Tag Archives: frontline

Free Online Shoptalk: Frontline Staff – Challenges & Successes in the Time of COVID-19

Free Online Shoptalk: Frontline Staff – Challenges & Successes in the Time of COVID-19

Friday May 29, 2020,  2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

Pre-registration required to attend.

Free to all industry professionals

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In response to the current pandemic, our frontline staff are tasked to carry out their work assignments in disruptive, creative and ever-changing ways. Interactions with customers, on-going process modifications, public expectations, as well as recognizing the need for self-care are all on the table for discussion.

Come prepared to network, ask questions, share your current experiences and learn from your peers during this interactive session.

Moderator: Cindy Campbell

 

Cindy Campbell, Senior Training & Development Specialist, International Parking & Mobility Institute. With over 35 years of experience in law enforcement, parking, and transportation services, she brings comprehensive industry knowledge and professional experience to the IPMI training program. Cindy is a Past Chairman of the Board for the IPMI and is credited as one of the founders of the Parking Matters® initiative.  Prior to joining the staff at IPMI, Campbell served as Associate Director of University Police for California Polytechnic State University. She is now dedicated to providing staff training, motivation, and skill enhancement through IPMI onsite training programs.

Leaving the Desk

by Gloria Gallo, CAPP

Looking for insight into your parking operation? Spend a day with a frontline professional.tpp-2016-06-leaving-the-desk_page_1

AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FORT LEE, N.J., PARKING AUTHORITY (LPA), I find it critical to spend time out on the street with my employees from time to time to get an idea of the issues they encounter on a regular basis. I have come to realize this practice not only benefits me as the director, offering insight into the positions and enhancing my own awareness of what goes on between my employees and the general public, but more importantly, it gives my officers a sense of worth that the agency they work for is interested in knowing firsthand about that part of the operation—the issues they encounter, how they handle disputes, and other complications. This also gives the employees the opportunity to demonstrate how well they do their jobs—or not.

In most cases, I have found officers are eager to share all they know and are more than open to suggestions to resolve their dilemmas. They are happy to show me how much I am missing sitting in my office on the phone or at meetings. I have found going out on the road with my officers here and there to check on equipment performance, defuse a specific situation, or to determine why summonses are down/up, etc., is not really enough. It has become apparent that there is still much more going on and much to be learned by being out there in that day-to-day environment in the capacity of the officer. This experience has given me an incredible amount of valuable knowledge.

Because most people do not recognize all the services some parking authorities provide to their communities, these agencies are only looked upon as the ticket-giving departments of municipalities. As we all know, parking enforcement officers (PEOs) meet all kinds of controversy out on the streets, and how they act and react has a tremendous effect on the public’s perspective of the authority, both structurally and politically.

Parking enforcement officers are the face of your agency; that realization becomes clear when people come into your office and complain about a citation they received and are upset about the officer’s behavior, whether founded or unfounded. The public groups together the director and the entire staff in their unique perspective of an unsettling experience. Directors find themselves needing to be diplomatic and understanding of the public’s side of the story while needing to support the officer’s decision on how the situation was handled, even though the director was not there, has no idea what was said back and forth, and may not even be familiar with such incidents. However, directors can get a better feel for the overall picture and what staff approaches should be during controversy when they have had firsthand experience on the road dealing with the public.

The Battle
Everyone deserves to feel appreciated and respected for the job he or she does. One thing I have learned from witnessing the backlash an enforcement officer gets from some members of the public is we have to be thickskinned. People can be cruel when they feel they have been wronged, and that’s when the battle begins. There are so many excuses used, and some are legitimate, but most are not. The public is also under the impression they can dispute and correct any misunderstanding or errors right there on the street. Some get so angry they spit, tear up their tickets and throw them in our faces, and then scream out a number of commonly used expletives. Parking officers must really step back and remove themselves from these types of situations, both physically and emotionally.

Many people are simply uncomfortable with the presence of a parking officer, even when they are not in any violation. Just seeing an officer walking down the street checking meters annoys some enough to call out or to go running to the officers to make sure their vehicles are safe from ticketing. As a firsthand observer, the director gains a whole new respect for the job these employees do.

