Tag Archives: case study

GARAGE CASE STUDY: An Automated Solution to Parking Perils

By Christian Hermansen

PARKING IS A NECESSARY EVIL IN THE PUBLIC’S MIND. It’s something we all do be­fore going shopping, hanging out with friends, or catching a game. It’s the experi­ence before the experience.

As someone who has recently joined the parking-sphere, I see parking as something where you either have a neutral experience or a below-­average one. Con­sumers rarely perceive a top-notch parking experience.

This lines up with the feedback I hear from friends, family, and members of the general public. People forget the times where everything worked perfectly but re­member the bad experi­ences when it all went wrong. Circling for ages and not being able to find a space, getting confused by not knowing where to drive, and the resulting congestion are all reasons for a negative parking experience.

Parking is also (normally) the first impression a customer gets of the place he or she has just arrived. Everyone knows how important the first impression is in any interaction! It sets the tone for the expe­rience. Making it easy, stress-free, and frictionless means your customer is content when he or she walks in the door ready to engage with your offering rather than lamenting over the bad experience in your park­ing lot.

Many large providers and operators of parking, particularly shopping centers, airports, and cities, are acknowledging this and are taking steps to ensure the best neutral (or even net positive) experience possible for users of their parking. If only there was some way of automatically displaying occupancy and guiding people to available parking spaces.

Circling for ages and not being able to find a space, getting confused by not knowing where to drive, and the resulting congestion are all reasons for a negative parking experience.

Case Study: Irvine Spectrum Center

The Irvine Company has worked for five years to make parking easier for visitors to the massive Southern California shopping center the Irvine Spectrum Cen­ter. It started with the outdoor parking area and then moved to the indoor spaces, with a number of custom requirements catered for along the way.

When the company sought to install another in­door solution at the new Block 800 parking garage on the south side of the site, it took into consideration lessons learned from its established Irvine Center parking areas. Being a new garage, a key component of this project was to keep that minimal, slick, and premium look and feel with the parking guidance installation.

Since implementing the initial parking guidance project at the Irvine Spectrum Center, a new method of detecting vehicles, using an eye-safe, class-one laser sensor mounted in the middle of the driving aisle instead of an older, Bluetooth sensor, had been developed. Users say it offers detection ac­curacy but also greater reliability from eliminating batteries, having no hardware on the often harsh road surface, and a lower cost of install.
But with a new sensor in the equation, the integration done in the past with the site’s existing strip-lighting and LED guidance lights needed a redesign to incorporate new components.

With a large, internal team of product and hardware engi­neers, along with a dose of can-do attitude, the vendor was able to produce a new fixture to seamlessly attach to the end of lighting enclosures.

There are some other significant benefits to integrating parking guidance technology with existing lighting infra­structure. For example, integrating with the existing infra­structure at the parking lot meant an extremely low-impact installation. Installers were able to use an existing power supply and wire power into the same power supply as the lights, reducing costly cabling or the need for specialized power points.

Anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests the parking guidance is working. Speaking to parking users on a recent site visit, I was told they thought the garage looked smart, new, premium, and clean. Users also told us they enjoyed the easy journey and fast parking and compared the experience they’d just had with an experience in a garage without parking guidance. Customers often cited those “red and green lights and the signs” as the reason for that.

An easier parking experience gets you off on the right foot with your customers. Reduce the time to park, re­duce congestion, reduce circulation time and increase your customer’s experience.

Read the article here.

CHRISTIAN HERMANSEN is brand manager with Frogparking. He can be reached at christian@frogparking.com.


Case Study: Putting the Pieces Together

By Cali Yang

A winning combination of features makes a transit-oriented development work.

THE WALNUT CREEK TRANSIT VILLAGE IN WALNUT CREEK, CALIF., is an urban mixed-use development that includes studio apartments, retail, restaurants, and public plazas. This is one of the first of many new Transit Villages being planned by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The new South Garage is a five-level, 920-space structure that serves residents, visitors, and BART patrons and features artwork installations created by an award-winning artist.

Putting the Pieces Together

The garage is developed on an existing surface lot and involves access and traffic circulation improvements, including a BART patron kiss-n-ride drop-off, landscaping, and a 2,200 square-foot, single-story BART police building.

The garage is developed on an existing surface lot and involves access and traffic circulation improve­ments, including a BART patron kiss-n-ride drop-off, landscaping, and a 2,200 square-foot, single-story BART police building. The police facility includes administrative offices, a locker room with restrooms, kitchen and dining area, and detention and interview rooms. Included in the project scope are enhanced bike and pedestrian paths and a bus facility expansion with 15 new bus bays for the Central Contra Costa Tran­sit Authority. Other features include a car counting system, provisions for electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, and bioretention planters in the bus area that collect rainwater from the rooftop.


The Walnut Creek Transit Village is a premier lifestyle center being developed in two phases. With direct con­nection to BART, commuters can easily access various forms of transportation that connect to the entire Bay Area and its major businesses, attractions, and air­ports. Also located near the Transit Village is the Iron Horse Regional Trail, which offers pedestrians, bicy­clists, and horseback riders a safe thoroughfare.

