Keys To Great Site Planning For Service Stations
You want drivers to come to your gas station to fuel up… without getting fed up by confusing traffic flow and congestion. That is why it is important to understand what is possible on a site, and to have realistic expectations as you plan your design or expansion.
Fortunately, design and engineering firms that specialize in the site and facility planning for the retail fuel sector are great problem solvers! They are professionals who bring decades of experience to your project. And they have worked with various shaped and sized lots. If there is a way to meet your vision, they will find it. At the same time, if something is simply not feasible, your design firm will be frank and upfront with you.
What will your site allow?
Three primary factors will determine what can be done on a site: the lot size, site access, and site configuration. (Municipal zoning and bylaws are a whole other conversation)
Lot size: The size and layout of a lot will determine how many structures and services you can safely fit on the lot. Parking, vehicle stacking, tanker and delivery vehicle access, number of pumps, desired facilities (eg. c-store, drive-thru, car wash) will all influence what is possible.
Site access: The proximity of the site to adjacent roadways will affect the layout. Ingress (the ability for vehicles to enter the site) and egress (the ability for vehicles to leave the site) are of primary importance. Planning will vary between a site on a highway versus one in an urban setting.
Site configuration: Your site plan will also be impacted by factors such as setbacks, utilities and right of ways.
Planning starts with vehicular access.
The first thing the design team must consider is how vehicles will enter the site, navigate the site, and leave the site. Careful thought must be given to the placement of underground tanks for fueling, to ensure tanker trucks cause minimal disruption to customer traffic.
Today’s leading design firms use advanced animation software to model traffic flow. This software is integrated with the site design plans to simulate traffic movement. The design team can actually see how vehicles will move on-site: from the smallest compact car to the biggest pickup truck. Even RVs…and of course, tanker, garbage and delivery trucks! If problems or concerns are identified, the design team can revisit the drawings to come up with a solution.
This software is not only used to ensure the safe, easy flow of traffic at the pumps. It can be used to evaluate drive-thru’s, car washes and parking areas. For example, this software can determine if a two-lane drive-thru is feasible, or if the site will only allow for a single lane.
Your design team is on your side!
Well-designed sites ensure a better, safer, more stress-free customer experience – while poorly designed sites leave customers feeling frustrated and apprehensive, and can actually turn traffic away.
Your design and engineering team is committed to planning a site that balances the public need for safety with your desire for efficiency and profitability.