Getting Heated
A lesson from my days shadowing staff on the street: Officers generally welcome guidance in dealing with heated disputes. We might take for granted that our people would deal with the public accordingly, but it can be quite difficult to maintain composure in the midst of some intense situations. The ability to defuse a situation that becomes chaotic is an essential tool necessary for the officers’ effectiveness, as well as their safety. As a group, which includes members of the administrative staff, I find it invaluable to discuss these matters and share experiences and methods that work and don’t work. Both types of methods are equally important to examine. It would be advantageous to any agency to enroll its officers in professional training seminars that focus on the dos and don’ts of enforcement confrontations.

On most days, extreme confrontation is not the norm. However, another issue that becomes a challenge is “to summons or not to summons.” Setting written policy is always best, but there are those exceptions that may not be covered in the overall guidelines. The practice I find most effective is to let my employees know that if they are in doubt, don’t sweat it out. It is OK to let a ticket go rather than issue a summons that was written in error. I find it is more beneficial to instruct my employees on methods of improving their good judgment than to suffer the wrath that may follow erroneously written tickets. Everyone makes mistakes, but we can all learn how to implement effective practices when we take the time to stop and think, put ourselves in the place of motorists, and then make educated decisions, for example. This is a very effective method when dealing with the issue of insufficient signage.

In Court
Meeting with the general public in court is where officers say they get the chance to present themselves in a different light, so to speak. This is the place where they are in a structured environment, and they have documentation and photographs to support their summonses. Not only does court allow them to prove their case, but also on a more positive note, they feel it gives them the opportunity to talk to the individual in a more reserved environment. Here, they can actually sit down with the person and discuss the options. The officer also has the court’s legal representation available for additional support and/or guidance. Another important factor is the good working relationship the officers have with the prosecutor. Observing proceedings lets me see there is a mutual respect between both parties that allows the process to work through quickly, efficiently, and favorably for all involved.

Our authority uses PATS, a real-time, automated ticketing system tied directly to the administrative office of the courts in Trenton. Officers’ training in the care and maintenance of their equipment is critical; they cannot work without it. Learning what their needs are for the proper upkeep during a day on the street was highly beneficial, and I learned about challenges such as batteries not recharging, data not downloading properly, printers skipping and not printing the summonses properly, and other miscellaneous malfunctions.

Normally, the officer would report these types of issues to the help desk. Stepping in and reaching out to the state from the director’s desk makes a difference in the response time in comparison to the help desk calls that are made by the PEOs. This is one approach to taking action in keeping our equipment up and running with less downtime.

Fort Lee’s northern location during the winter months only adds to the already challenging job of working out in the elements, not only with equipment freezing up at times, but because parking enforcement officers are also burdened with having to walk in the ice and snow and determining whether a person can get to the meter to pay or not because of the weather. I was pleased to find out my officers were not taking advantage of the situation by lessening their efforts but, on the contrary, were frustrated they could not do their jobs effectively.

In the past, they offered to work with our maintenance department to clear the snow from high-occupancy metered areas. Of course, bad-weather winter months result in fewer tickets, loss of revenue, and many unproductive workdays. Believe it or not, the officers are as concerned about the stability of the authority as I am and expressed their desire to do their part in the continuation of keeping our agency a vital part of the community.

Being out in the field learning about my agency’s operation from a parking enforcement officer’s perspective was an invaluable, enjoyable, and eye-opening experience. There is so much more to these employees than the public believes. They are sharp, eager to do a good job, work independently, and so appreciated the time I spent with them as they were happy to “train” me in the practices and manner in which they conduct themselves in their day-to-day work ethics. They educated me in many ways, not just in how they are able to follow policy set before them but also in the personal way they journey through their days and how they make decisions based on their integrity. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic parking enforcement team. Kudos to the FLPA crew!

GLORIA GALLO, CAPP, is executive director of the Fort Lee, N.J., Parking Authority. She can be reached at gloriag@fortleepa.org.

