Tag Archives: adaptive reuse

Adaptive Reuse: Short-term ROI or Long-term Investment?

For owners and developers investing in new parking facilities, adaptive reuse is a popular topic of discussion. While there is no limit to the possibilities we can imagine, the reality is that designing a parking structure to be compatible with other human uses adds to the cost. However, whether you evaluate that additional investment through the short-term benefits or take a long-term view, adaptive reuse has the potential to provide a cost-efficient and sustainable solution.

By envisioning the future purpose of the building first and incorporating key design considerations at the outset, owners can make both an initial investment into the parking structure and an early investment into a future project. If planned properly, much of the infrastructure for the eventual occupied use can be designed into the parking structure so the conversion to an occupied use in the future would involve little more than constructing the exterior facade and building out the tenant improvements.

In the short term, designing a structure for partial adaptive reuse, such as only incorporating these design considerations into the ground level, can provide a more cost-friendly option that still provides flexibility in the event parking demand shifts in the future. However, when you take a more holistic, long-term look at the return on investment or ROI, a compelling case can be made for full adaptive reuse design.

Learn all the nuances to consider when it comes to adaptive reuse and see what might make sense for your next project in the August issue of Parking & Mobility.

Is It Time for a New Kind of Adaptive Reuse?

Empty parking garage at night.Adaptive reuse–repurposing existing buildings for new uses–has been a topic of discussion in the parking and mobility industry for some time. Now, a traffic engineering and transportation planning company CEO says it’s time to really put words into action and repurpose old parking garages for low-income housing.

“Recognizing the success of these efforts [alternative uses of garages during COVID-19] and the growing homelessness crisis, enterprising operators are now lobbying planning and zoning boards in cities around the country to relax restrictions so that they can retrofit their under-used garages to provide affordable living space for families,” writes Wes Guckert on Smart Cities Dive.

He says when a full-out reuse project is impractical, housing “pods” can be inserted into garages, offering housing in areas where parking demand is dramatically down from a year or two ago and/or where parking minimums have been abolished.

Read the whole article here and then let us know on Forum: What do you think?

Creating Alternatives to Adaptive Reuse

Building with LegosBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

I’ve been a parking consultant for awhile now and have done my fair share of downtown parking studies. Most of them start with trying to define how many parking spaces are occupied at peak conditions. As I look back at this experience, I cannot recall one downtown parking study where every space was full. In most cases, the downtown (or campus) parking system is usually 50 to 75 percent full in places where there are problems driving the need for the study. These problems tend to be localized to a small area and the perception of the problem is often larger than the real problem. In so many of these cases, I’ve pushed for better and more efficient use of the entire system rather than trying to construct more parking spaces to alleviate a localized perception problem.

While this solution–the concept of sharing public and private parking spaces–is not new, it is becoming a solution we truly need to focus on. Coming into 2020, we were intently focused on how changes in mobility, transport, vehicular autonomy, and demographics might affect the parking we manage and operate. In an instant, our focus switched to longer-term effects of the pandemic: remote work, the economy, and how our cities will look in the years to come. These issues–both pre- and post-pandemic–will drive our communities’ parking systems for years to come. It’s time we start thinking a little differently about how we adapt and evolve.

On August 12, I’ll be leading a webinar for IPMI about Creating Alternatives to Adaptive Reuse. The presentation will focus on how we need to shift our thinking to handle these issues and prepare for the future of our communities. The session will review trends affecting our industry and options for moving forward that include business as usual, building parking with the principles of adaptive reuse, and an alternative approach that focuses on more effective planning and management. Hope you’ll join me to learn how we can shape the future of our communities effectively—click here to register.

Brett Wood, CAPP, PE, is president of Wood Solutions Group.

To Build or Not to Build?

By Josh Naramore

There are many news stories that purport the end to parking and that our autonomous future will drastically reduce cities’ needs to provide parking. However, we don’t know when or if that future may come to pass and still need to provide parking services to the customers of today. So how can we look to build new parking facilities that accommodate current needs and adapt for future uses?

