delivery vehicles. Provide safe areas to cross the road or parking area with clear, highly visible crosswalks and signs. When it comes to how to paint a crosswalk, pavement marking tape provides a durable solution. Adhesive-backed crosswalk lines, bar stencils or text stencils for painted notices, pavement and upright signs, and vertical barricades bring attention to crosswalk areas, so pedestrians can cross safely.

Non-Adhesive Pavement Markings

While painted lines have a significantly shorter lifespan than heavy-duty pavement marking tape, you may find that painted lines are the better option for your intended application. If this is the case, parking lot stencils can be used to create consistent markings throughout a parking area or other traveled zone.

The lifespan of painted parking lot striping depends on a few factors, including:

  • Time of year the paint was applied (warmer weather is usually better)
  • Surface condition
  • Volume and type of traffic
  • Weather exposure
  • Application type and technique

For example, if the painted lines are in a pedestrian-only area that’s not directly exposed to sunlight or inclement weather—such as a covered walkway—the markings will last longer than lines or signs painted in a busy parking lot where traffic and the elements contribute to wear.

Pavement markings paired with traffic control supplies like cones and barricades, speed bumps, and upright signage improves safety and communication overall. Explore our Resource Center for more information about creating a pavement marking strategy that works for your industrial, retail, or municipal location.