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Passing the Baton

by Monica Tanksley tpp-2016-06-passing-the-baton_page_1

Raising the Next Generation of Parking and Transportation Leaders

HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED A TRACK AND FIELD RELAY RACE? As the lead runner on each team runs the first part of the race, the next runner gets prepared. The runner anxiously times his or her teammate’s arrival and begins running before the lead runner has overtaken him or her.

A relay race is won in the exchange of the baton. The runners must transfer the baton in an exchange zone; if they fail to make the exchange in this zone, the team is disqualified. The crucial moment arrives, and the lead runner surrenders the baton to the next runner. Even the smallest hesitation or miscalculation can cost the team the race.

The new generation of parking and transportation leaders is ready and waiting in the wings, and the parking and transportation baton has to be passed on to this generation. It’s inevitable. If we fail to pass on our resources and industry knowledge to the next generation’s up-and-coming men and women so they can run their leg of the race, they will be stranded at the starting block without a baton.

Passing It Along
We must develop, train, and mentor young parking professionals so they can develop, teach, and train other young men and women to succeed them from generation to generation. It is critical that we develop the next generation of parking and transportation leadership. If we lack the sensitivity, readiness, and willingness to train them and pass the baton, we fail to groom our future parking and transportation leaders. Gloating over our own accomplishments and not wanting to grandfather the next generation into the field because we fear this group might be more talented than us is failing to ensure successorship.

Mentoring is nothing more than a relationship through which one person empowers and equips another. Some important factors that may hinder the transfer of the parking and transportation baton are:

  • Poor mentoring procedures.
  • The lack of intentional mentoring.
  • Incorrect/wrong mentoring.

We may tend to lack proper mentoring methodologies and procedures, and that leads to a poor quality mentoring. Proper mentoring should be a prerequisite in development of our leaders-to-be. The parking and transportation industry has a great need for well-prepared, properly trained men and women to follow in our footsteps.

Intentional Mentoring
We may also tend to skip intentional mentoring—we lack a deliberate strategy to prepare our successors. We mentor informally without a purposeful and focused strategy plan to train our trainees. We train passively or occasionally from a distance, being casual, informal, and with a lack of supervision. We allow younger staffers to tag along with us and observe and learn on their own in the hopes they will pick up on accountability and reliability. As we all know, that doesn’t happen accidentally, so we need to change the way we teach on the job. We must mentor intensively with discipline, guidance, and coaching. We must manage our relationship while being focused and organized.

Good mentors produce good successors. When mentoring is unstructured and ineffective, our successors will not be well-prepared or secured. It’s imperative we invest in them. A good mentorship is intentional and intensive and provides the right environment for potential leaders to rise up to their own place of influence. Weak, casual, non-focused, or disorganized mentoring is damaging.

When passing the parking and transportation baton, we must be focused and goal-oriented. We must give our trainees a sense of direction and bearing as well as a directed vision and mission. There must be a plan, a strategy, and supervision. We must invest as well as instruct.

We also should be careful that as mentors we don’t have a short vision, an over-domineering spirit, or become too busy to find the proper time to train. As senior staff, we must pass the benefits of our experience on to our successors.

Determining our Legacy
Before we pass the baton, however we first must make sure there is a baton to pass on and that the baton is not dropped. How can one pass on a baton if it’s not there to pass, if there is no legacy or vision to pass on or leave behind? We must ask ourselves several vital questions to be sure the baton is passed:

  • Do I have a next man or woman in line?
  • Am I serious enough to prepare him or her?
  • Do I have a plan to develop him or her?
  • Am I willing to invest time in him or her?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, the baton will not be passed. We must know how to secure young men and women into the industry and propel them into their rightful places as leaders. There are several ways we can properly pass the parking and transportation baton successfully on to the next generation. We can give people proper apprenticeship training, provide the right climate for their development, empower them, and—most importantly— believe in them!

Parking and transportation’s future will be digital. Working digitally will require managing digitally. Parking and transportation apps will be routinely used in everyday business operations and in every aspect of running a parking and transportation organization, from leadership development and recruitment decisions, to wage and benefit incentives. It is for this reason we need to look for what I call altrocentric leaders to lead.