The City of Grand Rapids, Mich., partnered with WGI to apply adaptive reuse principles to a new parking structure on a small parcel known as The Wedge. The Wedge site is adjacent to an existing parking structure, allowing the new building to be connected and built with no internal ramping and flat floors. Using short-span construction allows for adequate floor loads and maximization of floor-to-floor heights to accommodate future office or residential uses. The ground floor is reserved for street-level retail. Additionally, the structure can support up to eight stories of development atop its roof for future non-parking uses.

The cost of building this new facility does come at a premium of 50 percent more when compared to costs of a comparable traditional parking structure, but it also provides greater future flexibility for the city.

Josh Naramore is mobile GR and parking manager with the City of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Preparing for a Connected, Autonomous Future

By Michelle Wendler, AIA

The development of connected and autonomous technology has opened up a future of endless possibilities for the parking and mobility industry, all with the potential to not only change the way we park and move but also open up new avenues of sustainable design that will make our world a better place.

Sustainability is already an integral part of everyday best parking practices, from installing photovoltaic panels to pursuing Parksmart certification. As we continue to innovate and get closer to a truly connected future, we will create even more green opportunities. The continued proliferation of electric vehicles will further reduce emissions. The evolution of driverless cars may open up possibilities to densify and reduce street and lot parking. Connected cities have the potential to reduce congestion and create more sustainable mobility solutions.

While we may not have definitive answers as to what the impact of connected and autonomous technology will be and how and when our infrastructure will evolve, this exciting new horizon provides us with some unique opportunities to help shape that future. The value we as parking professionals can offer our clients is to design today’s projects with an eye on tomorrow, to put them in a better position to adapt when the time comes.

Things owners can do now to prepare today’s parking facilities for tomorrow’s needs are to design with future electrical capacity, wireless needs, and EV charging technology in mind. Even if this infrastructure is not necessary today, it can avoid costly upgrades in the future. Owners can also view structured parking as park-once transportation hubs and as such, incorporate bike lockers and information about public transit options available once you park.

Likewise, evaluating the possibilities and upfront costs of adaptive reuse can help owners make informed decision on how to make the most out of their facility during the course of its lifespan. Adaptive reuse is an exciting topic, but it is also a costly undertaking that requires careful consideration to determine if it is the right approach for a specific project. For more information on the cost of adaptive reuse, click here.

This Earth Day, let’s celebrate the possibilities a connected and autonomous future offer us, with an eye on the steps we can take now to help prepare for it.

Michelle Wendler, AIA, is principal with Watry Design, Inc.

Adaptive Reuse Becomes Reality

Parking and mobility pros have been talking about adaptive reuse for awhile now, but the mainstream media has caught on. So have architects, who are designing real projects whose parking garages could be transformed into office, housing, retail, or any number of other uses should the need arise somewhere down the road.

Fast Company takes on the trend today with a story about several projects under construction whose parking could be converted to something else. “Increasingly, architects are designing new buildings with a vision of a future of fewer cars,” it says.

Read the article here and let us know–are you seeing more adaptive reuse projects or hearing more about it where you are?

Adaptive Reuse: A Case Study

Adaptive reuse of parking garages has been an industry conversation topic for a few years, but now consumer-facing publications are getting in on the topic. Forbes features a story about the Motor Mart Garage in Boston, which was built more than 90 years ago. While its occupancy numbers are relatively healthy, they largely come from big bumps during shows at a nearby theater.

The garage’s architecture and facade are beautiful and beloved and its parking spots are valuable, so the structure is being saved. Atop it will grow a 20-story, mixed-use tower, which will make the most of the garage’s spot on a city block while preserving both its beautiful features and its availability to theater-goers, and making better use of its spaces the rest of the time.

Read the Forbes story here. For more on adaptive reuse, read this story from The Parking Professional.

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

Simply put, life on Earth exists because of the presence of water. However, water is also a force of nature that can have incredible destructive capabilities. For that reason alone, it’s important for us as parking managers to understand how our operations affect our water resources, actively take steps to protect water quality and availability, and work to mitigate the damage water can inflict. That means paying attention to stormwater management.

Natural Ecosystems
In natural ecosystems, rain falls onto woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, or forests and percolates through soil and plant material to charge underwater aquifers or flow into streams and rivers. By percolating through the natural, organic materials, water is slowly absorbed and purified.

