Tag Archives: community

The Parking & Mobility Industry Comes Together in a Time of Need

parking COVID-19 community collaborationBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

This blog is part of a special series on curb management and COVID-19. A joint effort of IPMI, Transportation for America, and ITE, this series strives to document the immediate curbside-related actions and responses to COVID-19, as well as create a knowledge base of strategies that communities can use to manage the curbside during future emergencies.

There is an enduring human spirit that persists in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has put that spirit to the test, forging stronger bonds within and between our communities, our industries, our nation, and our humanity. Lately, I have been struck by how closely connected we all are.

I don’t need to tell you how strange, trying, and scary these weeks have been. But what you might not know is while everyone was figuring out how to work from home, keep their business afloat, or protect their loved ones, professionals across the parking and mobility industry were hard at work trying to support those activities.

Our communities are normally test beds for ongoing transportation innovation, but this pandemic has accelerated the need for creative use of our resources and emphasizes the importance of collaboration between colleagues. Although every community has unique features, hopefully practices that work well in one community rapidly multiply across the country. The past few weeks have seen that concept accelerate to hyper speed.

As communities enacted new policies to protect citizens by minimizing the spread of the coronavirus, their parking and mobility programs adapted curb management and parking policies to address emerging priorities. Rapid installation of temporary loading zones for restaurant curbside pickup and paid parking and enforcement policy changes to help homebound residents were needed to support business and residential communities. Supportive parking policies for healthcare and other essential workers were critical to ensuring safe, efficient, and quick access to parking as hospitals expanded triage areas into their parking lots.

Behind these changes was an amazing network of professionals connecting in rapid fashion to share ideas, discuss challenges, and offer support. A few resources that truly helped to connect folks included:

  • City groups functioning through International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and Transportation for America’s 2020 Smart Cities Collaborative came together in a grassroots fashion to help discuss, test, implement, monitor, and triage curbside changes. Through a variety of channels – emails, Slack, and good old phone calls – policies implemented on one side of the country quickly made to the other side.
  • The IPMI Forum, an online IPMI member resource, provided a place for professionals to ask questions, compare ideas, and discuss how to adapt policy. As bigger cities created their policies, they trickled down through this network.
  • Transportation for America’s Smart Cities Collaborative Slack channel provided a simple, effective forum for member cities to discuss and share responses and solutions to COVID-19.
    • Smart Cities Collaborative member Chris Iverson from the City of Bellevue, Wash., shared that, “Once restaurants were mandated to shift to delivery and pick-up operations only, we reached out to the Collaborative to see what curbside best practices other cities were implementing. It helped immensely that everyone in the Slack channel was already focused on curbside management practices, and the transition to crisis mode was made easier with the help of the Collaborative.”
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) launched a Transportation Resource Center public tool for cities to share information and develop effective responses to this evolving global crisis. It provides actionable examples of how cities around the world are addressing critical tasks, such as:
    • Helping healthcare and other essential workers get safely where they’re needed while protecting transit operators and frontline staff.
    • Creating pick-up/delivery zones to ensure that residents can access food and essential goods.
    • Managing public space to encourage physical distancing.
    • Deploying effective public communications and signage.
  • The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is collecting a variety of transportation data to assist in understanding recent changes to travel of people and goods in response to COVID-19

Collectively, this network helped keep businesses running, supported stay-at-home orders, and facilitated the needs of healthcare systems. In a joint effort, IPMI, Transportation for America, ITE, and other partner organizations are documenting these actions and their impacts. They plan to provide summary blogs, articles, and peer reviewed white papers to help communities understand, plan, mitigate, and forge ahead through future emergencies.

If you have a good story, please share it with brett@woodsolutionsgroup.com.

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

Free Online Shoptalk for Universities and Campuses: COVID-19 and Our Industry’s Response

Tuesday, March 24, 2020: 2:00 PM EST

Online Shoptalk for Universities and Campuses: COVID-19 and Our Industry’s Response

Access the recording here.