The project is located at an extremely busy com­muter intersection: Ygnacio Valley Road and the exit ramps of I-680 and CA-24. The early involvement of onsite construction and design team members pro­vided a coordinated site logistics and construction management plan. The plan meets the requirements of the City of Walnut Creek and BART and maintains no impact to BART patrons and commuter traffic during peak times. The logistics plan was circulated to all team members and trade partners to help create trans­parency on the requirements of the plan and led to an efficient delivery and pickup schedule without any effects on the project.


The purpose of the Transit Village is to create a gate­way to Walnut Creek’s downtown core and integrate with the city and surrounding communities. The complex features an active street level with public plazas, central paseo, and a hub to encourage residents and visitors to ride public transportation. The garage can be easily accessed by two vehicular entry points and features dynamic wayfinding signage that dis­plays availability of parking for the new and existing  parking facilities. In keeping with the city’s public arts master plan, the garage features several Dan Corson sculptures and art installation pieces mounted to the facade facing the BART station and trackway. Be­cause the Transit Village is a priority public art site, special design features were included with the vision of the garage to ensure the facade was aesthetically complementary to the surrounding neighborhood and future buildings.

The parking facility also features 15 bus bays to accommodate Contra Costa County regional transit buses and the Walnut Creek Trolley Bus. The city trol­ley buses are powered by electric induction motors for which the parking facility provides two charging pads.
The kiss-n-ride patron drop-off is a beautifully landscaped zone to the north of the existing parking structure. This amenity was a relocation of an existing patron drop-off adjacent to the BART station entrance. The zone includes enhanced lighting and pavement materials, as well as seating for BART patrons awaiting pick-up. This kiss-n-ride is also the newly established location for all ride-share pick-ups and drop-offs to the station.


The parking garage was developed in stages to mini­mize effects on existing BART operations, as well as pedestrian and vehicular access to the existing facili­ties. This included permitting make-ready work so all of BART’s services could be maintained in operation uninterrupted, relocation of the patron drop-off, and rerouting of the storm drainage of the existing garage to conform to current state requirements. The project program also included the requirement to tie the new facilities into the existing BART infrastructure. An example of this was that the new police facility had to have direct communication from the new facility and could not be tied into or routed through the garage systems. The challenge was that the new garage was between the new police building and the transit station and existing parking structure, which required separate routing of all communication and power feeds to the station, as well as emergency power connections to the existing parking facility gener­ator. This equipment needed to be coordinated and installed without disruption to existing facilities while avoiding the new south garage project.

New overhead high-voltage lines needed to be chan­neled within the existing parking facility, then out and around the south garage, as well as communication trenching through existing pedestrian plazas and fare gate locations without disruption to ongoing opera­tions. These were very difficult challenges as BART is heavily used at this location and has stringent re­quirements for work hours and measures for meeting patron expectations.

Read the article here.

CALI YANG is marketing manager with International Parking Design, Inc. She can be reached at cyang@oc.ipd-global.com.


THE GREEN STANDARD: Taking Stock in What You Have: A Case Study

By Josh Naramore

IN THREE YEARS LIVING IN MY HOUSE, I have passed through the kitchen countless times. The shades that hung above the kitchen windows never impressed me, but when I spontaneously removed them last weekend, I was taken aback by the change. I had more light and could see the beautiful wood trim surrounding the window, and all it took was a different perspective.

Sometimes when things have existed for a long time, we take them for grant­ed, especially in the public sector. It’s important for cities, universities, airports, and other institutions that offer transit service to continually revisit their brand and marketing and not take these assets for granted.

For almost 40 years, the City of Grand Rapids, Mich., has operated a transit ser­vice to shuttle commuters from remote parking facilities to job centers through­out our downtown area. This service is paid for with parking revenue and has recently gone through a transformation to better meet the growing demands of the city.

History of DASH

The city has operated a transit service since the 1970s; it was originally branded as the Grand Rapids Urban Shuttle—the Gus Bus. In the 1990s, Gus was rebranded to the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH), with new colors, logo, and bus wraps. Commuters showed their parking cards and received free transit trips. The service was offered Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. DASH offered 10-minute service from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. and 30-minute service the rest of the day.

DASH continued without revision for nearly 20 years. Ridership remained flat during those years with about 1,000 rid­ers per day. The service routes had not kept up with changes in the downtown development environment.

Grand Rapids has changed dramati­cally. There are thousands more residents, and employment has grown to almost 50,000 employees. A new convention center increased the number of down­town visitors, and Van Andel Arena hosts a growing number of concerts, special events, and games of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. With all this growth and change, DASH faced new challenges and opportunities.

The Rebrand

I did not realize what the DASH was until a few months after starting my job with the city. Yet, our department was respon­sible for the service. A free transit shuttle was a huge asset that was not being fully leveraged—only a small percentage of commuters even knew about it.

Our convention and visitors bureau requested that the city explore increas­ing DASH service to weekends and later hours of service and rebrand its look and feel. The city partnered with a private marketing firm, The Grey Matter Group, and worked with downtown employers, residents, hotels, and daily users to de­vise ways to improve the service.

We went into the rebrand exercise with eyes wide open and a willingness to change everything. After ridership surveys of users and drivers and focus groups with other stakeholders, the city decided to keep the name. Our team spent six months workshopping logo designs and color palettes and testing marketing tag lines. We also thoughtfully worked through changes to service routes and hours of operation. Instead of focusing solely on the Monday-Friday daytime commuter population, the service was expanded to target growing retail and service employment as well as visitors.

