From Static Storage to an Engaged Curb for People and Goods

By Benito Pérez, CAPP; Lawrence Marcus; Alejandra Argudin, CAPP; and Michael Sawyer

Parking management demands have evolved in the past two decades while municipal practice is catching up. There are several components for organizations to consider, including  technology and   workforce development to the evolution from being  a storage manager to manager of  a dynamic curb serving the movement of people and goods.

Parking management has been a static practice for a better part of six-plus decades with the introduction of the parking meter in 1935, the proliferation of automobiles, and little innovation for a long time after. Municipal parking management led to a standard practice of managing vehicle storage. When parking pressures overwhelmed a community, they built more and more parking.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, when cities had been hollowed out by large roadways and oceans of parking. Municipal leaders in several cities realized things needed to change (can’t build your way out of a parking problem) when it came to transportation and parking management to liven up their economic fortunes and community vitality. Adding to the pressure of revitalizing municipal economic fortunes, there has been an evolution of shared mobility, commercial docking, and pending connected automated vehicle (CAV) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) demands competing with traditional parking at the curb.

Some municipalities have taken innovative measures to redefine their curbside management practices within the past decade. Such efforts have been aimed toward improving the urban fabric, sustainability and resiliency, and maximizing the value of the curb to serve the movement of people and goods. However, those efforts did not happen in a vacuum or overnight.

Reflecting on work from Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, and Miami, what does it take to manage shifting mobility practices? Key to the discussion is understanding and valuing the components of the streetscape that are essential to a vibrant curbside and mapping a path forward towards building and evolving a successful municipal curbside management program.

Benito Pérez, CAPP, is a transportation advocate formerly with the District Department of Transportation. Lawrence Marcus is with Forward Progress. Alejandra Argudin, CAPP, is with the Miami Parking Authority. Michael Sawyer is with the City of Richmond, Va. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.