Tag Archives: building

The Parking Professional: Building Well

Strategies, linkages, and lessons for the parking, transportation and mobility industry.

2018-12 Building Well 18-12 Building Well


The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) administer multiple certification standards in addition to LEED standards. One of these standards will be familiar to our readers: Parksmart. The Parksmart program promotes sustainable and high-performing garages and parking garages through certification at multiple levels.

GBCI also administers certification and credentialing for a relatively new certification standard dedicated to promoting buildings that maximize the opportunities for both human health and environmental sustainability: the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™).

Those familiar with the triple-bottom line of people, planet, and profit, will recognize the importance of human health and wellness in this concept. Our health and wellness intersect with the environments where we spend most of our time. LEED criteria address these concepts in many cases, examining air quality, lighting, comfort, and general environment through multiple strategies to improve our experience in residential, office, and other property types.

Over the course of a 30-year building lifecycle, personnel costs account for more than 90 percent of costs, dwarfing design and construction costs of 2 percent and operations and maintenance costs of 6 percent. No matter what industry, those numbers are telling—and addressing human health and wellness to the benefit of both individuals and organizations makes financial sense, as well as good stewardship of our most important asset—our people.

Fundamentals of the WELL Building Standard
WELL addresses buildings and the features that have impacts to human health and wellness. Given that we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors, the impact of the quality of our natural environment as well as the quality of our built environment cannot be understated.

The standard is an “independently verified, per­formance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of buildings that impact human health and well-being.” More than 100 features ad­dress areas including nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, productivity and performance. These fea­tures may deal with operations and design, of the im­pact to human behavior. Certification may be achieved at silver, gold, or platinum levels.
More than 100 million square feet have been reg­istered or WELL-certified, including projects in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UAE, Europe, and Australia. WELL is flexible across multiple building types and offers pilot programs for multifamily residential, edu­cation, retail, restaurant, and more.

The standard addresses seven concepts: air, wa­ter, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. These concepts provide the top-level structure for the certification program. (For comparison pur­poses, Parksmart contains four primary categories: Management, Programs, Design and Technology, Innovation). In WELL, these seven concepts include more than features, which may be considered compa­rable to Parksmart measures. Each feature includes multiple parts that may be reviewed in the certification standard.

LEED or Parksmart
Both programs are initiated with registration through an online platform and applicants provide documenta­tion to substantiate features (or measures).
One key difference is that WELL requires perfor­mance verification, which is a series of onsite, post-­occupancy performance tests to monitor building per­formance after occupants have moved in. Certification is earned once the project has documented compliance with selected features and passed performance verifica­tion. A second key difference at this time is that recer­tification is required after three years to make sure that the building maintains the desired level of design, main­tenance, and operations. This is a critical step to ensure that buildings are functioning as they were designed to and that the desired behaviors of occupants match the planned outcomes, allowing operations to be recalibrat­ed if those results don’t match what is planned.

WELL breaks up certification standards into three primary groupings:

  • Core and Shell
  • New and Existing Interiors.
  • New and Existing Buildings.

The first two apply to different owner/tenant splits depending on how much of the building remains in the control of the building owner. New and Existing Buildings will be most familiar in the parking, trans­portation, and mobility industry, addressing the entire scope of design and construction, and some elements of operations.

Point Structure
Preconditions, which are known as prerequisites in LEED, must be achieved and may be considered non-negotiable. Similarities exist to IPMI’s Accredited Parking Organization (APO) program; the accredita­tion mandates that 25 required criteria are achieved as a baseline. Optimizations, known as measures in Parksmart, are selected and documented from a total of 59 available choices.

New and Existing Buildings must achieve 41 pre­conditions in the certification system for Silver Certifi­cation. The system includes 59 possible optimizations. Buildings that meet 40 percent of the applicable op­timizations earn Gold, and 80 percent earn Platinum. Pilot programs (including communities and multifam­ily residential and educational building types) offer similar point structures.

Preconditions in the New and Existing Building category include aspects such as air quality standards, construction pollution management, fundamental wa­ter quality, visual lighting design, interior fitness circu­lation, activity incentive programs, accessible design, post-occupancy surveys, and beauty and design.