What is an altrocentric leader? In past generations, leaders were categorized as egocentric—they used power and formal authority to get the job done and commanded results. Altrocentric leaders, on the other hand, keep their egos in check and view themselves as part of a greater whole of the organization. They take satisfaction in their team members’ accomplishments and in being productive team players themselves. They understand the nature of their leadership role and have an empathetic ability to attract, retain, and motivate the diversified and highly independent workforce of the future. They are not the “do as I say and say as I do” leaders of the past. Altrocentric leaders possess emotional intelligence, self awareness, and self control. They have the influencing skills future leaders will need to thrive in the ever-changing and challenging parking and transportation organizations of the future.

Going digital will demand leaders who aren’t afraid to learn from their younger colleagues. Although technical skills will be a prerequisite in this digital era, how the potential leaders apply their skills and experience to influence and lead groups when it’s time to hand off the baton will be key to their success.

We must be able to see the potential in our up-andcoming leaders, tolerate their mistakes, be flexible in handling their failures, have patience when time and experience are needed, and encourage and build our co-workers up when they fall along the way.

As coaches, we should focus on our employees’ hidden potential and strengths, persistently urge them to anchor themselves, help set their direction, and provide motivation, skills, and applications that meet the upcoming challenges and tasks that lie ahead.

Building Confidence
Our basic functions as coaches should be to impart confidence, skills, and knowledge to the next generation. We should motivate them to bring out the best in themselves and model our principles and values. We should observe our leaders-to-be in action while evaluating them and giving them feedback. We must teach them to have patience and time, be accountable, and accept responsibility.

There are certain qualities, however, that we must expect from those in whom we are investing time and effort. We should demand a standard from our potential leaders. They must be focused and determined to push on and come up. They must be disciplined to rise to a position of influence; not being disciplined can result in a downfall.

Unfortunately, we can’t turn back the clock. We can’t start over. We can’t insulate the new generation from the effects of the supply and demand of parking and transportation needs not being met. We can, however, transfer our parking and transportation industry morals, wisdom, values, and etiquette to the next generation.

A good leader doesn’t pass the baton too soon. A great leader does not hold on to the baton too long. Learning how to pass the baton neither too soon nor too late is an art. It is an art that must be rehearsed because both the giver and the receiver need lots of practice!

MONICA TANKSLEY is special events manager at the University of Rochester. She can be reached at mgayton-tanksley@parking.rochester.edu.

TPP-2016-06-Passing the Baton

Recognizing Excellence

Recognizing Excellence

IPI’s 2016 Professional Recognition Program awardees serve as leaders, mentors, and inspirations for the industry.

LOTS OF PEOPLE EMBODY THE “PROFESSIONAL” in “parking professional,” but there are those who do it in a way that not only leads their individual organizations to success, but inspires everyone around them to work a little harder, smile a little more, and strive to reach just a little higher every day. Those are the people IPI recognizes with its Professional Recognition Program awards, and this year’s recipients are no exception.
Honored at the 2016 IPI Conference & Expo in Nashville, this year’s awardees have mentored younger staff members, launched new programs, built bridges between parking departments and their larger communities, and served as leaders both at work and during their off hours. We hope you enjoy their stories and use them to inspire your staff and yourself!

Staff Member of the Year
Jeremy Hernandez | Bicycle Coordinator
The University of Texas at Austin Parking & Transportation Services

In just two years with Parking & Transportation Services at the University of Texas at
Austin, Jeremy Hernandez has become known as a leader and mentor for both his department and the university as a whole. In fact, he’s credited with both promoting excellence at his desk and developing strategic working relationships with local and state government entities, which is a huge plus for the university.

Hernandez oversees the daily operation of the bicycle program, which includes education, maintenance, enforcement, project coordination, wayfinding and communication, community events, auctions, and the daily operations of the campus bicycle shop. He also oversees the Orange Bike Project (a student-led initiative) and the BikeUT Twitter account, where he’s generated more than 600 messages about the university bike program and biking in general. This outreach has spilled over to Bike Texas, where he cultivates an active working relationship to spread the word about safe cycling throughout Austin and the state. Additionally, he works with the City of Austin to coordinate the city’s and university’s bike programs.