In August 2018, the new DASH service started with two new routes that offer seven-day service and late-night week­end service. Expanded hours give visitors attending special events access to cheaper parking in remote parking lots. Bus headways are maintained consistently at seven to eight min­utes all day. DASH got a refreshed logo and color scheme, along with maps and marketing materials in English and Span­ish. For the first time, the city also began purchasing advertis­ing on billboards, at event venues, and in local businesses to market DASH.

The Future

The expanded service has increased our service costs by 50 percent. Ridership has increased 30 percent year-to-year and continues to grow every month. Parking revenue in historically underutilized surface lots is up 20 percent over previous years. Because of responsiveness of the hotel and visitor businesses to the changes, the city is exploring the potential for private revenue to help offset some of the increased costs. There is also new demand from residents, employers, and businesses to expand the DASH service into neighborhood business dis­tricts outside downtown.

The city has partnered with our downtown development authority and will leverage funding to install improved transit shelters at all DASH stops. These will include solar lighting, trash/recycling receptacles, benches, improved signage, and advertising panels. These ad panels combined with selling advertising space on buses will help pay for snow removal and cleanup at all stops. We’ve also started purchasing new compressed natural gas vehicles and will test electric vehicles in partnership with our regional transit agency. All the new vehicles will have more transparent windows to better allow riders to see out and be seen.

The DASH rebranding has demonstrated to our community the effects of expanded mobility accessibility by thoughtfully updating something that has existed in plain sight for a long time. Remember the shades on the window? Often we, as transportation professionals, are under pressure to deliver better customer service by purchasing new technologies or larger capital investments. Sometimes, taking stock and understanding the existing assets in our communities can have a more significant impact.

Read the article here.

JOSH NARAMORE is director, mobile GR and parking services, with the City of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Co-Chair of IPMI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at jnaramore@grand-rapids.mi.us.

Bringing It All Together

Creating a sense of community through parking.

19-06 Article Bringing it togetherBy Brittany Moore

AS A POSITIVE PERSON WITH A MARKETING BACKGROUND, it was initially difficult to step into a role with parking. Sure, I enjoy a challenge, but the negative connotation surrounding parking weighed heavily. There was lit­tle public support, morale was low, and communication was lacking between departments, community stakeholders, and event venues.

I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of my marketing practices into parking. I try to look at things in municipal government, parking included, through the eyes of the customer. This does not mean giving the customer whatever he or she wants and never saying no, but it does means aiming focus to­ward customers—their needs, feedback, and overall experience. Losing sight of the customer is doing a disservice not only to the customer, but to your operation as well. Now, let’s be real, in the parking business you are not going to make everyone happy, but small steps in the right direction sure take a lot of stress out of the day-to-day.

The City of Greenville, S.C., has 11 garages, four surface lots, and 800 on-street parking spaces, totaling close to 9,000 spaces. Many of the facilities are tied to development projects in the form of hotels, office complexes, event venues, residences, restau­rants, and retail. Here are a few tips from Greenville to connect with the community through parking:
You have no idea how tattered these look until you replace them. It is an easy fix that makes garages look cleaner, is highly visible, and that people notice.

Small Touches Matter
Small details make all the difference to customers as they walk to and from their vehicles. Painting elevator walls and landings is a simple wayfinding technique that also brightens the garage. We took it a step further and applied an epoxy paint with speckled flakes to landing floors. It took a few tries to get this right, but our maintenance team found the perfect color combo that hides stains and gives the garage that polished look. That paired with clean, new signage and tiled ele­vator flooring make the areas more approachable.
We started making these changes, and, much to our surprise, customers noticed. We partnered with local high schools to hang student artwork in one of our garages; it serves as not only a focal point but as part of the overall wayfinding package. We were awarded an IPMI award for this project in 2015.

Another garage has wind chimes hanging in an adjacent breezeway that provide a relaxing cadence on the walk to work. Local maps are hung in each ga­rage that detail public restrooms, ATMs, and major landmarks. These maps are in frames with printed inserts that allow changes to be made easily and afford-ably as our city grows. Another simple replacement that truly made a difference involved trash cans and clearance-height bars. I’ve come quite a way in my short parking career—now I get excited to order both! You have no idea how tattered these look until you replace them. It is an easy fix that makes garages look cleaner, is highly visible, and that people notice.

Taking Ownership
Our employees are ambassadors for our city, and we urge them to take pride in that role as well as in their workspaces. The city has full-time maintenance em­ployees who are each assigned to two garages. They are in charge of cleaning, minor repairs, lighting, painting, sweeping, and removing trash. We encourage them to get to know those parking in our garages. This has helped to reduce calls to our office, and customers seem pleased with the garage aesthetics.
Employees are praised for going the extra mile— helping a customer in need, even if that means carrying a box a block away to someone’s office. When hiring, make a concerted effort to build a team that shares your philosophies and goals. If you are lucky enough to find a group that wants to put in the extra effort, take on special projects, and make customers happy, hold on and don’t let go! More importantly, when they take the time to go the extra mile—for example, come in early to paint an entire stairwell top to bottom at the request of a hotel—you as a manager need to take the time to admire the work and praise all involved.