Join IPMI for a free online shoptalk to discuss and collaborate about the effects of the COVID-19 virus and the industry’s response. Moderated by Casey Jones, CAPP, former IPMI chair, this hour-long discussion will provide insights, evolving best practices and ideas/solutions to help your organization cope with these challenges. We understand this is an extremely busy time and will record the online shoptalk and distribute to all members and colleagues.  If you have a question or would like to share something that has worked for your organization in advance, please email Fernandez@parking-mobility.org.


Casey Jones, CAPP is a recognized transportation and parking industry leader with over 24 years industry experience overseeing parking and transportation programs in the Pacific Northwest and at the University of Colorado and Boise State University.  He’s spent the past 10 years providing consulting and project management services to universities, cities and hospitals focusing on improving customer satisfaction, operational effectiveness, and financial performance.  His public and private sector operational experience complements his strong project management skills and experience. Jones currently serves as Senior Parking & Mobility Planner for DESMAN. He is past chairman of the board for the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), he serves on the Accredited Parking Organization Board of Directors and is a board director for the California Public Parking Association and Pacific Intermountain Parking and Transportation Association.

Positivity During Pandemic

small business covid-19By Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP

There are some advantages to living in a small town. One such advantage is the mentality of, “we’re all in this together.” Local restaurants and bars are offering takeout options, even if that’s not a model they’ve ever had before. Neighbors are sitting on front porches to maintain human contact while still observing social distancing guidelines. Many more families are taking advantage of the walking trail along the river.

Bloomia USA is a wholesale florist in King George, Va. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of so many businesses, they had a surplus of tulips. Rather than allow the flowers to go to waste, they sponsored Operation Tulip Drop. On a recent Saturday, they set up a few locations in downtown Fredericksburg, where they handed out bundles of tulips for free. Residents were invited to drive up and be handed a bunch—or bunches—of tulips to brighten their day. Even residents on foot were welcome to take tulips. Some folks took whole boxes of them to distribute to their neighbors, nursing homes, etc. One of my neighbors brought me a bunch that morning. And then later in the day my husband and I walked into town and picked up an entire box to distribute to additional neighbors and family members.

More than 300,000 tulips were distributed that day. Such a simple—and very generous—gesture that, sure, is good PR for that company, but really brought so much joy to our community.

Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP is IPMI’s director of convention and meeting services.

The Critical Importance of Community Management in Parking

by Andrew Sachs, MFA, CAPP

Stepping Up to the Plate

Downtown Baltimore’s Harbor Park Garage took community engagement to a new level, feeding the community during the coronavirus crisis

In the spring of 2020, Baltimore, Maryland – and the world – was shaken by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was canceled, non-essential employees worked from home, and restaurants were forced to shut their doors.

At Harbor Park Garage, a typically bustling garage located near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, as traffic slowed to a trickle, our staff kicked into high gear. In addition to taking steps to keep customers and staff safe and healthy, we started thinking about what we could do to help members of our community hit hardest by the virus.

Heart of the Park

First, we reached out to regular parkers who rely on tips for income, meeting with them individually to offer discounts and support. But we wanted to do more.

That’s when Heart of the Park was born—a partnership between the garage and Pierpoint Restaurant, a 20-year old Baltimore institution known for its excellent food.

Our team worked with Pierpoint chef/owner Nancy Longo to figure out a way to inexpensively make high-quality meals. Together, we provide meals to 200 people in need each day. The meals are distributed at the garage; people simply need to show up to receive a free lunch and dinner to heat at home.

Garage as Gateway 

Heart of the Park was inspired by specific needs that came about due to coronavirus, but the initiative is in keeping with Harbor Park’s longstanding philosophy that a parking garage can and should be more than an anonymous repository for cars.

Our garage is a gateway between home and work, dinner out, and other adventures. A happy garage experience—one that puts a smile on the guest’s face—can make any of those activities feel more fun.

Though guests weren’t on their way to the office or to restaurants during the coronavirus crisis, Heart of the Park still helped us generate some smiles—when we needed them more than ever.

Manager as Ambassador

Interacting with the community through Heart of the Park also solidified our belief that while counting parking spaces is an essential part of our job, it’s not the whole job. Our managers also excel at being community ambassadors.

To foster relationships, Harbor Park managers prioritize engagement with people parking in the garage and with nearby businesses. We regularly dine at local restaurants, pop into shops and attractions, and get to know the people who run them (whether or not they are official garage partners). Those visits were put on pause during coronavirus closures, but thanks to Heart of the Park, we were able to deepen our connection with both old friends and new.

The Benefits of Giving Back

The community management approach has opened up many opportunities over the past few years that have, in total, had a significant effect on the garage’s revenue. Likewise, the Heart of the Park initiative has already translated into some tangible benefits for Harbor Park as a business, with an increase in social media followers, high engagement with posts, and coverage by local press outlets.

But even more importantly, it helped all of us at Harbor Park do something to help the people in our community stay afloat. The outpouring of thanks we received was incredibly gratifying for all of our employees and reminded us why we’re proud to be a part of the Baltimore community.

Andrew Sachs, MFA, CAPP  is the President of Harbor Park Garage.

Download Heart of the Park Handout


Andrew Sachs
Harbor Park Garage
55 Market Pl
Baltimore, MD 21202-4049 US
Mobile: (310) 476-6100


IPMI News: Message from the IPMI CEO & Chair – Stay Connected

We know you and your staff are facing huge challenges and many have already faced the reality of reducing your workforces as well. You are not alone. We want you to know we are here with you and will offer steadfast support during these unprecedented times.

IPMI is wholly committed to helping you stay connected with your fellow industry professionals so you can continue to share challenges, find solutions, and tap into a wealth of resources that is the hallmark of IPMI. We are continuing to build additional online resources daily and invite you to share this message with every member of your staff and industry colleagues.

This is not “business as usual” and we stand committed to support you now and into the future—when our country, our industry, and our organizations make a sure recovery from this crisis.

Ways to Stay Connected


For more details on the programs listed below and additional resources, visit and bookmark parking-mobility/stayconnected

  • Parking & Mobility magazine is going fully digital to ensure the fastest, most reliable delivery to you and your staff members wherever you are. Receive it free to your office or home email, or both. Click here to request a digital subscription.
  • Forum, IPMI’s online community, is the place your peers are connecting, asking and answering questions, and sharing their experiences with colleagues. If you are not receiving its daily digest email, please let us know; also reach out if we can help you with logging in or an orientation to the site.
  • On March 31, we are hosting additional free, industry-specific Shoptalks related to the COVID-19 crisis.  You determine the topics and conversation by sharing issues important to you and participating live. Recordings are posted for those who cannot attend the live events, and we will continue to convene our community this way regularly to keep in touch.
  • IPMI has opened up a series of free on-demand courses and webinars to our members to create and maintain professional development opportunities for your entire team at no charge.
  • For individuals facing job transition, IPMI has waived membership fees, and created the IPMI Resume Exchange on Forum for professionals interested in posting resumes and making connections with potential employers. Members update their online profiles with direct imports from LinkedIn. Our Career Center provides members with position listings free of charge, which are shared on Forum and social media.

Helping industry professionals stay connected has been in IPMI’s DNA for nearly 60 years. Our community will continue to come together, and our industry will recover. You have our commitment to being there for you.

Have ideas on how we can help you right now? Please email me at conrad@parking-mobility.org

 We are here for you. Let’s all stay connected. 


Shawn D. Conrad, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

International Parking & Mobility Institute




David G. Onorato, CAPP

Chair, IPMI Board of Directors

Pittsburgh Parking Authority

Member News: MPA Dedicates On-street Spaces to Help the Community

(MIAMI, FL – MARCH 19, 2020) – In these challenging times, the well-being, health and need of the Miami community is of our utmost concern. To that end, the Miami Parking Authority (MPA) has set aside a number of on-street spaces in high-demand commercial areas, free of charge, for vehicles picking up and delivering food and other essential items to customers. The program is being rolled out immediately throughout the downtown core, with other commercial areas expected to be added within the next couple of days.

“We are conscious of the impact of the COVID-19 from the human health as well as economic perspectives, and we are asking for the public’s help not to use these dedicated spaces for purposes other than pickups and deliveries,” said Alejandra “Alex” Argudin, Chief Executive Officer. “We stand ready to do everything possible to help the community in the face of this emergency, but we need the public to cooperate with us.”

These free, dedicated spaces are expected to make pickups and deliveries quicker and more efficient, in an effort to help customers, drivers and merchants alike. The on-street spaces will be identified by the signage posted in front of them.  Please refer to the attached photo of the on-street signage and check our website periodically at www.miamiparking.com, as we dedicate additional spaces in commercial areas, where restaurants are open for pickup and delivery service.

MPA news pickup zones


About Miami Parking Authority
Miami Parking Authority, officially known as the Department of Off-Street Parking of the City of Miami, was created in 1955 by a Special Act of the Florida State Legislature and incorporated into the City of Miami’s Charter in 1968. MPA manages and develops on- and off-street parking in the City of Miami. It shares responsibility with the City of Miami Police Department and Miami-Dade County for enforcement of parking regulations. For more information, visit www.miamiparking.com.

Media Contact:
Margarita Rohaidy Delgado,


Member News: PENN PARKING joins fight against COVID-19

Employees are creating protective face shields for hospitals in Maryland

Penn Parking CEO Lisa Renshaw is excited to announce that her company is now joining the fight against Coronavirus by creating protective face shields for healthcare workers in the state of Maryland.

“We are on a mission to get our health care workers and first responders the vital equipment they need to keep them and the public safe,” said Renshaw. “We all need to pull together in this crisis.”

There have been reports of demands for the masks all over the country, and is likely to continue if demand exceeds available supplies. These shields will provide greater protection when used in conjunction with the masks.  Renshaw listened to the needs of the community, and quickly made the decision to find out what materials were needed to create the masks, and then asked her employees to begin making them last week.

“All of my employees simply asked – what can we do?” Renshaw explained. “We are challenging that other businesses follow us to lend support however they can.”

The masks will be going to hospitals in Maryland, and wherever else they are needed. “This time of uncertainly presses on everyone – the young and elderly. But it is a great unifier for our country – spanning from business to government, for everyone to get involved and step up. This is our way to shine some light in these difficult times,” Renshaw concluded.

According to the CDC, there are over 700 cases of COVID-19 in Maryland with several known deaths. In the U.S., all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have cases of COVID-19, tallying over 70,000 illnesses and over 1,000 deaths. Sadly, these numbers are expected to increase in the weeks ahead. As of this week the virus has infected nearly 500,000 people across 175 countries and territories, resulting in over 20,000 deaths.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in scores of infections, and have caused thousands of deaths. Cases continue to spread throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.

Penn Parking is a leading parking management business with locations in Maryland, DC and Virginia. For more information call 443-790-6633.

Creating a Sense of Community Through Parking

Parking & Mobility June 2019The 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 parking facilities are tied to development projects–hotels, office complexes, event venues, residences, restaurants, and retail. When Brittany Moore, CAPP, brought her marketing background to the parking industry and faced its sometimes negative connotations in the community, she decided to put her expertise to work to change people’s minds–and it worked.

In this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine, Moore, assistant general manager of parking services with the City of Greenville, shares how small changes, smart marketing, and working to build relationships changed how people see parking and helped foster a sense of community around it. With lots of takeaways and new ideas, it’s a great read–check it out here and let us know on Forum what you think.


Parking Paradigm

A new structure connects people and parking in the heart of downtown Berkeley, Calif.19-04 Parking Paradigm article

By Cali Yang

The Center Street Parking Garage in Berkeley, Calif., serves visitors of the bus­tling downtown as well as the Berkeley arts and theater district. The 250,000 square-foot, eight-level garage sits on an existing site previously occupied by a four-story parking structure built in the late 1950s. Easily accessible by mass transit, bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, the new $40 million structure provides 720 spaces for cars and 350 spaces for bikes in eight levels. It was constructed for $40 million.

Design and Aesthetics

The garage features an art exhibit space, cafe, bike va­let, public restroom facilities, state-of-the-art security system, and a dynamic parking count system with red and green indicator lights that show available spaces. The public restrooms contain stainless-steel fixtures, tiled floors, and open entrances with graphic display. The garage also houses a bike-share network and in­cludes a BART bike station with a bicycle-equipment repair shop and 55 secured bicycle parking spaces.

Graphic color schemes throughout the facility provide easy visibility for wayfinding to and from the vertical circulation elements and orientation to either end of the building. Vivid red and green signage ele­ments signify the two entrances into the garage and help patrons navigate throughout the structure. Large arrows painted on the floor denote safe pathways for pedestrians. Differently colored wall graphics at every floor indicate the direction to the arts district and Center Street. A state-of-the-art navigation sys­tem helps patrons find available spaces more quickly.

Additional graphic elements, such as recycling sig­nage, oversized restroom signs, electric-vehicle (EV) charging, and tire inflation station spaces, provide easy identification.
The exterior facade consists of folded perforated metal panels, creating a wave-like form on both the Addison Street and Center Street facades. The metal panels are in more than 20 size variations, and each one is numbered and bolted into place in an accordi­on-like fashion. The elevation is capped by a contin­uous metal-panel-clad canopy that protects the stair and visually terminates the facade. A covered canti­levered walkway at the second level is clad in an ac­cent-colored perforated metal that articulates up the exterior on a dramatic twisting staircase. The stair­cases provide an open, safe, and secure way for visitors to access the downtown area. The exterior design is highlighted by accent lighting that is programmable and allows a dynamic variety of colors for visual effect at night. The chic exterior design is an eye-catching sculpture and enhances the vitality of Berkeley.


The City of Berkeley commissioned a compre­hensive multi-project street and open space improvement plan (SOSIP), which is intended to increase pedestrian activity throughout the downtown area. Reducing the number of street parking spaces widens sidewalk space and increases foot traffic. Due to seismic and func­tionality issues, the city decided to build a new replacement garage on the site of the existing 420-space structure, which was constructed in 1958 and closed in 2016. The new garage was created with the SOSIP in mind—bringing to­gether a community vision of an engaging and
vibrant downtown.

The new structure also features ground-level retail space, cafe with open sidewalk, and landscaped path­ways that offer seating areas for patrons. A free public bicycle valet is also available to visitors to the area, which encourages use of alternative transportation. Approximately 10 percent of Berkeley residents com­mute by bicycle, and creating a rider-friendly facility was extremely important to the city. The garage is con­veniently located within half a block of the Downtown Berkeley BART station, so it is easy to drop off a bike and hop on the BART train.

Berkeley Community College is located across the street from the garage and provides a convenient option for students to use the valet and 24-hour bi­cycle facility in the building. On the Center Street side, a coffee shop is located at the ground level with an extra-wide sidewalk for customers to gather and socialize. There is also a landscape parklet area with benches for patrons and pedestrians.

The garage features a flexible lane at each entrance to allow traffic to switch directions based on the time of day and traffic flow to avoid backups caused by events in the theater and arts district. The garage is designed in a double helix configuration to provide maximum park­ing capacity while maintaining a high level of service for roof-level patrons exiting the structure. The double helix ramp allows drivers to circulate two parking lev­els with each 360-degree trip, thus expediting exit and ostensibly converting this eight-level structure into two intertwined four-level structures. Cross-over ramps and extensive dynamic signage are incorporated to pro­vide flexible way finding options for users.

The garage is equipped with a state-of-the-art guid­ance system featuring red and green lights and camer­as monitoring traffic flow at the garage intersections. Wayfinding systems provide interior and exterior parking stall counts of available spaces by level and direction proximity indicators leading patrons toward the open spaces. Other special and unique amenities include a tire-inflation station for cars and bicycles, preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, and a car-share program. Emergency phones are located throughout the building and connect directly to the police department.

Collaboration and Community
The new parking structure supports the economic, insti­tutional, and artistic vitality of Downtown Berkeley. It is centrally located in the heart of downtown with conve­nient access to Berkeley City College and the arts district with theater and music venues. Rates for the new garage are significantly lower than surrounding street parking, which encourages patrons to park in the structure and allows visitors to spend more time in the area.