Optimizations include air quality monitoring and feedback, water treatment, responsible food produc­tion, daylight modeling, exterior active design, physical activity spaces, and adaptable spaces, as well as inno­vation points.

Of the seven concepts in the system, the parking, trans­portation, and mobility industry may find the features provided in the fitness section most relevant. This concept supports the “integration of physical activity into everyday life by providing opportunities and sup­port for an active lifestyle and discouraging sedentary behaviors.” There are multiple linkages where as an industry we can apply WELL strategies, including:

  • Interior fitness circulation.
  • Activity incentive programs.
  • Exterior active design.
  • Physical activity spaces.
  • Active transportation support.

The next section addresses each of these five ele­ments and their potential adaption to our industry and its facilities.

Interior fitness circulation
This precondition addresses stair accessibility and pro­motion as well as design. One staircase in buildings with two to four floors should be accessible to building occu­pants and provide wayfinding and visual prompts and should be both clearly visible and within 25 feet of the primary entrance, lobby, or welcome area. Stair width must be 56 inches between handrails and or allowable by code. In addition, this addresses aesthetics; two of the following must be included: artwork, music, daylighting, view windows, designated lighting levels, or biophilic elements. (Biophilia, as defined by Wikipedia, is the in­herent human inclination to affiliate with nature.)

The design of staircases and related wayfinding is a natural fit for our parking and transportation facilities and may be simply applied to new designs. This con­cept can and should be extended to potential walking and biking trails to and from parking facilities to the desired destinations.

Stairwell exemplifies interior fitness circulation element through its daylighting and biophilic views.

Activity incentive programs
For this precondition, the project must implement two programs for all full-time employees (FTEs). Although not a comprehensive list, most relevant to our industry are tax-exempt payroll deductions relating to active transportation or mass transit or subsidies towards annual bicycle share membership.

The widespread adoption and promotion of transportation demand management (TDM) policies and programs in the parking and mobility industry relates directly to this feature. Please see page 34 for a detailed summary of TDM in this issue, or download the resource in the IPMI resource center at parking-mobility.org/resource-center.

Exterior active design
This optimization (to reiterate, these optimizations are potential, and not required), addresses pedestrian ame­nities, pedestrian promotion, and neighborhood connec­tivity. Pedestrian amenities include benches, clusters of movable furniture for outdoor seating, drinking fountains, or water stations. To promote active pedestrian circula­tion, elements include water features, plazas or open-air courtyards, gardens and landscaped elements, and public art. Neighborhood connectivity incorporates high Walk Scores® and additional diverse uses as identified by LEED BD+C within a half-mile.

Some of our members’ facility designs take these concepts to the next level; Park(ing) Day culminates in these expressions on an annual basis. The image on the next page showcases both exterior active design as well as other criteria addressed in this article.

Physical activity spaces
This optimization aims to promote physical activity through designated free indoor exercise space as well as external opportunities for exercise. External spaces must be complimentary and within a half-mile walking distance:

  • Green spaces/parks with playground features.
  • Workout station or fitness zone.
  • Trail network.
  • Accessible body of water or public swimming pool.
  • Gym or fitness center.
  • Recreational fields.

The more recent application of rooftop fields and similar spaces on parking facilities provides a terrific opportunity to place these facilities in close proximity to the building seeking WELL certification.

Active transportation support
The Centers for Disease Control defines active trans­portation as “any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling.” This optimization covers bicycle storage and support, addressing distances to the main entrance as well as bicycle maintenance tools and bicycle storage. Storage must be provided for at least five percent of regular building occupants, in addition to shorter-term storage for 2.5 percent of peak visitors. Post commute/fitness facilities are also addressed in this part, requiring both showers and lockers.  TDM programming, LEED, APO, and Parksmart di­rectly address active transportation support, especially in the form of bicycling facilities and bike-share.

Additional Considerations
One of the core concepts in the standard is Mind. This concept addresses the complex connection between mental health and building design. A building may be designed to support and reinforce a health mental state.

Beauty and design
This required precondition’s intent is “to thought­fully create unique and culturally-rich spaces.” More qualitative than quantitative in its approach, the proj­ect must contain features that promote human delight; celebration of culture, spirit, and place; and integration of public art.

