Places/Parking lot History

Parking Lot

The decision to map a Parking-Lot Place is covered here, and the decision to map a Parking-Lot Road is covered in the Road type article for mapping parking lot roads.
The forum discussion thread for the Parking-Lot Place is separate from the general Place thread, and is located here.

The Parking Lot Place marks a well-defined area constructed for off-street public parking, including parking structures and garages as well as at-grade lots.

Area or Point

As of this writing, the primary application of the Parking-Lot Place is as an Area. Future additional applications of the Parking Lot as a Point are under consideration (see The Parking-Lot Point Place).


Three principles govern whether a given lot, structure or garage warrants a Parking-Lot Area Place:

General Public Use
All Parking-Lot Area Places must be legally and locally condoned for at least short-term use by the general public. There are no exceptions.
General Purpose Use
Drivers who leave cars in a Parking-Lot Area Place should be entitled to walk or take other transportation to any destination of choice, and this should be a common occurrence. The sole exception is for public waiting lots where drivers are required to remain with their vehicles, such as airport cell-phone lots.
Distinctive and Significant
Overuse of Area Places quickly leads to map clutter. A Parking-Lot Area Place must mark a parking facility that would be distinctive and significant to passing drivers, including those not seeking parking.

Parking that does not satisfy these three principles shall not be marked with the Parking-Lot Area Place.

Please note: This can be different in other communities!


Interpreting 'distinctive and significant'

For the purposes of the Parking-Lot Area Place, the 'distinctive and significant' principle means a facility or lot fully dedicated to parking and no other activity. An otherwise compliant parking garage that is part of a multi-use structure does not satisfy this principle. However, should the structure warrant an Area Place for other reasons, it is acceptable to add "Parking Lot" to its category list provided its parking satisfies both general-public and general-purpose principles.


Parking-Lot Area Places should be mapped to the property boundaries (the "fence line"). If those are unclear, map to the extent of the lot, structure, or garage.

In situations where a compliant Parking Lot is located within the boundaries of another Area Place, it may be best simply to add "Parking Lot" to the larger Area Place's category list. Compliant parking located within a much larger Area Place, such as an airport, should still receive its own separate Area Place within the larger Area Place.

As with all Area Places, a Parking-Lot Area Place's geometry nodes should not be allowed to "snap" to adjacent road segments or junctions while being adjusted. Doing so can make the Area Place, as well as the adjacent segments or junctions, more difficult to modify.


Like all Places, Parking-Lot Places should be named.

If a parking facility or area has a documented identity, such as "Beach Street Garage", "18th Avenue/Geary Lot", "City Lot #7", "Short-Term Parking", "Cell-Phone Lot", etc., its Place should reflect that name to facilitate searches. Generic park-and-ride lots should be named consistently according to local custom, for example as "Park & Ride".

If a Parking-Lot Area Place is contained within a larger Area Place, do not repeat the larger Area's full name. For example if the Domestic Garage is contained within the "SFO San Francisco International Airport" Area Place boundaries, it need not be named "SFO San Francisco International Airport Domestic Garage"; "SFO Domestic Garage" is sufficient.

If an Area Place for some other category encompasses general-purpose public parking, the Parking Lot category may be added under the name of that Area Place. For example, if the San Jose Convention Center is a sprawling Area Place that hosts general-purpose public parking, one may add "Parking Lot" to its category list, but the name of the place continues to be San Jose Convention Center.

In rare cases a municipality or district provides public parking distinct from any other Area Place but without any documented or signed identity. These can be named after the municipality or district, for example, "Redwood City Public Parking". Do not use completely generic names such as "Parking" or "Public Parking" for anonymous parking facilities. Also to be avoided are names such as "St. Mary's Hospital Parking" that suggest that the parking is dedicated; if it really is dedicated, it should not be a Parking Lot, and if it isn't, the name should not suggest that it is.

As with all Area Places, do not use mapping abbreviations for any part of a Parking-Lot Place name.

Free versus paid parking

As long as parking satisfies the three principles of general public, general purpose, and distinctive and significant, it is eligible for a Parking-Lot Area Place regardless of whether it is free or paid.

Suppression of automated problem reports

Like the Gas Station Area Place, Parking-Lot Area Places suppress Waze's automated "Map Problem" reports such as for missing roads; thus the Parking-Lot Area Place should never be drawn over or attached/snapped to roads bearing through traffic.

Special cases


Airports typically distinguish between parking for different terminals, for short or long term, and for cell-phone/waiting. As common navigation destinations, such parking deserves to be marked with Parking-Lot Area Places and named according to the airport's documented nomenclature, even if it means creating Parking-Lot Area Places within a larger Airport Area Place.

Bus and train stations

Bus and train stations are often located within city centers and may offer convenient public parking. At some stations, such parking may be intended and commonly used for general purposes. At others it may be illegal, inappropriate, or simply pointless to park if one doesn't intend to use that transit facility. Thus whether to mark bus- or train-station parking with a Parking-Lot Area Place depends on the local situation. Regardless, if by local Waze convention the entire station complex would be marked with a Area Place, the boundaries of this Area Place may include its associated parking. In this case, provided the parking is compliant, the Parking-Lot category may be added to the complex's Area Place category list.

Privately operated public parking

Private businesses often provide public parking in dense urban centers and near airports. Privately operated parking facilities that support short-term general-purpose parking for the public may receive Parking-Lot Area Places subject to the 'distinctive and significant' principle as interpreted above. Private facilities intended only for long-term parking are special-purpose and inappropriate for the Parking-Lot Area Place.

Rental-car return

With the availability of the new "Car Rental" Place, rental-car facilities and returns, including at airports, should now be marked with that Place category. If the return location is a normal parking-Lot, then mark it with the Parking-Lot category and the building with the Car Rental category.


The Parking-Lot Area Place is always appropriate for:

  • Generic Park & Ride and similar municipal commuter parking.
  • General-purpose short-term public parking lots, structures or garages dedicated to parking only and independent of any particular mall, complex, campus, or other final destination.
  • Named municipal public parking serving an airport.

The Parking-Lot Area Place is NEVER appropriate for:

  • Street parking, whether parallel, angled, or right-angled.
  • Employee, student or resident (private) parking.

Including non-compliant parking within larger Area Places

If an entire complex warrants an Area Place, any associated parking may be included within its boundaries; for example, a Shopping Mall Area Place with dedicated parking could include all stores and parking associated with the mall. Be sure this complies with local editing conventions before doing so. Even if this is done, however, the larger Area Place remains ineligible to include the "Parking Lot" category if the parking involved is dedicated and therefore special-purpose.

The Parking-Lot Point Place

As of this writing the client display of Parking-Lot Area Places versus Point Places remains unclear. In the future, the Parking-Lot Point Place may be useful for identifying parking in certain situations that would not be appropriate for the Area Place, for example campus, park, stadium, or theme-park parking zones, privately operated long-term public parking, or parking located within a multi-use structure.

Until more clarity emerges, new Parking-Lot Point Places should not be created. Existing named parking that does not comply with Parking-Lot Area Place guidelines may be converted, provisionally, to Point Places. Unnamed parking that does not comply with Parking-Lot Area Place guidelines should not be marked with the Parking-Lot category at all.