Hernandez was instrumental in procuring 100 new bike racks and 1,000 new bicycle parking spaces on campus, some in locations previously inaccessible. He suggested permeable surfaces to create bike parking in areas that weren’t suitable for it before, which combined a new parking addition with a sustainability element.

The UT-Austin Bike Auction, which attracted more than 500 people this year, also owes much of its success to Hernandez; it raised more than $20,000 to support campus bike infrastructure. And he’s done all of this with a great, positive attitude, terrific work ethic, and willingness to both get his hands dirty and lead by example.

Supervisor of the Year
Cathy Harrison | Office Supervisor
Arizona State University Parking & Transit Services, Tempe Campus

Cathy Harrison is one of those people everyone wants to work with. Kind, compassionate, helpful, and motivated, she’s worked with Arizona State University Parking & Transportation Services for more than 20 years.

A supervisor for the past 10 years, Harrison and her staff of seven serve more than 100,000 students and employees. She greets every co-worker and customer every day and helps boost morale, leading by example to encourage her employees to make smart decisions and taking a sincere interest in her crew and customers.

Harrison started her career with Arizona State University as a part-time employee and worked her way up to supervisor, giving her keen insight into each employee’s duties and challenges. Customers know they can rely on her to find the best possible accommodation for each unique situation, and she’s the recipient of several Sun Awards, which are given by university staff to their peers for individual excellence.

She was the first female president of a local chapter of the Tempe and Arizona Jaycees and guided her chapter to a “Chapter of the Year” designation. She is a Life Member of the Tempe Jaycees and received an Arizona Jaycee Senatorship in 1991; she was also named Outstanding Program Manager by the U.S. Jaycees for her work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Lifetime Achievement Award
H. Carl Walker, PE | Chief Executive Officer
Carl Walker, Inc.

H. Carl Walker is wellknown throughout the parking industry as a pioneer in the design of new parking structures and has contributed much to the industry throughout his career. It all started at Precast Industries, Kalamazoo, Mich.; he eventually went to work with T.Y. Lin, an engineering consultant and professor at Cal Berkeley, and designed his first garage: a 600-space structure for General Motors in Detroit, Mich.

Walker founded the company that became Walker Parking Consultants in 1965 and launched what is now Carl Walker, Inc., in 1982. Walker has been personally involved in more than 2,500 parking projects during his career, including parking studies, structural engineering for parking structures, functional design of parking structures, prime design of more than 500 completed structures, restoration projects, and serving as expert witness on many projects.

Early in the 1970s, he led the development of standards for criteria to design parking decks; the manual included vertical loads and other information vital to long-lasting structures. Walker says memories of good projects are usually based on respecting the people who ran them and the good relationships formed during the process. But he’s also known for more technical successes, including:

  • Introducing design concepts that include the use of mercury vapor, sodium vapor, and metal-halide high-intensity lighting; glass-backed elevators; PVC drainage systems; the archistructure concept of structural concrete design; and durability design of extended service life.
  • Developing the first standards for criteria to design parking decks.
  • Speaking around the world.
  • Writing articles about parking structure design and restoration.
  • Being named an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan.
  • Receiving multiple awards from IPI, the University of Michigan, and other organizations.
  • Founding four companies specializing in parking consulting, design, and restoration.

Emerging Leader of the Year
Blanca Gamez | Assistant Director, Parking & Transportation Services
The University of Texas at Austin

Blanca Gamez was hired as a student assistant for special events for the University of Texas at Austin’s Parking & Transportation Services department back in 2000. She worked there until her graduation in 2004, returned to the department as an administrative associate in 2006, earned her master’s degree in public administration and urban and environmental planning, and along the way established herself as a transportation expert and leader both with the university and in the parking industry.

Gamez has held positions on multiple transportation organization boards and worked through numerous organizations to mentor young women preparing for careers in science, technology, engineering, math, and transportation. She’s also an academic coach for the College of Natural Sciences Texas Interdisciplinary Program and a senior advisor with the Con Mi Madre program, where she works with Latina women preparing to go to college.