Building Community Relationships
The importance of building community relationships cannot be stressed enough and has been one of the keys to Greenville parking’s operational success. We meet regularly with downtown merchants, hotel and concert venue staff, and homeowners associations. These meetings take place in various forms: face-to-­face, phone calls, emails, board meetings, and lunches. Building these relationships keeps our operation run­ning efficiently with fewer headaches.
We make sure stakeholders know when we are performing any maintenance work in the garages, whether sweeping, blowing, lighting repair, touch-up painting, or pressure washing, not only because we want them to be informed but because we want them to know the garage they use every day receives just as much attention as the next. More importantly, they know who to call with any concerns before elevating it to a higher level.
We ask for input on paint colors, signage wording, and cleaning schedules. We ask for suggestions and share our goals with them. Quick and effective commu­nication makes all the difference. Greenville continues to be generous with parking specials to thank our cus­tomers and encourage downtown visitors. Every week­end, parking in our 900-space garage and in on-street spaces is free. We offer free parking specials for major holidays citywide. This is a perk that comes with great support and input from our downtown businesses and visitors. Programs such as these, along with other ef­forts, have really helped shape the image of parking in Greenville (outside of enforcement, of course).


It only took a few months in my role to see the low-hanging aesthetic fruit in our garages. I often heard that the garages were confusing and drab and not user-friendly. Our monthly parkers could navigate the garages, but guests were lost. Having six hotels and more than a dozen residential complexes attached to the garages meant working toward a better solution. That became top priority.

Our sign campaign began with an inventory of current signage and a list of desired signage. This turned into quite a large project involving the city’s public information team, but it produced great results. Fresh signs were strategically placed for pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and we added sig­nage in elevators and stairwells, including maps on the ground levels. All of this reduced confusion, and we started to get those (rare) parking compliments. With 11 garages this is an ongoing project, but we are well on our way.
The most important thing to note when starting a project like this is to stay organized. Be prepared to meet, take pictures, keep a tape measure at close reach (so important—those signs look much smaller when looking up at them from the ground), spend lots of time in your garages, and add more signs even after you thought you were finished. It is no easy task, and to be successful requires a fresh set of eyes. Have someone who’s not a frequent parker walk and then drive the garages with you. Let that person point out what you may be missing. After your signs are in place, keep an eye on them and make sure your staff does too. Do not be surprised if that sign in the elevator only lasts two months before it needs to be replaced. Be smart and save yourself some time by ordering in advance spares of the small signs that might be more prone to damage.


Customer Service

You always hear it, but any organization is a reflection of its employees. An employee’s attitude, determination, and demeanor all translate to his or her work. It is important to take the time to invest in, encourage and get to know your employees, especially those in customer-facing positions. It all starts with hiring the right people and giving them the tools to succeed in this business.
I am a firm believer that mistakes are inevitable, but you must use them as an opportunity to learn. I am not afraid to admit that we should have done something differently and to make adjustments after the fact, but I will support employees if they were doing what they felt was right.
We offer a wide range and many types of training. The most effective seems to be discussing real scenar­ios with employees and how they handled or would handle each situation. Sometimes this means analyz­ing phone calls, event operations, and field decisions. Mostly, we try to take advantage of group training sce­narios, but we take time for one-on-one trainings if the need arises.

Training should be positive, informative, and concise. Get your point across, address the tone and dialogue, ask for feedback, and offer advice. Engage the employee in the training to ensure you are making progress. Ultimately, you want to get to a point that you trust your employees to carry on your customer-service mentality when you are no longer in the room. This takes time and requires a lot of attention.

I have found sometimes a pat on the back (and may­be a lunch) is the best motivation you can offer. Feeling appreciated goes a long way—it is something we as managers need to be reminded of because with cus­tomer service you should always be striving for more. Complacency is unacceptable.

So there you have it: Make the extra effort, build those relationships, provide exceptional customer service, and pay attention to the details. But also take the time to invest in your employees and get involved in your operation. Remember, it is all what you make it.

Read the article here.

BRITTANY MOORE is Assistant general  with the City of Greenville, S.C. She can be reached at bmoore@greenvillesc.gov


Case Study: But I fed the meter!

How one busy municipality solved the challenge of short-term downtown parking without alienating anyone, with great success.

PARKING AVAILABILITY in a vibrant downtown is something most people entirely misunderstand. The general feeling is that there is not enough parking when space is not available right in front of the destination, but the reality in most cases is that there is ample parking, although a person may have to walk a block or two. It is also interesting to note that folks will typically walk farther than this when parking to shop at an indoor shopping mall. It is all in perception.

I have been asked the following questions more than any others when it comes to parking in the central downtown:

  • But my meter has been fed all day—why did I get a ticket?
  • Why can’t my employees or I park in front of my business for the day?
  • Why can’t my tenants keep their vehicles parked in front of their apartments in the downtown?

I want to dive into these questions to clarify why it is important to have parking regulations when the desire is to have a thriving downtown business district. Finding a solution to parking problems is not always an easy task. The pro­cess can sometimes take months and, as you can see in the case of Morgantown, W.V., years of trial and error.

The Beginning

I want to start in November 1996 when I be­gan my career with the Morgantown Parking Authority. At that time parking on High Street, Morgantown’s main street for businesses, was regulated from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays; and Sundays were free. The problem business­es faced at that time was when their shops would open at 10 a.m., there were no parking spaces available on High Street for their cus­tomers—those prime spots were already taken by business owners, employees, and those liv­ing in the downtown.

With the City of Morgantown bordering the West Virginia University campus, we con­tinually face these unique parking challenges. Our journey began to try and find a solution to this problem. We started by meeting with the stakeholders in the downtown to receive input and ideas to try and find the right answers.

In August 1999, the Morgantown Parking Authority partnered with Main Street Morgan­town to hire John D. Edwards, a transportation consultant out of Atlanta, Ga., to begin a parking study in Morgantown. Within that study, it was noted that there were currently time limits in place for short-term as well as long-term parking, but there was no provision in place to enforce the time limits. The study went on to say that as long as an individual continued to feed the meter, the vehicle could essentially stay in the same spot all day.

Edwards’ recommendation was to enforce the posted time limits, but why? Why does it matter who parks where and for how long? Through this study, we, as well as city stake­holders, began to understand how vital short-term parking was to the downtown business district. The study showed how imperative it is to have vehicle turnover to promote successful downtown businesses. Nationwide, parking studies show that 90 percent of people shop­ping, eating, or visiting the downtown stay for less than two hours. If business owners, employees, or people living in the downtown business district leave their vehicles parked long-term in this district on a daily basis, where will potential customers park?

Beginning Enforcement

After multiple meetings and continued complaints of vehicles being parked in prime spaces all day and tak­ing up customer parking, the parking authority started monitoring the number of cars that were parking long-term in these areas. Throughout approximately two months, there were 17 vehicles noted using the short-term parking spaces for long-term parking on a daily basis. This information along with concerns from business owners was brought to the city council, and in November 2007, there was an ordinance amendment that would allow the parking time limits to be enforced. The information regarding the ordinance amendment was distributed through the local newspaper, radio, and television as well as written warnings being issued before this ordinance was enforced.
The penalties for parking long-term in a short-term space were a $5 ticket for being in a space longer than two hours even if the meter had not expired, then a $10 ticket if the vehicle remained in the space for an addi­tional hour, and finally a $25 ticket if the vehicle stayed four or more consecutive hours. Essentially, a vehicle could receive $40 in parking tickets per day even if there was money in the meter for parking long-term in a short-term space.

This process worked for a while but did not wholly deter those that were abusing the short-term spaces, and some drivers eventually figured out that if they moved forward one parking space before their two hours were up, the parking authority would have to re-chalk the tires and start over with the timed parking.

Alternative Ideas

So back to the drawing board to find an alternative solu­tion. With much discussion both internally and again with the downtown stakeholders affected by this issue, it was proposed to the city council to create a downtown parking zone with steeper fines to discourage the abuse:

  • First, the hourly parking rate would increase from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour.
  • If a vehicle was parked in this zone more than two hours per day, a warning would be issued with in­formation instructing the driver that they could not park in this zone longer than two hours.
  • If the vehicle was seen again on a different day vio­lating this ordinance, a $20 ticket would be issued.
  • If this vehicle continued to park long-term, a $100 ticket would be issued each day for the remainder of the calendar year the vehicle continued to be parked in that zone.

The downtown parking zone was established by city council in July 2016 to reflect the changes. These changes have worked very well—customers can now find parking spaces in the downtown close to where they are shopping, doing business, eating, or visiting.
The one misconception about this ordinance is that if a customer comes to town to shop and later wants to come back for dinner, he or she will be cited for being in the parking zone for more than two hours per day. This is not true. First, a vehicle has to be seen parked for more than two hours in this zone on a regu­lar basis before any action is taken. Then a warning is written with an explanation highlighted in bright pink on the bottom of the warning to inform the person that they cannot be in the zone for more than two hours a day. If the warning is ignored, then we begin to enforce the ordinance. As a side note, although the downtown parking zone was designed to enforce short-term parking regulations, there is sufficient long-term park­ing for business owners, employees, and residents of this zone.


As I write this article, it has been two years since this ordinance has been in place, and out of the 80,000+ tickets that were written during this period, only 12 different vehicles have received the $100 ticket.

Why Does It Matter?

I want to return to the question I asked earlier: Why does it matter who parks where and for how long? Why can’t drivers continue to feed the meter all day? First, I want to state that from the parking authority’s per­spective, it does not matter who parks in these spaces because every quarter is the same as the next. But, from the view of businesses in the downtown, it does matter who parks in these spaces and how many times a day these spaces turn over.

Why do these particular spaces need to be available for customers and patrons of the downtown? A piece written to Uptown Lexington, N.C., businesses from Uptown Lexington, Inc. in December 1998 stated that a recent study had shown that if a customer came to town, stayed 30 minutes and spent $5, then left, and the stores were open 40 hours a week, each space would be worth $17,000 a year in commerce. Most parking studies show that the downtown parking space should turn over between five and 10 times per day to be most beneficial for the businesses.

The downtown parking zone was not put in place to discourage parking in the downtown, but to encourage people to visit the city by opening up the most conve­nient parking spaces closest to their destinations. We are all creatures of habit, and we will circle the block or parking lot more than once trying to find the closest spot possible.

I should also mention that three out of five Mor­gantown Parking Authority Board members own busi­nesses within the parking zone, and although there was some skepticism at the beginning of creating this zone, the owners, as well as their customers, agree that it is working. Those visiting the downtown can now find convenient parking spaces close to their destination.

In our efforts to open up spaces in the downtown parking zone, we also offer other options for those working or living in the downtown. There are dis­counted monthly parking permits for the gated parking garages that are one block from downtown, there are long-term parking lots, and we added a parking app in February 2018 to help make parking more conve­nient. There have been more than 60,000 transac­tions through the app since February. One of the best features of the app is that drivers get a text message 15 minutes before their meter time expires. They can choose to go back to their cars or add time on the app.

In my 20+ years with the Morgantown Parking Au­thority, we have made a point of regularly educating the public as to why we have the regulations that we have in place as well as doing regular reviews to see what is and what is not working. The goal of any successful public parking program should always be focused on the needs of all those involved. I know that it is im­possible to make everyone happy, but at least they will always have a place to park!

Read the article here.

DANA MCKENZIE, CAPP, is executive director of the Morgantown, W.V., Parking Authority. He can be reached at dmckenzie@morgantownwv.gov.


By Dana McKenzie, CAPP


The Parking Professional: Technology of Parking and Market Disruption

By Jeff Pinyot

THE BUZZWORD IN BUSINESS IS “MARKET DISRUPTION.” The excitement about disrupting a market is that in the first place, we start with a thriving and confirmed market that is in the cross­hairs of investors. Take the parking industry: It doesn’t take much research to acknowledge that parking is huge and profitable, so it’s a market worthy of looking for possible cracks and creases for new methodologies and possible disruption. If it currently takes 10 different vendor or specialty groups, from hangtag suppliers to PARCs providers, to have a functioning piece of vehicle real estate, but only four would be needed through new disruptive technologies, the one who figures out the proverbial Rubik’s Cube would be disruptive and enjoy a lucrative result.

What does market disruption mean and why should you care about it? In layman’s terms, some­thing that disrupts a market is something that chal­lenges the way it’s always been done and threatens its conventional wisdom. Take Blockbuster video stores: Its former stores are now outlets for Hallow­een costumes in October and sparklers in July. The empty storefronts are a reminder of a disrupted mar­ket. Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and others com­pletely disrupted the video rental business Wayne Huizenga created. Understand, there is still a market for watching movies—in fact a larger market that also includes the new verb “binge-watching.” We watch our entertainment in a more efficient manner. Similarly, parking won’t go away disrupted—it will just be done differently.

I once heard “Shark Tank” investor Mark Cuban say he would invest in any disruptor of a proven market. Look at our industry, for example. Parking reservation apps are huge market disruptors and getting plenty of attention from venture capital firms. When I go to Chicago overnight on business, I stay at the Palmer House. If I park my car with a valet, it’s going to cost me the price of tuition at nearby North­western University. But, if I use a parking app to find a space, I’ll save a bundle. That is market disruption. There will always be an alternative to the posted rate.

What does market disruption mean and why should you care about it? In layman’s terms, something that disrupts a market is something that challenges the way it’s always been done and threatens its conventional wisdom.

Case Study: Pittsburgh
There are three market disruptors in Pittsburgh—three companies building autonomous vehicles. Why Pittsburgh? One reason: the Pittsburgh left (hang on—I’ll explain)! Well, that’s the main reason, but there are others. First, the city’s streets are not in a grid pattern. There are more bridges in Pittsburgh than in Venice, Italy.

Then, there is the Pittsburgh left. Say you are in a left-hand turn lane waiting for a green light, but the light turns green and there is no turn arrow. What to do? Not a problem if you are first in line in Pittsburgh. The first car in line to go left simply turns in front of the oncoming traffic and without anyone getting killed. It’s courtesy in the ‘Burgh to let the first driver through. The autonomous vehicle companies figured that if their driverless cars could do that, they can drive anywhere.

Transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft have severely injured the taxi cab market, but they are also affecting airport parking. Smart airport parking operations are finding ways to make money from these disruptors. The reduced cost of TNCs means people who live closer to the airport Uber or Lyft there instead of driving and parking. Everyone has their own equation as to the economics of Ubering versus driving and parking. But on the business side, fees for TNCs to enter airports and defined staging areas that require payment by the TNCs are making up some of the losses.

New Innovations
Frictionless parking is on everybody’s mind in the parking world. What innovation will we see next? One of the big areas the industry has seen growth is in parking guidance systems (PGS). There are many players in that industry, from pucks to ultrasonic to camera-based. PGS can be costly but also can be justified quite easily, as their systems attract parkers to specific facilities. Some operators still guess when the garage is full and put the sign out proclaiming such. I’ve driven by many “full” garages where two or three cars were leaving.

Finding the Right Disruptors
When considering a new disruptive technology, ask questions! Competitors of new technologies might try to sink the claims of new innovators. Claims that wireless technologies aren’t proven, for exam­ple, challenge conventional wisdom, considering almost no one has wired phones anymore and we can stream hi-def videos on our smart devices almost anywhere. The owner who thinks ahead will not only still be in business but will be making more money than ever before. Embrace and be flexible. As autonomous vehicles become common, parking spaces will shrink from nine feet to seven feet wide. Systems will have to adapt—and some already have. Buyers need to think ahead.