Through this process, the water’s speed and flow is tempered, and it is gradually reabsorbed into the earth. The soil itself holds the water, which reduces flooding and erosion. The amount of water that soaks into the soil is determined by the amount of organic material.

Urban Environments
In urban settings, the process that happens in natural ecosystems is interrupted. Permeable soil is covered by impermeable concrete and asphalt. Rain that falls on these hard surfaces quickly runs off the surface, carrying with it any oils or pollutants to streams and rivers. Depending on the chemical, pollutants can have deadly short- and long-term consequences for the natural environment and humans.

Because stormwater runoff moves quickly and with some force, it causes extensive erosion. Artificially channeling water increases erosion because it increases both the speed and volume of runoff. Erosion itself is a problem as it destroys natural habitats in streams and rivers.

There are other costs as well. Erosion can undermine the structural integrity of roads, parking lots, and buildings. For the parking industry, water can have large economic effects on an organization as the water can very quickly wash away the adhesive and waterproofing properties of asphalt and get into the pavement structure, allowing it to dry out, crack, and ravel. Erosion not only increases the amount of sediments carried by stormwater runoff, but sediment running off asphalt surfaces also has large amounts of petroleum products, corrosive chemicals, and fine metals. This affects plants and animals living in our streams and rivers.

Sediment also affects the surrounding water ecosystem in several ways by absorbing heat, blocking sunlight, and polluting the water. Sediments absorb heat, so a sediment-laden river will have a higher temperature than a clear river. Warmer waters hold less oxygen, which means fewer animals are able to survive.

Sediments in the water column block sunlight. Less light means less photosynthesis by algae and aquatic plants living on the streambed. This not only reduces the amount of oxygen in the water column, but also reduces the amount of food available to support the herbivores at the base of the food chain. This, in turn, means less food is available to their predators, such as fish, birds, and mammals.

Sediments sink to the floor of streams and rivers. This eliminates homes for aquatic invertebrates, an important food source for predatory fish. The sediments also smother algae and smaller aquatic plants.

Protecting the Water Supply
As discussed, impermeable concrete and asphalt alter the natural flow and quality of water in urban environments. Fortunately, there are steps that we in the parking industry can take to protect our water supply and our parking assets.

To begin with, we can address water quality issues by simply keeping our parking lots clean and asphalt assets well-maintained. Regularly sweeping our parking lots to remove trash and debris improves the quality of any stormwater running off the pavement. Promptly treating and cleaning fluids, such as oils and coolants, that leak from vehicles also reduces water pollution.

Parking lots and roads that are well-maintained at regular intervals can last for many years; maintenance offers significant cost savings as it is more cost efficient to maintain the asphalt than it is to build and rebuild. With a strong, durable surface, water will naturally flow off the surface as designed. However, damage to an asphalt surface will allow water to seep through, deteriorate the sub-structure, and compromise its ability to sustain the pressure of traffic loads. When the foundation beneath the asphalt is damaged, the surface is more susceptible to potholes, alligator cracking, and further water erosion.

In parking lot and roadway designs, we can funnel polluted stormwater into sewer systems so runoff is treated by the municipal water treatment plant. While this may be a convenient solution, it may not always be the most feasible one, especially if there is a large body of water such as a river or lake nearby. In several coastal states where sewers drain directly into the ocean, there are significant rules and regulations regarding stormwater management that mandate onsite mitigation and treatment of runoff.

Several landscaping and surface treatments can be used to reduce stormwater runoff, including incorporating the use of bioswales and permeable surfaces. Bioswales, such as rain gardens, are landscaping treatments used to slow, collect, infiltrate, filter, and store stormwater until it is reabsorbed into the ground. These drainage areas are often filled with native, water-loving plants that can tolerate being under water for short periods of time, but they can also simply be filled with rock.

In flatter areas, permeable surfaces, such as areas covered with pavers or permeable concrete, can be a good solution for stormwater. They allow water to penetrate below the surface and percolate through the soil below to recharge natural aquifers. However, permeable surfaces are susceptible to erosion as the speed of the water flow still plays a big role in runoff. Depending upon your water flow needs or landscaping plan design, you can slow down water and erosion damage by having it crash into larger rocks that are in the drainage channel where the water flows. The water expends some of its energy on the rocks instead of the surface treatment in the channel. If you slow down the water, it has less force, and with less force, there is less erosion and sediment.