Gamez is known for working with many groups to build support for car sharing, including establishing an innovative partnership with Zipcar; after seeing the success of the program at the university level, the City of Austin expanded its share program in a similar way. She made changes to the university carpool program that grew it from 50 users to nearly 1,500. And among her greatest successes is the BikeUT program, where she’s developed mixed-use pathways, increased the number of bike lockers and racks, established a bicycle hub and fix-it stations, led bicycle appreciation events, and mentored the student-led Orange Bike Project, which provides short-term rentals for students.

In 2014, Gamez began working on her PhD in adult, professional, and community education and expects to graduate in a few semesters.

Parking Organization of the Year 
Texas Tech University Transportation & Parking Services

During one weekend in November 2015, the Texas Tech University campus hosted the first men’s basketball game of the season; a conference volleyball game; the first round of the NCAA soccer tournament; a Lady Raiders Basketball Education Day game with 105 buses carrying 6,000 children; the final home football game with more than 55,000 fans; a press conference with more than 200 attendees; and 15 additional special events, along with the normal departmental operations on a campus with 35,000 students and 6,000 employees. Five years ago, this feat would have been next to impossible. Today, Texas Tech University Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) handles days like these with relative ease.

After years of complaints, heckling, parking shortages, insults unsuitable to print, and weekly editorial cartoons in the student newspaper blasting the department, TPS placed an intense focus on customer service and technology improvements.

First to come online was a license-plate-recognition (LPR) system coded for university parking use in August 2010. The switch went over extremely well with customers. The department continued its forward progress in fall 2013 with eCitations (the first paperless parking ticket program), becoming the first university parking system to commercialize its software.

Texas Tech also saw a large increase in students using alternative transportation. By fall 2015, 54 percent of students biked, walked, bused, or carpooled to campus. To handle the growth, TPS built bike parking areas, began reselling abandoned bicycles, and assisted the student government association with the management of bus routes and apartment route contract payments. The department changed its name from University Parking Services to Transportation and Parking Services to reflect the wider focus.

Customer service programs expanded:

  • Communications increased permit-holder notifications by email and text.
  • Marketing created the Bike Clinic, a free event for campus cyclists, winning an inaugural IPI Parking Matters® Marketing & Communications Award and earning plenty of campus news coverage.
  • Toys for Tickets encourages customers to exchange a new, unwrapped toy for dismissal of a parking citation.
  • Expectant Mother Parking (EMP) and Temporary Assistance Parking (TAP) programs provide closer parking to permit holders at no charge.
  • The free Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) saved 944 stranded motorists on campus in fiscal year 2015.
  • TPS developed a first-citation dismissal program to give students one citation at no charge to chalk it up to a learning experience.
  • The new abandoned bike sales program returned 130 bicycles to students and employees in 2014—its pilot year—and 342 in 2015.
  • Increased staffing and training helps create a great first impression with families at Raider Welcome move-in events and an increased presence at dozens of campus resource fairs.
  • Proactive Twitter and Facebook accounts provide additional customer service and communications outlets.

Increased efficiency led to increased sales, greater lot utilization, less abuse, and higher and multiple revenue streams. The customer-service focus stopped the editorial cartoons and instead led to informative pieces about parking updates and programs. TPS is now known for its flexibility, openness, service, and efficiency.

Parking Organization of the Year
The University of Texas at Austin, Parking & Transportation Services

As the fastest-growing large city in the U.S., Austin, Texas, is in a race for space, and on the University of Texas at Austin campus, the landscape is no different. New buildings are being erected each year where once there were surface parking lots. As these lots make way for academic progress, the university’s Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) department has adapted by moving parking to the periphery of campus and establishing a robust transportation system. With a campus of more than 75,000 people; events bringing in 100,000+ on a given day; a new medical school on the way; and only 90 full-time PTS employees, PTS runs efficient, innovative, and dedicated operations to provide access and mobility.