Thinking Ahead
Rick West is an alt-use specialist and CEO of the Millennium Parking Garage concession in Chicago, Ill. He is always looking for alternative uses for that massive behemoth. Have an alternative use plan in place so you aren’t left with open space and an emp­ty wallet. Some alt uses are making more money than do parking spaces. As an industry, we should freely share best practices in this area.

A way of protection from empty spaces is right-sizing a garage. In right-sizing, design a garage that is the correct size and is flexible and fluid to the actual needs it will see. The best example I have is a mixed-use property that offers public parking on the lower three levels and gated resident parking on the top five levels. This guess rarely pays off. Rather than gating the top five levels, use a flexible line of demarcation. Expand the resident parking from the top down through a PGS and sell the extra spaces to the public, rather than having empty and unsellable spaces beyond the gate.

Change is good and prepared change is better. What new market disruptors will we see in the next few years? Chicken Little, the sky is not falling, and no, little boy, there is no wolf!

Read the article here.

JEFF PINYOT is president of ECO Falcon Vision IPGS/ECO Lighting Solutions and member of IPMI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at jspinyot@ecoparkinglights.com.


Parking Under the Canals

Where do you put parking in a town crisscrossed by canals when almost all the land is spoken for?

Under water. Of course. That’s exactly what happened in De Pijp, Amsterdam, established in the 1880s and waterlocked, so to speak. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and people eager to live in its quaint houses, and its streets became clogged with parked cars. So architects and designers did the most logical thing: Eased the parking crunch with a new structure built underneath the town’s canals. The resulting Albert Cuyp Parking Garage is light and bright inside, holds 600 cars and 60 bicycles, and is a bit of an engineering marvel. It’s the first garage of its kind (we think it’s pretty awesome!) and, some hope, one of many to come that will use underwater space for parking.

The Parking Professional features this garage and explains how it was designed and built and how it’s used in daily life, with plenty of photos. Read the whole story here. Then let us know in the comments: Is this the wave of the future?


Case Study: Improving the Fan Experience

18-09 Improving the Fan Experience18-09 Improving Fan experience pg 2

By David Hoyt

The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home to the Atlanta Falcons football team and Atlanta United FC soccer) opened for business in 2017. The state-of-the-art facility replaced the Georgia Dome, which was in operation since 1992. From day one, the new stadium’s owners challenged both internal and external team members to create a fan experience like no other, and from the unique architectural design elements to cutting-edge technologies inside and out, Mercedes-Benz Stadium did just that. And, by the way, the new stadium, which rivals some of the most iconic event venues in the world, includes one of the most innovative parking experiences anywhere.

If you have never been, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in­cludes some of the most captivating features ever seen in a sports arena environment. The design includes an eight-panel retractable roof that resembles and opens like a pinwheel, allowing the stadium to open and close depending on weather and other elements.
Inside the stadium, a 360-degree “halo” cylindrical video board curves around the top, from end zone to end zone, showcasing game highlights, advertisements, and other graphics and features. Further, the stadium also features a 100-yard bar stretching the length of the football field on the upper concourse, as well as a fanta­sy football lounge and premium field-level club seating behind the team benches.

How parking made a difference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Ownership continues to invest in this world-class venue by adding more entry and exit points into the stadium, creating a Home Depot Backyard fan zone, a future pedestrian bridge providing access from certain parking areas, and a nearby MARTA transit station. Ownership is relentless in providing a fan experience like no other.

One of the most critical elements to improving the fan experience was to accommodate the parking needs of the thousands of spectators arriving to events at the stadium. In a place like Atlanta, Ga., the majority of event attendees drive, so the project required the inte­gration of numerous parking facilities and lots.
As is the case with most event operations, but par­ticularly a 70,000-seat urban stadium, the effective and efficient movement of vehicles in and out of the parking areas can have a profound effect on the overall fan experience. Therefore, parking was one of the highest priorities to this project. In particular, a main question was how to administer a parking program that can en­hance—not detract from—the arrival experience.

Designing a Program for Fans
The first step to ensuring a positive parking experience was to develop a parking program specifically designed for the fans. The project team, which consisted of team and ParkMobile staff, was tasked with creating a program that would work for all stakeholders, includ­ing suite holders, season ticket holders, single-game ticket holders, one-off event holders, VIPs, staff, third-party employees, volunteers, and the media. The project team had to account for each of these stake­holders and, in many cases, develop a specific parking strategy for each.

The parking program at the stadium had to effec­tively engage with the fans before their automobiles came to rest at their parking spaces. Out of those initial discussions, an interactive web interface was designed that could provide all necessary stakeholders with the ability to take their appropriate parking action remote­ly via multiple mediums.
This Mercedes-Benz parking reservation interface creates an efficient process for administering the ap­propriate parking rights to the various stakeholders. The interactive reservation system allows future park­ers to select the event they are planning to attend and the parking facility or lot in which they wish to park. The platform provides the location and details of each parking area, including a map, distance from the sta­dium, pricing, and ease of exit. Patrons can then either print their parking pass or retrieve their pass in their stadium or parking reservation app at any time. Future enhancements will include the purchase of the parking pass via certain connected cars, allowing the fan to re­serve and drive straight to a stadium parking lot via the in-vehicle navigation screen. Further, the site provides digital parking passes that are accountable and audit­able, with each game or event permit being unique to that particular date and time.

As ownership only had control of a limited number of parking spaces, the project team had to engage with the area operators to secure enough parking for the fans, staff, third-party vendors, and all other stakehold­ers. Because the program had to provide access to all stakeholders, parking inventory had to include both prime and secondary spaces. The current program includes more than 20,000 parking spaces from seven different parking operators up to two miles away from the stadium.

The Importance of Reservations
Because the stadium was going to have a high drive ratio, getting the fans to their parking areas was critical to the success of the program. The project team knew early on that we must focus primarily on providing the ability to pre-purchase and reserve parking. While parking reservations took the guesswork out of making the parking purchase decision, providing fans with real-time routing could reduce the number of people driving around looking for their parking locations.

Thanks to a partnership with Waze, every parking permit allows for real-time routing to the parking facility entrance. Not only does this help create a more efficient and pleasant experience for parkers (and parking staff), but it also helps reduce congestion and improve safety by expediting fans directly to a parking garage or lot.

Monitoring Is Key
While the program encompasses multiple parking op­erators, some have embraced the concept of improving the fan experience through parking. SP+ constantly monitors event parking in real time via its command center at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). Through a robust campus-wide camera system, as well as significant personnel on the ground, watching the situation in the parking areas and on the streets, in­gress times are closely monitored.

This system also includes real-time tracking of how many parking passes have been purchased, as well as an inventory of vehicles and used parking spaces as facilities fill up. This information is critically import­ant to the ability to park as many cars as quickly as pos­sible, taking advantage of unclaimed reservations and under-used parking areas.
GWCC recently invested in additional technology that tracks all transactions down to the smallest de­tail and is fully integrated to accept stadium parking reservations in real time. All the data—electronic and visual—is used to make real-time decisions at the most critical time of the parking experience. The parking team evaluates its performance after every event, taking into account all the factors that influence the ingress and egress of the events—weather, score, date of the event, time of the event, etc. If there are potential improvements to be made, the team takes immediate action before the next event.

Promoting Alternative Transportation
The project team knew that promoting alternative modes of transportation would reduce congestion and improve the overall fan experience at the stadium. In addition to providing significant accommodations to attendees driving vehicles, the project team focused on creating more mobility options for those who may seek an alternative to driving.
As mentioned, there is a MARTA public transpor­tation station next to the stadium, so people have the option to take the train if they choose. Ride-sharing is also growing in popularity, with many attendees being dropped off near the stadium by services such as Uber and Lyft. Mercedes-Benz Stadium partnered with Lyft to provide two pick-up/drop-off locations in close proximity to the stadium.

Another very unique element to this project was the promotion of bicycle transportation. Biking to the sta­dium is easy. The stadium partnered with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to provide an enjoyable riding experi­ence, including a bike valet at most events and 250 bike racks around the stadium.

The final step to the development and implementation of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium parking program is com­munication. It is extremely important to keep the fans connected and make them feel they are being served in the best manner possible, from arriving at the stadium in their vehicle, via public transportation, or even on a bike or on foot, throughout the course of the game or event, and when they leave at the end. In addition to the various applications and websites mentioned, the media has also been critical to helping get the word out to patrons.

Local Atlanta media regularly provide important information related to parking, technology, alter­native-transportation options, and event tailgating. Mercedes-Benz Stadium also uses social media to a great extent to communicate directly with future cus­tomers regarding events weeks in advance and their parking and transportation options the day of their planned event.

The undertaking of such a significant new stadium, in an urban downtown setting like Atlanta, comes with a number of complications. However, after less than a year in operation, they have already seen many suc­cessful events and results, including:

  • Rated No. 2 in 2017 NFL fan arrival.
  • Voted No. 1 in the NFL and MLS “Voice of the Fan” surveys.
  • Won the SportTechie award for most innovative venue.
  • Sports Business Journal Sports Breakthrough of the Year for food and beverage experience.
  • Sports Team of the Year—Atlanta United.
  • Sports Executive of the Year—Arthur Blank (owner of the Atlanta Falcons).
  • Hosted the 2018 college football playoff champion­ship game.
  • Future host of the 2019 Super Bowl and MLS All-Star Game, as well as the 2020 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

While the average, everyday event attendee may not necessarily make the connection, we in the parking in­dustry understand that without an effective and quali­ty parking and transportation program, not only would the day-to-day events be far more complicated and difficult, but it would be nearly impossible to provide the highest-level fan experience possible. The owners, managers, and decision-makers of Mercedes-Benz Stadium understood the importance of not only creat­ing a great experience inside the stadium, but outside the stadium as well. They took into account the events of the entire event day, from arrival to departure, and went to great lengths to consider the many details of a very complicated process.

Parking and transportation issues often get lost in the details of such a significant project, yet the de­velopment of a comprehensive, intuitive, and quality parking and transportation program has helped to dra­matically improve the Mercedes-Benz Stadium experi­ence for fans from beginning to end.

Read the article here.

DAVID HOYT is senior vice president, sales and account management, with ParkMobile. He can be reached at david.hoyt@parkmobile.io.


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