By Casey Jones, CAPP
Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” In spite of the tragedy and difficulty we currently face during this once-in-a-century health crisis, my optimistic nature sees hope (and not political cynicism) in what Emanuel was getting at, and I see it play out in organizations within our industry.
In weekly state and regional association virtual meetings, countless stories are told of how changes are being made to improve safety, reduce costs, and adjust policies and procedures to accommodate new customer needs in spite of–and to a large extent because of–the current health crisis. We have moved past any initial paralysis brought on by COVID-19 restrictions and we’re trying new things and succeeding. I was on a state association call recently and the discussion turned to a strategy one university was using to accommodate their permit holders. Previously the school had only offered annual permits but has expanded to shorter-term permits to allow more flexibility.
There are other examples as well, from moving to touchless and online payment systems to flexible permitting and renewal options, all of which consultants like me have been suggesting for years. So what’s different? COVID-19, of course. But understanding that changes are possible because of the pandemic won’t be enough to sustain them beyond the COVID-induced “pilot” phase. Many of the changes we’re making now we’ll want to keep in place in the future when we return to normalcy, and we should use this time to fully grasp why we’re able to make difficult but necessary changes to our programs. We need to dissect each decision to determine exactly what specific factors resulted in approval. Knowing this will help us sustain the positive improvements we’re making now and provide a roadmap for future program improvements.
Casey Jones, CAPP, is senior parking and mobility planner with DESMAN.
By Ashley Owens
We are all working from the safety of our homes and many of our powerful engagements now happen online. While we are physically distancing, virtually we are not. Online conferences give us access to the best experts, industry leaders, and other potential assets to our network, so it’s important to be creative and strategic in building relationships from virtual events. Here are some ways to virtually network at a conference:
Have a Goal.
Begin by establishing your virtual networking goals. How many people do you want to connect with? Will you begin to spend virtual time weekly with certain connections? Be intentional in planning and strategizing your way through to a conference. This will direct your focus and effort in networking that drives professional advancement.
Comment and Engage.
Share relevant comments and thoughts on topics to showcase your expertise. Be visible on the event platform and community or event app. Post questions, insights, review, and hear from others, too. This strategy helps you find your way to connections with shared professional or educational interests, causes, and contacts.
Create Personal Conversations.
When you follow-up with your new connections, understand that conversations at this time of our life may become personal. This is a powerful way of building trust while sharing both our growth and challenges, both personally and in the business.
Working remotely may have dramatically changed the way we connect, but the possibilities are endless. Stay creative, strategize, and know that success is right in front of you!
Ashley Owens is a networking concierge and head of Ashley Assists. She will present on this topic during IPMI’s 2020 Leadership Summit, online, Oct. 6-8. For details and to register, click here.
Not a lot of people are traveling by plane right now but parking is still top of mind for those who are. In response, Forbes this weekend ran a piece about what flyers can expect when they go to park their cars.
“The COVID pandemic has changed the way you park your car at the airport. There’s an emphasis on safety, and some facilities are closed or have been repurposed for cargo. You’ll need to do more research and pay attention to the details before you park at the airport in a pandemic,” the article says.
The story says parking questions account for 5 percent of the conversation on an airport parking website, and that many of those center around COVID-19 safety. It also outlines safety precautions some airports are taking and notes that with demand for parking down, staff has been reassigned in some cases.
Read the whole story here and let us know in the comments–is this true to what you’re experiencing?
By Rita Pagan
Feeling like every decision you make lately is questionable? I feel especially doubtful of my decision-making abilities when it comes to the health and education of my children during this pandemic. And just like my mug, I’m OK with just being “okayest” right now to help with my overall sanity.
The pandemic that is upon us has also forced businesses and leaders to make some very tough decisions. Across the industry, leaders are deciding whether to lay off or furlough workers or initiate pay cuts, all while continuing to deliver projects and programs on time and within budget with limited resources. But how do you know if you’ve made the right decision? How much thought should you give to crisis-time decision making?
- Ask questions and gather information. Facts are important. And it will feel reassuring to ask them ALL.
- Remain flexible. I think we’ve seen just how quickly things can escalate. You need to be flexible and agile.
- Know that you are not alone! Not to be cheesy but we’re all in this together. Make sure you are connected to your professional community and lean on them when needed.
While decision-making has become harder because of the pandemic, it has helped leaders with new ways of thinking and new solutions. Crises put not only your ability to make decisions to the test, but also your ability to adapt.
Rita Pagan is IPMI’s events and exhibits manager.
December 16, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET
Pre-registration required to attend. Free to all industry professionals. Registration coming soon.
Join IPMI for our next online Shoptalk addressing the parking, transportation, and mobility industry’s response and recovery planning. Open to all, join us for discussions centered on best practices, next steps, and the challenges ahead.
Submit your questions and thoughts for the discussion on the registration page.
By Shawn Conrad, CAE
It sounds surreal to say this but I just flew on a commercial flight for the first time in six months. With a family member recovering from surgery, I was needed on the West Coast and looked forward to doing something I did numerous times every year: fly. Like many, I hadn’t been on a plane since COVID-19 hit and life as we knew it changed. I finally had a reason to go to an airport and board a plane.
I have always enjoyed traveling and for the first time, wasn’t sure what a trip to the airport would entail. Had they closed the lot where I typically park? What would the process be going through TSA lines? Would people be socially distancing and wearing their masks in the airport and on the plane? Would I be able to explore the terminal (I love to walk the terminals, browse the shops, and watch people scurry to their gates)? To me, it’s all part of the travel experience, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
Bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised. While the experience was different from what I was used to, airport personnel had gone to great lengths to make their customers feel welcomed and safe. I especially appreciated the airline leaving the middle seat vacant during the flight. People kept their masks on and the pilots even came out to greet us as we de-boarded the plane.
Like parking and mobility, airports expect a slow recovery as the world works on vaccines to combat the virus. In the meantime, it is impressive how airports and airlines have adjusted their processes to lesson the anxiety we might have of flying–not a small feat. Kudos to all for their efforts!
And in case you were wondering, the experience of parking my car at the airport was flawless.
Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.
From Disruption to Adaptation: Legal and Policy Implications for Cities and Transit in the Wake of COVID-19
Pre-registration required to attend. Free to all industry professionals.
Dive into relevant data and takeaways from the IPMI Industry Response & Recovery Benchmarking Survey. Discuss observations and recent trends, and examine how mobility system shifts are creating challenges to existing municipal legal and policy structures. Explore how decisions are being made, what’s needed now, and how cities are responding. This Shoptalk will focus primarily on municipalities and public agencies, and all are welcome to attend.
Kathryn Hebert, Director Transportation, Mobility, and Parking, City of Norwalk, CT
Kathryn is a strategic visionary leader bringing together the best ideas and people from public and private sectors to innovate and transform communities. For over 30 years, she has been instrumental in the resurgence of Norwalk, Connecticut, with changes made possible by reimagining transportation, parking, mobility, and all supporting components. Equally adept at managing the business of government, enlisting resources, and partnering with private sector organizations to achieve goals. Kathryn is currently the Director of Transportation, Mobility, and Parking for the City of Norwalk, Conn. As a critical part of the City of Norwalk Economic Development Team, she directs the City’s Transportation, Mobility and Parking Department providing oversight, leadership and management to create and implement convenient and safe mobile connectivity between neighborhoods, business districts and major transportation hubs through coordinated planning, engineering, operations and community collaborations. She is an elected member of the IPMI Board of Directors and is the Immediate Past President of the New England Parking Council.
By Kim E. Jackson, CAPP
Unfortunately, as we enter into the 2020 fall and winter months, we are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, still trying to address and better understand racial tension and injustice, and soon, those of us in the U.S. will participate in a presidential election. Many are still working remotely or commuting to the office just a few days each week, still trying to balance and juggle home and work life demands, etc.
Fall is often the time we might begin to reflect on the events of the past year; we begin to look forward to the holidays, the joy of gathering and celebrating with family and friends. I think this year, more than ever, we need to take this moment to recharge ourselves before the fast-paced, end-of-year activities commence. We need to take some much overdue “me time,” especially if you have been working throughout this pandemic and did not take advantage of a summer vacation.
It is time to unplug, re-evaluate our choices (both work and life), reconnect with our fitness goals and programs, and most importantly, take a mental break. Time to let go of all the craziness in the world around us and just breathe!
Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation at Princeton University.
Sullivan’s Island, S.C., like a lot of cities and towns, is facing a significant revenue shortfall because of COVID-19. But when the town council proposed instituting paid parking, the beach town’s business owners revolted, saying they’d lose customers if people had to pay to park.
“This is not a way to try to keep people from coming. We want to support our businesses, we want them to continue to be popular with the people in the Charleston area,” Mayor Patrick O’Neil told local channel 5 news. “But if we need to have decent streets for people to park on for those businesses, we need to be able to provide them with fire and rescue and police coverage while they are here. We need to get the money from somewhere.”
Business owners banded together to install a “No Paid Parking” banner and asked their customers to voice displeasure to the town council, which plans to meet this week to talk about the proposal.
Read the whole story here. And let us know in the comments: What advice would you give both the town council and business owners in this situation?