While organizations can invest in alternative transportation programs and advances in technology that reduce parking demand, asphalt facilities to accommodate vehicle parking and travel will always exist. However, the need to address the political, environmental, and economic conditions created by stormwater will also continue to exist as the natural progression of the planet’s weather patterns continue. As parking operators, land developers, and planners, it is our obligation to ensure that we are aware of all of the options that exist to be able to understand what is at stake and appropriately allocate our limited resources and make the hard decisions for the future.

Irma Henderson, CAPP, is director of transportation services at the University of California Riverside. She can be reached at irma.henderson@ucr.edu.

Jennifer Tougas, CAPP, PhD, is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University. She can be reached at jennifer.tougas@wku.edu.


365 Days Big Green

365 Days Big Green

by Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it was. In the parking industry, we have continued to see the public and private sectors embrace the latest and greatest sustainability initiatives and technologies. A new partnership between the IPI and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has brought these ideas even more to the mainstream, broadening the reach into an even greater audience. Further, a growing number of parking industry leaders continue to work to promote and advance the value of integrating sustainable parking planning, design, construction, management, and technology.

It’s been an exciting year on the parking front, and we continue to see groundbreaking success stories. Here, we present just a few of these stories and the effects they have had. They will also help to provide a blueprint for what continues to be possible in this constantly evolving part of our industry.

Stanford University Energy System Innovation
Stanford University continues to be a leader in innovation and progress, particularly through the implementation of cutting-edge sustainability initiatives. One such initiative is the Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI), which has transformed how energy is delivered to the campus to heat and cool its buildings. By using electricity purchased from renewable sources, the university will reduce its carbon emissions by 68 percent.

Stanford’s Parking & Transportation Services, a division of Sustainability & Energy Management, is contributing to SESI with two cutting-edge projects: electrification of the Marguerite bus yard and fleet and solar panel installation on the Stock Farm Garage.

Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle program has been expanding its use of electric buses on campus since 2014. The successful performance of the program’s initial 13 buses has led the university to acquire an additional 10. The university converted a portion of its existing bus yard to serve as the charging and storage facility for all 23 electric buses. This project was the first of a phased approach to convert the entire bus yard and adjacent parking lot into an electric charging facility for an eventual all-electric Marguerite bus fleet. This project also facilitated the installation of electric vehicle chargers in the adjacent Stock Farm Garage, doubling the charging capacity of that facility.

In addition, the university has installed solar panels on large rooftops across Stanford’s campus, including the Stock Farm Garage. While challenging, the payoff for this project will help the university meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions, supporting the electric bus fleet, and shading vehicles parked on the roof.

It’s Always Sunny in Arizona!
Arizona State University (ASU) is taking solar to the next level. The university has integrated three major solar panel installations that help not only power the university but significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions as well.

The solar installation generates a total wattage of more than 24.1 megawatts (MWdc) at 89 locations across all four campuses and the ASU Research Park. These installations, located in parking lots and on garage rooftops, also provide valuable shade to more than 5,900 parking spaces and 828 stadium seats—that’s a benefit that is always appreciated in the overpowering heat of the Southwest.

During 2015 at the Carson Student Athletic Center, the solar power plants located on ASU’s Tempe Campus facilities generated approximately 26,568 megawatt hours (MWh)—equivalent to 14 percent of the electricity used at Tempe Campus facilities. Concurrently that year, on ASU’s West Campus, the Sparky 10 MW installation generated approximately 8,595 MWh in 2015; this amount of energy is equivalent to 71 percent of the total amount of electricity used at ASU’s West Campus facilities.

The integration of the solar panels at ASU’s campuses showcases the significant effect solar power can have on meeting the energy needs on a campus, reducing the associated costs, as well as fossil fuel consumption and emissions. However, this program is also a testament to the important role parking can play in complementing this valuable energy source, providing wide open spaces for large installations while helping provide shade for vehicles and people.

Cincinnati Zoo Becomes First Demonstrator Site
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has been named the first Green Parking Lot Demonstrator site under a new USGBC program aimed at recognizing surface lots that exhibit exceptional sustainable design. This is part of a nearly decade-long effort at the zoo to implement a number of progressive initiatives through sustainability.