PTS added two garages in the past five years, and another three are currently underway. Along with adding electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in an older garage, the newest garage is LEED certified, and PTS is seeking Green Garage Certification (now Parksmart) for those under construction. Once complete, PTS will manage 12 garages and 50 surface lots, totaling nearly 17,000 spaces. Along with lot- and garage-specific permits, low-cost general surface permits are available to access periphery surface lots, and frequent buses transport parkers to and from central campus. PTS also offers a low-cost permit that provides access to periphery surface lots during the day and all-garage access at night and on weekends.

Event and departmental guest parking options include custom event garage access cards, single-use access cards, scratch-off permits, and online event parking through Click and Park, which has collected $350,000 in online event sales since 2012; 12 percent of event parking permits were purchased online last semester.

Within the past two years, PTS has focused on expansion of online services, adding the ability to recharge garage debit cards, as well as manage permit waitlist selections. The university shuttle system has 10 dedicated routes to shuttle individuals around campus, as well as to student housing areas in Austin. PTS partners with the local public transportation provider to offer university affiliates fare-free rides on both the shuttle system and 70 mainline system routes. PTS also collaborated with the university athletics department to provide the Longhorns Express bus service between remote lots and the stadium on football game days.

The uRide 24-5 program operates five days per week providing fare-free car service home from the library after midnight, while uRide Safe Ride was designed to give students safe, no-charge car rides home from the downtown entertainment district. It joins PTS’s other collaboration, the E-Bus, which provides fare-free bus service to and from downtown.

One of PTS’s biggest pushes in recent years has been to improve cycling on campus. PTS’s BikeUT program has semester auctions and runs The Kickstand, a bike hub selling supplies and loaning tools and offering registration. Recently, PTS also began managing a shop where cyclists can rent bikes or use tools.

James M. Hunnicutt, CAPP, Parking Professional of the Year
Anne Guest | (Retired) Director
Missoula Parking Commission

During Anne Guest’s 20-year tenure, the Missoula Parking Commission (MPC) evolved into a full-service agency that builds and manages parking in the Missoula, Mont., community and serves as a major player in local economic development initiatives.

One of the characteristics that sets the MPC apart from most parking programs in the country is its level of community engagement. The MPC and Guest were involved in a wide range of community initiatives, including active involvement with almost every community development agency and significant institutional organization in Missoula. The positive and intimate relationship of the MPC to the Missoula Downtown Association, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, and the Downtown Business Improvement District formed the basis of a cohesive and well-integrated downtown partnership.

Guest and the MPC worked closely with several other organizations to create a comprehensive and integrated access management network in downtown Missoula. The MPC became an effective contributor in the community and economic development arenas along with parking and transportation.

Under Guest’s leadership, the MPC became a major funding partner and active participant in the Greater Missoula Downtown Master Plan. Perhaps the most significant parking program action item to emerge from this was the decision to build a significant new parking garage to support a focus on retail growth. The Park Place garage was an important catalyst project for the community and won an IPI Award of Excellence.

Guest also oversaw the development of a parking strategic plan, which was an integrated element of the Greater Missoula Downtown Master Plan. The MPC adopted a strategic framework of 10 guiding principles that aligned parking philosophies and programs with the larger downtown strategic goals and objectives. To keep the community informed of the parking program’s progress, the MPC created an annual report that further explained the importance and contributions of the MPC. The report included a section titled “Why Parking Matters.”

Finally, Guest oversaw an upgrade to the latest modern multi-space meter technology that added a wide range of positive downtown customer service enhancements.

James M. Hunnicutt, CAPP, Parking Professional of the Year 
Melinda Alonzo, CAPP | Director, Parking & Transit
Arizona State University Parking & Transit Services

To many, parking is thought of as merely two stall lines, nine feet apart, that designate where a car can be left unattended. To Melinda Alonzo, it’s about leading-edge technology, abundant alternate transportation options, and innovative programs with an unwavering focus on customer service.

In 2011, Alonzo introduced Service Blueprinting to Arizona State University Parking & Transit Services (ASU PTS). More than 60 PTS employees have participated in Service Blueprinting training, mastering a versatile and practical technique that visualizes service processes and delivery from a customer’s point of view.