Design in our buildings can use or mimic natural elements. This optimization addresses how to incor­porate nature through the development of a biophilia plan (environmental elements, lighting, and space layout), the incorporation of natural patterns, and op­portunities for interactions between people and nature both indoors and outdoors. An addition optimization addresses this concept further in the areas of outdoor biophilia (landscaped areas or accessible rooftop gar­dens) indoor biophilia (wall and potted plantings in interior spaces), and multiple water features.

This optimization covers charitable activities through the provision of paid time on or off the clock for vol­unteer opportunities, as well as financial contribu­tions. Our community is well-versed in the benefits of connection to charitable causes for both employees and patrons; The Parking Professional has featured the generous Donations for Citations and related program­ming showcased by our IPMI members; see p. 27 in the November 2017 issue for more.

The innovation concept allows for greater creativity and expansion of the WELL standard into the future. Both LEED and Parksmart offer innovation points to address aspects not covered in the current version of the standards. Innovation proposals may extend beyond the current requirements or thresholds, or con­tain a new concept.

Takeways and Next Steps
This overview of the WELL standard merely touches the concepts of human health and wellness, our built environment, and relevance to the parking, transpor­tation, and mobility industry. However, there are two key takeaways that we as an industry can utilize as a starting point.

1.Our human health is inextricably linked to our physical environment. As parking, transportation, and mobility professionals, we have the ability—and the opportunity—to make a massive impact on the health and wellness of our communities through our planning, design, operations, and programming.

2.The IPMI Accredited Parking Organization program, TDM, LEED, Parksmart, and WELL all pursue similar, related, and intertwined out­comes. High-performing buildings are sustainable. High-performing operations are profitable. Healthy, productive, and high-performing people are both. We should as an industry continue to explore these concepts and magnify these programs’ collective impacts together—to maximize our positive and profound impact on our individual communities.

Read the article here.

To find out more about WELL, visit wellcertified.com.

To jump in the fray and explore what these concepts mean for us in the future, contact me. I can’t wait to hear your feedback.

RACHEL YOKA, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPMI’s vice president for program development. She can be reached at  yoka@parking-mobility.org.


Ahead of the Train

tpp-2016-04-ahead-of-the-trainBy Robert Ferrin and Brett Wood, PE, CAPP

Building a parking program from the ground up. 

What if you could build a parking program from scratch? Where would you start? What would your central tenets be? How would you integrate the wealth of knowledge gained by parking professionals during the past 100 years?

In reality, most people don’t get this opportunity. As we’ve found our way into the unique world of parking professionalism, we’ve largely inherited programs. And those programs were built iteratively in response to the needs of the surrounding community and challenges experienced along the way. All we’ve had to do is learn from our predecessors and implement iterative change.

In essence, all you’ve been asked to do is keep the train on the tracks. But what if you got the amazing opportunity to build the train?

Putting a Plan in Place
In Aurora, Colo., that opportunity arose as a once-suburban community turned big city found itself on the brink of transformation. The city, which has a population of 350,000 and is situated east of Denver, lacks a paid parking program. Residents are accustomed to parking for free throughout the municipality, except for a relatively new medical campus in the city. However, the regional transportation district (RTD) is on the cusp of opening a light rail line that will include nine stations in Aurora and connect the community with both Denver and the airport. To say that things are about to change in Aurora is an understatement.

City planning staff realized the tremendous potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) and set out planning for the future of the community. As planning efforts occurred, it soon became evident there would be a need for advanced parking management. In 2015—less than two years before the lines would open—Aurora hired consultants Kimley-Horn to evaluate the implementation of comprehensive parking management within the community.

The study was driven by the fact that RTD intended to construct most light rail stations without the addition of significant public parking—a decision that could negatively affect surrounding neighborhoods and businesses as new parking demands were generated in the community. The study was intended to lay the groundwork for creating a public parking management entity in the area. This new program would be a radical shift for a community with no preexisting parking assets.

As the consultants and the City of Aurora worked together, the basis for the program evolved from primarily parking management to more of a parking and mobility entity focused on not only the provision of parking but also the provision of pedestrian, cycling, transit, and connectivity amenities. The decision to provide these features as part of the program was made to create a more cohesive connection with the community, linking the transit stations through enhanced first- and last-mile amenities.