Upon arrival at the zoo, guests are greeted with a sea of sleek solar panel canopy that keeps vehicles cool and reduces the heat-island effect. In addition, the solar panels generate 1,700 MWh of electricity, equivalent to 20 percent of their usage, and eliminate 1,775 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is equivalent to the reduction of approximately 3 million vehicle miles travelled annually.

Another groundbreaking feature of the Cincinnati Zoo parking lot is the significance of the landscaping features. Two large rain gardens, native plantings, and large shade trees provide natural beauty and alleviate stormwater issues. An underground cistern retains and slowly dissipates stormwater, relieving pressure on an aging wastewater infrastructure.

Patrons can use one of seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, including one DC fast charger, and bikers can dismount at the appropriately themed snake-shaped bicycle rack or take advantage of the Cincinnati Red bike sharing kiosk. For visitors looking to avoid traffic but who are not up for biking, the Cincinnati Metro Transit Agency drops off right inside the parking lot. Finally, the zoo’s vehicle fleet consists of emissions-free electric golf carts while trucks and the mini-rail are powered with recycled biodiesel.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is at the cutting edge of a groundbreaking new program to recognize the many sustainable design opportunities available for parking lots and will serve as a model for similar projects in the future. Leading the way, Director of Facilities and Sustainability Mark Fisher engaged his staff, the city, public utilities, and property owners to find innovative solutions to their most pressing environmental problems and creatively implement them to meet their biggest needs, while educating the community.

Medical Group Embraces Lightwells
How do you create an inviting patient experience in a subterranean parking structure while reducing energy benefits? The Camino Medical Group faced this question when the parking structure for its Mountain View campus involved a subterranean level. The answer? Lightwells.

Lighting is not only an important consideration in the functional design of a parking garage but also a critical factor in the user experience. Dark, cramped structures feel unsafe and do not attract patrons; open, well-lit structures with good ventilation feel safe and secure and invite users.

Achieving natural light and air in structured parking often requires provisions such as lightwells. Lightwells or air shafts are unroofed external spaces provided within the volume of a large building to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark and less-ventilated area.

In a below-grade parking structure, lightwells can sometimes be achieved by surrounding the structure with permanent shoring walls or by sloping back the soil around the structure. In addition to providing user experience and functional benefits, lightwells have both economic and environmental benefits of reducing overall energy demands, as was the case for the Camino Medical Group Parking Structure, which utilized landscaped lightwells in addition to extra high ceilings and brighter-than-average lighting to make patients feel safe and secure.

Emory University Upgrades Its Lighting
Always one to make its mark as an innovator in the medical world, Emory University isn’t limiting innovation to medical procedures alone. The university recently mandated a cutting-edge lighting fixture to illuminate its underground garage, which services the new state-of-the-art campus hospital expansion project.

The university’s lighting consultant created the ECO Mantis™ lighting fixture, which features linear remote phosphor LEDs specifically designed to support the parking industry. The remote phosphor LED features near zero light output depreciation over time. By locating the heat sensitive phosphor away from the heat-generating LED chips, the phosphor maintains near 100 percent output over the life of the fixture.

The garage will provide much-needed parking in an active campus and is expected to be open to the public by year’s end.

San Francisco Building Upgrades Ventilation
Located in San Francisco’s financial district, 475 Sansome Street is a 21-story, Class A office building with an underground parking facility requiring mechanical ventilation 15 hours a day Monday through Friday. To reduce energy costs, the facility operator recently installed a “variable flow” demand-control ventilation system, which fluctuates garage exhaust and supply fan motor speeds based on carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations in the garage.
Prior to the control system installation, the garage’s ventilation motors consumed nearly 60,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year at a cost of more than $8,800. The installation of a variable flow demand-control ventilation system significantly reduced total energy consumption and costs.

Post-installation data showed that the new ventilation control system reduced the garage fan motors’ kWh consumption by more than 57,500 per year—a 96.5 percent savings. Peak kWh demand was reduced by 14.73 percent, also a 96.5 percent savings. The project’s net present value of $84,000 is nearly four times greater than the cost of the variable flow control system installation.

Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, is national director of corporate development for Propark. She can be reached at megan.leinart@propark.com.

TPP 2016-12 365 Days Big Green