Under Alonzo’s stewardship, bicycling at ASU has blossomed into a program that boasts three card-access bicycle parking facilities; four bike valet stations; nearly 4,000 registered bicyclists; and 25 percent more bike racks on campus than there were just three years ago.

In 2006, she created an in-house communications team to facilitate more effective and timely information to PTS customers. This venture proved so successful that the associate vice president for university business services employed the team to assist other departments with their communications efforts. Alonzo developed the Gimme-A-Break program in 2007—vehicles not in the parking database system receive a $0 citation upon their first parking citation on campus. She also established the Eco-Pass, which allows for 30 all-day in/out parking privileges at a designated parking structure or lot. This program makes taking alternate forms of transportation more attractive because it provides commuters with a safety net during rainy-day situations.

In what is perhaps the most tangible proof of giving back to the campus community, Alonzo created the Benefactor Program to donate parking revenue to a university program or student-run organization. More than $18,000 has been donated to Arizona State University’s American Dream Academy, Student Health Outreach for Wellness, and the ASU School of Art combined.

TPP-2016-07-Recognizing Excellence

 

Preparing for Bad Behavior

By Cindy Campbell

Hostility. Aggression. Belligerence. Incivility. Rudeness.

All these words describe bad human behavior. Again this week, an over-the-top outburst was caught on video and went viral. Maybe you’ve seen it: A female would-be airline passenger went ballistic at the gate, reportedly because her flight was delayed.

It’s disheartening to think these scenarios don’t surprise us anymore. We have grown to expect bad behavior and at some level, tolerate it. Having said that, there is a significant difference between expecting bad behavior and being trained and prepared to encounter and effectively deal with it. We see emotional, anger-filled outbursts and disrespectful behavior everywhere. As our agencies’ representatives, frontline staff must be well prepared to handle these encounters.

It’s important to recognize that within our industry, customers are frequently hostile, even aggressive, and often have difficulty hearing and understanding our intended message. You have likely experienced scenarios where citizens see themselves as victims rather than customers. The skillset to capably provide helpful service within a public service agency requires the ability to quickly sort information and apply an appropriate response. Frontline staff typically perform their duties independently and therefore must be resourceful and aware that their words affect how they are perceived. The goal must be to quickly decipher what we hear while keeping our emotions under control so we are prepared to calmly and effectively address the situation.

What steps will you take to promote this concept within your agency in 2019?

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite trainings; visit parking-mobility.org.

When Parkers are Pushed to their Limits

By Cindy Campbell

As a frequent flyer, you learn to roll with flight delays and cancellations—unless, of course, you enjoy unnecessary agitation and high blood pressure. A recent late-night flight out of Los Angeles was cancelled and I had the unanticipated opportunity to witness high drama at the curb. Perhaps you’ve heard: LAX now prohibits TNCs and taxis from picking up passengers curbside, instead shuttling these would-be ride-hailers to a remote location where they can meet up with their drivers. During the first week of this new curb management strategy, media outlets were reporting wait times in excess of 90 minutes for some customers. Needless to say, the new shuttle plan is still being tweaked. Travelers are inconvenienced to be sure, but the somewhat overlooked airport parking and traffic personnel have a thankless job as they deal with a higher than normal number of irate, agitated, belligerent passengers.

It’s no secret that frontline personnel within our industry encounter rude—even aggressive—customers on a regular basis. In fact, many of IPMI’s online and onsite training programs were specifically designed to address these difficult customer situations. What happens when a customer fully crosses the line and threatens—or even physically attacks—our personnel? While no one wants to promote physical confrontation, it’s important that we’re able to protect ourselves with the skill set necessary to escape harm when confronted.

“Out of Danger” is the featured article in the November issue of Parking & Mobility magazine. If you haven’t had the opportunity, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through it. The article highlights the City of Milwaukee and their work with Vistelar, a company known for their deescalation, non-escalation, and physical escape training. Training sessions (like Vistelar’s program) offer our industry additional resources to better address the growing concern for employee safety. Check it out.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist.