Tag Archives: COVID19

Returning to Work in the New Normal

Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss
Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss.

By Richard L. Bradley, CAPP

The University of Mississippi has started inviting faculty and staff back to campus for work. We were well taken care of during our campus shutdown, which stretched from mid-March until July 1, and paid administrative leave was allowed for those with positions not conducive to a remote working environment. As we all found out, service industries find it nearly impossible to function during pandemics.

Now we have been challenged with bringing staff back in a safe environment. Is that even possible for higher education campuses? College campuses share the same risk level during a virus breakout as cruise ships. Would you want to go on a cruise right now? Would you want to be staffed on one of those ships? Would you send your child on a cruise? These are the questions our staff members are wrestling with right now.

I work for a great university that ranks high on the Modern Think list of Great Colleges to Work For every year. We currently offer two programs to assist our staff during these times: Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave. These offer relief to staff members who are sick or have a close family member who is sick with COVID-19, anyone that is quarantined by local policy, those considered high risk due to an underlying condition, or those with child care needs due to care provider and school closures.

I consider us lucky to have these programs provided by our state. These programs provide equity and support for our staff. This will provide a sense of safety to our staff they often do not feel in other jobs. Providing information to employees is crucial. Without the information, opportunities might be missed and costly staff turnover could ensue.

Richard L Bradley, CAPP, is manager of administrative affairs, department of parking & transportation, at The University of Mississippi.

IPMI, Coalition of Municipalities, Request $30B for COVID Recovery

Over the next few weeks, Congress is working on a potential third stimulus package to assist various sectors of the U.S. economy. The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), with a coalition of municipalities, is requesting an additional $30B to support cities providing essential services in response to COVID-19.

Read the Open Letter to Congress:

To: U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Leadership, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Members

From: International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) on behalf of municipal parking and mobility organizations

The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) commends your commitment to protecting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic and your leadership in passing the CARES Act to mitigate the direct impact to businesses. However, significant additional funding is needed for municipalities and cities facing ongoing and protracted challenges and disruption.

The restaurant, airline, and events industries have suffered a direct and immediate impact from pandemic-related shutdowns; it’s important to recognize that the parking and transportation industry underlies each of these industries. Parking is one of the most important urban mobility infrastructures, facilitating the daily needs of more than 100 million commuters and businesses across the country – every single day.

Parking is the foundation of municipal economic activity and a critical resource for businesses, their employees, first responders, tourists, and many others. The parking industry contributes to the U.S. economy by directly employing 580,000+ individuals and generating over $130 billion in annual revenue.

As the largest collective operators of parking facilities in the country, municipalities rely heavily on parking and transportation revenue to fund local budgets, transportation systems, and city programs.

The importance of parking-related revenue may be even more significant for smaller municipalities. Per Henry Servin, Parking Manager at the City of Santa Monica, Calif., “Parking contributes 30%+ revenue to Santa Monica’s General Fund every year.”

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on municipalities cannot be understated. With a 50-70%+ drop in commuter activity and a 95%+ decrease in visitor revenue observed from real-time data in cities across the U.S., municipalities will likely incur a $30B loss of revenue in the next 12 months, resulting in significant employee layoffs.

Parking authorities and offices of our respective cities are avidly working to curb operational expenses in an effort to mitigate impact, but this alone cannot resolve the crisis they face.

We respectfully seek $30B in the upcoming stimulus bill be earmarked specifically for municipal governments. This funding will support services to businesses and residential communities throughout the country.

Municipalities provide essential services to 200 million residents and are in need of federal government relief. With your assistance, we can ensure that critical services are maintained, while helping to materially contribute to the economic recovery of our cities.

U.K. Legalizes Shared E-scooters on Roads After COVID-19 Lockdowns

Young woman on an electric scooterCommuters in England, Scotland, and Wales will soon have a new way to get around: As of July 4, shared e-scooters are legal on their roads.

Trips on pubic transportation are down 90 percent since COVID-19 lockdowns began several months ago, and the scooters’ introduction are intended to help people get around while social distancing, without having to own their own cars. Cycling as a mode of transportation has already skyrocketed in the area; walking has als3o jumped in popularity among those who used to use buses or the Tube.

To be permitted on public roads, the e-scooters must be part of shared fleets–privately owned models are still not allowed. Read the whole story here.

A Seat at the Table During COVID-19

A group of people planning at a meeting.By Marlene Cramer, CAPP

For years, parking and mobility professionals have advocated for a seat at the table. As director of transportation and parking at a university campus, one of my collateral roles is as planning sections chief in our campus Emergency Operation Center (EOC). During the past four months, COVID-19 planning has been complex, ongoing, and evolving. The planning section analyzes and collects data and information so the whole EOC team has up-to-date situational awareness. We rely on regional, state, and worldwide data and circumstances so the collective EOC team can make operational recommendations and decisions for the months and years ahead. There is constant orchestration of information with local public health agencies and a myriad of campus departments and community entities. Not an easy task! The demands of the pandemic and the dismal budget realities for most make our planning efforts even more complex and essential.

In my role as planning section chief, I get the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of professionals I never would have worked with in my parking role before COVID-19. As I see the groups and task forces work together and develop plans and objectives, I have a better and deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexity of campus operations.

I’ve always said that parking professionals manage emergencies every day. It’s pretty much in our nature no matter what role we have, and we are used to planning in a quickly changing, fluid environment. There is so much variability between all our agencies, but we do have one thing in common: We are all working to get through this historic time, hopefully with courage and a growth mindset. A seat at the table gives me a bird’s eye perspective of plans for the university to repopulate and move ahead to our new normal. This is a critical and insightful view to help ensure that the future of transportation and parking complements the future operations of the university. I am very grateful to have a seat at the planning table and look forward to the future, minus COVID-19. Take care and stay healthy.

Marlene Cramer, CAPP, is director, transportation and parking services at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Choose Kindness

Kindness community blog By Kathleen Federici, MEd

I witnessed an act of kindness about three weeks ago that has stuck with me. Kindness is everywhere. Sometimes, the act is so small we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge it. Sometimes, the act is so large, we can’t allow ourselves to forget it.

With our world in crisis, kindness matters now more than ever.

In a past job, I had a company car and was required to take a defensive driving course every year. Three weeks ago, I was driving along my one lane, no passing zone road that connects the three townships that make up my city and all of a sudden this driver flew up the Pike and got so close to my bumper, I was actually nervous. My kids were in the car, and I just kept thinking, what the heck is this person doing? Is he going to hit me? The car was on my bumper for about a half-mile, which seemed like forever. We came to a red light and the driver quickly maneuvered around my car into a left turn lane, jumped out of his car, and ran to the car in front of me. And I kept thinking, what the heck is going on?

Of course, I turned off my radio and clicked my window down so I could hear the exchange. It turned out the person in the car in front of me left her cell phone in the store she had just visited. The on-my-bumper driver was a store employee who saw her leave the phone on the counter. Evidently, he desperately tried to catch her attention but she got into her car and left too quickly. So he grabbed his keys and chased her down to return her phone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have been more comfortable with less of a movie-style car chase, but to go that far to bring a customer back their phone was not something I have never witnessed before. It left me with a good impression of customer service and going that extra mile. The customer and employee did not know each other.

Kindness.org has a mission to educate and inspire people to choose kindness. Their research team, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, spent the past several months compiling a list of more than 1,000 acts of kindness. When COVID-19 brought our world to a halt, kindness.org saw an opportunity – and felt a responsibility – to investigate what kind acts are most effective now, in the middle of this crisis. The results are:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Take care of a family member who is sick.
  3. Cover your mouth when you cough.
  4. Make a donation to people hit especially hard by the economic shutdown.
  5. Cook a nutritious and delicious meal to share with your family.
  6. Buy groceries for someone.
  7. Arrange video visits with elderly relatives.
  8. Video call your parents, grandparents.
  9. Get groceries and other essentials for a neighbor.
  10. Tell a child what you’re proud of them for.

Let’s all work together to make the world a kinder place.

Kathleen Fedrici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.