Minimum Requirements for Parking Lot Lighting

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Parking lots without proper lighting place visitors in danger.

Parking lot lighting requirements are designed to ensure the safety of those who use parking lots, the nearby businesses, and those who work security. Different municipalities have their own minimum requirements for parking lot lighting. All parking structures should be lit well enough for visitors to find their vehicles. Businesses located in residential neighborhoods must make sure their parking lot lights do not shine onto traffic, houses or public areas in a glaring fashion.



Parking lot lighting requirements vary between municipalities. In La Verne, California, parking lot lights must prevent light from shining on nearby traffic and adjacent property. According to La Verne Municipal Code Section 18.76.090, every light within the parking lot, except security lighting, must be on a timed system. The height of the parking lot lights cannot exceed 20 feet and must provide a minimum of 25 footcandles of light on the parking surface. All parking lot lighting systems must be approved by the municipal board and are given 30 days to make appropriate adjustments.


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After Hours

Once a business with a parking lot closes, such as a mall, it may be required under law to dim the parking lot lights. In Fairfax County, Virginia, any business with at least four parking lot light poles must dim parking lot lights within 30 minutes of closing time. Business owners have two options in regards to dimming their parking lot lights. They may turn off half of the parking lot lights, or they may reduce all parking lot light illuminations by 50 percent. Any parking lot light still in operation after business hours must have an illumination of 0.2 footcandles or more. This is to increase the safety of the lot and those who occupy it.



According to, parking lot lights can increase the overall safety of a parking lot structure. A well-lit parking structure can prevent criminals from creeping in the shadows, especially between two adjacently parked cars. Parking lot lights also allow security guards to have clear vision through closed-circuit security cameras. The parking lot pole lights should be mounted within the actual parking structure as well as around the parking lot area. This increases the overall safety of the general area.


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