Providing an increase of 63 percent in parking availability, the new garage has brought new vibrancy to the community and encourages visitors to park and walk to their destinations. The art gallery on the ground floor on the Addison Street frontage features rotating art displays, which are selected and approved by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission.

International Parking Design worked closely with the city, community members, BART, regional bicycle coalition, and other project team members. Weekly coordination meetings were held during design and construction, when various issues were discussed and resolved. The structure was constructed by local area contractors, resulting in shorter commutes and re­duced environmental effects.


“The new Center Street Garage is an exciting addition to the Downtown Berkeley arts and mixed-use district. As our downtown develops, arts patrons and downtown visitors are welcoming this striking and convenient supply of parking.” —Denise Pinkston, vice chairperson, Zoning Adjustments Board, City of Berkeley.

“Unexpected in more ways than one, Berkeley’s Center Street Garage is the rare example of an unloved building type done in a way that’s a visual treat. If it nudges a few cities or public agencies to demand higher standards from the next round of parking structures, all the better.” John King, urban design critic, San Francisco Chronicle.

“The idea is to make downtown more pedestrian friendly.”
Farid Javandel, transportation manager, City of Berkeley

“We love that the new Center Street Garage has such a striking design! From commuters, merchants, and residents, we’ve been hearing that it is the best-looking building in downtown Berkeley. It’s bright and spacious, built with an open-air concept. The compliments just keep pouring in!”
Danette Perry, CAPP, parking services manager, City of Berkeley.

“The greenest parking garage in California. Downtown Berkeley is moving forward.” Jesse Arreguin, mayor, City of Berkeley.


The garage contains a multitude of sustainable features, including 500 solar panels on the roof, electric-vehicle charging stations, recycled materials, rainwater catchment, and stormwater treatment vege­tation. Rainwater flows through 8,000-gallon cisterns that irrigate landscaping and planters adjacent to the garage. Energy-efficient sensor-controlled lighting, recycling receptacles, water-conserving restroom fixtures, and paints with low volatile organic com­pounds are also incorporated. The garage elevators are equipped with LED lighting and door-drive motors that can enter standby mode when not in use. The garage is expected to receive Parksmart Gold certifi­cation. Natural ventilation, building systems commis­sioning, and an energy-efficient mechanical system with HVAC controls are other sustainable features incorporated throughout the garage. The roof struc­tural system can accommodate the addition of future solar panels over the entire rooftop level, and the con­duits are run to a microgrid distribution network at the ground level for electricity distribution to other essen­tial city facilities in the area.

Read the article here.

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


Changing the Narrative

By Chelsea Webster

Have you ever unjustly gotten a parking ticket? Had your car towed? Encountered a broken parking meter or machine and been unable to pay for your parking session? Unsuccessfully tried to appeal a violation notice?

As parking professionals, we sometimes become desensitized to these very real (and sometimes very upsetting) customer issues. When that happens, when we simply go about doing our jobs, we can become the thorn in our (paying) customers’ sides. We can do rotten things like tow a charitable bus that provides haircuts to homeless people to help them prepare for job interviews, and send them a $900 bill for our efforts (yes, we did that in Calgary–read about it here). We can also generate plenty of negative headlines with the mere proposal of higher parking permit fees.

In the age of social media, it should surprise absolutely no one when news outlets on all kinds of platforms get hold of these stories. And it should also surprise absolutely no one when parking authorities and transportation departments become targets of the public’s wrath. But are negative stories forever in our future? Are we destined to be vilified time and time again?

What if–just maybe–parking authorities, parking operators, and parking departments could change the narrative? What if we could shift the focus to our sponsorship programs, our community involvement, our good deeds that repeatedly go unnoticed? If this sounds too good to be true, prepare to have your mind blown at IPMI this year, and don’t miss the session “Media Interactions 101 for Parking Professionals.”

Chelsea Webster is marketing specialist with ParkPlus System. She will present on this topic at the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo, June 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif. For more information and to register, click here.