Planning Process
During the course of an eight-month period, Aurora and Kimley- Horn worked hand-in-hand to identify a program structure, largely based on best-management practices assembled from around the country. The resulting Parking and Mobility Program Business Plan, which was delivered in summer 2015, provided a rare platform to define a program based on the best our industry has to offer. Throughout the project, we joked that Aurora had the opportunity to create a parking utopia, where they learned from all the lessons of the many communities that had previously braved this transition. Before long, what was a funny line became a mantra for the project, with these central tenets:

  • The community, including the customer and the economic vitality of the community, is the most important aspect of the program.
  • It’s about so much more than parking; the system should be a conduit for improving mobility, access, and growth within the community.
  • Enforcement should be based on compliance and education rather than on heavy-handed regulations.
  • Technologies should be designed to be easy to use for both the customer and the manager.
  • The staff should act as ambassadors for the program, helping the community learn about how and why we manage parking.
  • The community should be engaged throughout the life of the program, helping define the future by providing feedback.
  • Decisions should be made based on real data from the community, ensuring that new program elements meet the needs of those they serve.
  • Parking should be priced to manage demand and promote community needs, not generate revenue.
  • Any positive revenue generated by the parking program should be reinvested into the community.

Central to these themes was the concept of building the program around the community. Utopia doesn’t have to mean cutting-edge technologies, progressive policies, or innovative strategies. Simply put, the Aurora Parking and Mobility Program should be built with the success of the community and program in mind.

Implementing the Plan
As the parking and mobility manager for a brand-new program within a city, what would your first task be? How would you implement a comprehensive business plan in a mere 12 months? Being the first parking and mobility manager for the City of Aurora means having the opportunity to be in an exciting position to help shape a program that puts the customer first and is about much more than parking.

With that excitement also come challenges related to a lack of infrastructure and history. The Aurora Parking and Mobility Program Business Plan serves as the city’s guiding policy document but also very specifically outlines action items that need to be implemented with a phased approach. These action items serve as the foundation of a work plan that will create a program from the ground up to support neighborhood access, promote economic development, and drive ridership to Aurora’s new light rail line opening at the end of the year.

Implementation of the business plan required a multi-pronged approach focused on education and outreach, municipal code development, contracting, and the establishment of fees and permitting. Because parking touches so many of the daily functions of a city, an interdepartmental team was formed of professionals from seven different departments, all working together to create the program.

A series of public meetings was held, with more being scheduled, to educate the public about the proposed neighborhood parking permit program. In the public meetings, residents learn how the program will benefit them and provide access to their communities after light rail operations commence.

Working meetings were established with the city attorney’s office to revise a municipal code that included little to nothing about parking programs, enforcement, or citation adjudication. Finally, requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts were executed to implement what will be a completely outsourced implementation of the parking and mobility program.

A true team effort, Aurora’s first parking facility opened in March with the completion of a conference center hotel project. Much has been accomplished, yet much is left to complete on the action item list.

What’s Ahead?
As a cornerstone of the program’s development, Aurora will continue to provide education and outreach to residents, businesses, and city departments regarding the benefits of a holistic parking management system. The city will be contracting with a qualified parking services vendor in the late summer to implement the municipal operations side of the parking and mobility program, including managed on- and off-street parking, enforcement, and the issuance of parking permits. The program is also deeply involved in economic development and redevelopment opportunities to identify how parking can assist in furthering Aurora’s urban development vision around nine new TOD sites. And finally, the city is continuing to work with transportation partners, such as car share and shuttle operators to provide additional mobility options to residents, businesses, and visitors. It is an exciting time for Aurora, with many changes on the way. Stay tuned to find out if Aurora achieves parking utopia with the implementation of the parking and mobility business plan.

ROBERT FERRIN is parking and mobility manager with the City of Aurora, Colo. He can be reached at rferrin@auroragov.org.

BRETT WOOD, PE, CAPP, is a parking and transportation planner with Kimley-Horn. He can be reached at brett.wood@kimleyhorn.com.

TPP-2016-04 Ahead of the Train