Black businessman sitting at workplace thinking over problem solutionBy Jennifer McCoy, PE, PTOA

After a parking lot study has been completed in a new, shiny document, cities ask themselves, “What happens next?” Moving into the next task of sifting through parking study recommendations can be daunting. However, here are some great steps to help structure the decision-making process and know what to do next.

Step 1: Define the overall goals for the changes to the parking system.

Why was the parking study done in the first place? What are the city’s long-term goals toward a sustainable system? A few goals could include increasing turnover on the street, increasing revenue for the parking system, improving payment technology, or right-pricing the parking to encourage use of long-term parking in lots or garages instead of on-street.

Step 2: Determine which groups will be affected by the changes and decide who needs to be informed and how.

Different outreach messages need to be crafted for each group, as they likely have varying concerns or needs when it comes to the proposed changes. Different groups could include city council or upper management, business owners, downtown chamber, and different parking patrons using the system such as visitors, students, and employees.

Step 3: Determine how to best convey messages about the parking changes and develop a communication strategy plan.

Using a branded communication plan for your parking system will help create awareness of the changes. A variety of digital and non-digital tools can be used to display information in a quick and easy-to-understand manner. It is important to never forget the value of the old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground approach to telling people about the upcoming changes.

Effort put into communication at the beginning of the process promotes understanding and support for the project, increasing the likelihood that implementing the new parking changes will go much more smoothly.

Jennifer McCoy, PE, PTOA, is a senior traffic engineer at Bolton & Menk. She will present “The Parking Study is Done. Now What?” during an IPMI Webinar,  Wednesday, July 14;  the event offers 1 CAPP point. Click here for details and to register.