Tag Archives: garages

Reshaping Parking

2020-04-07 IPMI blog postBy David W. Burr

The Coronavirus crisis has thrown our lives into disarray and has shaken up our industry. While the economic impact will linger, the public health crisis will likely pass in a matter of weeks. But even as it passes, it will be important that we as an industry learn from this crisis. This pandemic provides a stark reminder that people are susceptible to illness, and we should endeavor to find ways to minimize the risk.

The parking process exposes people to many common touchpoints, forcing drivers to touch surfaces that others (often many others) have already touched. This is how illness spreads, and as we are learning during this pandemic, viruses can live for several days on surfaces. This is an important issue, not just now, but in normal times too. We are constantly coming into contact with flu and cold viruses as well as many types of bacteria. Perhaps we can reduce this risk within parking facilities.

As a parking facility designer, I’ve always considered safety to be one of the most important design elements. Until recently, though, these types of healthcare issues weren’t part of the equation. So, the question is, how can we reduce the risk of viruses being introduced to high-use surfaces with the structure?

Technology can play an important role. There are a number of technologies already in use that can reduce touchpoints. Perhaps the most common and useful are frictionless parking suites that use LPR to recognize a vehicle as it enters and exits, and automatically bill the driver’s credit card. These suites eliminate the need to stop and pull a ticket or physically pay at exits. These suites can be installed during a garage’s initial development, or as part of a retrofit.

There are also technologies that allow parkers to reserve a space and pre-pay before they leave the house or use their cell phones to pay while they are at the parking facility. Pre-booking and mobile payment platforms don’t just promote public health, but they also make parking more convenient and they don’t cost owners a penny to offer.

From a design point of view, the most common touchpoints are in elevators and elevator towers, stairways, and door handles. It’s difficult to eliminate these types of touchpoints since people need to push elevator buttons, use railings as they climb stairs, and open doors. However, there are materials, such as copper, that actually kill viruses and bacteria. Perhaps we should start sheathing touchpoints like stair railings, door handles, and even elevator buttons with copper. While copper is more expensive to use than stainless steel or plastic, the public health benefits may make it worth taking on the cost.

The Coronavirus crisis has disrupted our lives, but hopefully, it is also making us look at parking in new, more creative ways. Ultimately, even when this crisis is over, these types of solutions will continue to provide public health benefits.

David W. Burr is parking planning director with Rich & Associates.

Non-paying “Parkers” Causing Real Problems

Pigeons on a parking garageBy William R. Conner, CAPP

Hey, anybody out there have any solutions to a pigeon problem in a garage?

The problem was noticed last spring on level one of the garage around the exit. Pigeons were roosting on the beams above the exit gates and depositing all their droppings on the ground below. We contacted the local pest control folks, first to clean up and then devise a prevention solution.

The initial idea was to capture the birds and release them outside the city. Catch and release did not guarantee they would not return. So the pest control company set up cages along the beams to collect the birds. Baited the cages and waited … waited … for about four months. Smart birds–the traps only captured one (another one was released by a customer). This also prompted a visit from the city animal control officer.

With capture and release not an option, the next idea was to what they called spike-and-slope. This would place spikes on the flat parts of the beams and pipes. We started with levels one through four, but the birds kept moving upward and  we ended up doing levels five through eight as well.

Well, we still have the problem. Our last option is to screen in the open floor–unless someone out there has another idea?

William R. Conner, CAPP, is assistant director, parking services, for the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh.

IPMI Webinar: Watch Your Assets! How to Monetize Most Effectively

Live Online Webcast: $35.00 for IPMI Members, $85.00 for Non-Members

Register Button

Description: In the next decade, a growing number of state and local governments, colleges and universities, airports, transit systems, and water and sewer authorities are likely to explore asset monetization. State and local governments own infrastructure properties of significant value and, despite a 10-year economic expansion, some remain fiscally pressured and unable to properly maintain their properties. The scale of today’s infrastructure decay, the declining fiscal health of the U.S. public sector, and a growing appetite from large institutional investors (private sector) for infrastructure properties make asset sales or leases more likely than in the past.

Parking assets (garages, decks, on-street operations) are often eyed by political administrations as a possible cash cow for their pet projects. Now, we see these assets used to fund much-needed infrastructure and technology upgrades.

Learning Objectives:

In this webinar, we will highlight the pros and cons of:

  • Buy outright; part of a system.
  • Sell or lease the entire system.
  • Lease-Leaseback.


Mark Vergenes is the president of MIRUS Consultants.

Having entered the parking industry in late 1999, Mark has built a clientele that consists of real estate development firms, individuals, and cities. His practice focuses on consulting with those who need an experienced advisor for their project(s).

He is the co-author of A Guide To Parking; Chapter 9, “Economics and Finance” published by IPMI. You can also find him in IPMI’s magazine, The Parking Professional, where he is a financial columnist.





Tim Horstmann is a public finance and tax attorney at McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg, PA. Tim advises governmental entities on the structuring of taxable and tax-exempt revenue bond and general obligation bond financings for a variety of capital projects, including parking facilities, schools, and higher education institutions and water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. He also represents clients in the monetization of publicly-owned assets through various arrangements such as sales, leases, sale/leasebacks, and lease/leasebacks.

Case Study: A Year in the Life

Sustainable parking and mobility projects from 2018.

By Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C

2018_12 Case study A year in the life pg 1 2018_12 Case study A year in the life pg 2

Once again, 2018 provided a number of advancements in parking and mobility sustainable projects. We continue to see incredible success and progress in sustainable parking planning, design, construction, operations, and technology. People within and outside the parking and mobility industry have embraced the possibilities of incorporating sustainable concepts and strategies into their parking programs and projects—an idea that once seemed impossible to many. More often, owners and developers are incorporating sustainability efforts and certification requirements into their procurement standards, and many vendors and professional service providers are to using these ideas without even being asked. This year, we saw numerous exam­ples of successful sustainable parking and mobility projects. Here’s a look back at just a few.

Stanford Roble Field Parking Garage
Stanford, Calif.
As urban campuses grow and thrive, green space becomes an invaluable resource that is often lost to densification. Design­ing parking with a green roof is one way to have your cake and eat it too. Stanford University has utilized this approach for a number of parking garages on campus, most recently for Roble Field. To preserve this open grass space where students gather, relax, and enjoy recreational sports, the university developed a 1,162-space parking garage ­underneath it.

Not only did the facility preserve the field, it also virtually eliminated the perception of a below-grade parking structure. To minimize load on the structure, the turf field consists of 24 inches of engineered lightweight soil. In addition to a green roof, the facility is in the process of attaining Parksmart Silver certification. The five-level, below-grade structure pro­vides 52 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations with provi­sions for an additional 84. It offers active recycling programs, ride-sharing incentives, and a shared parking program. Locat­ed near a shuttle stop, the facility adds pedestrian and bicycle linkage and features bicycle parking.

Following the success of this project, Stanford University is pursuing a similar strategy with Manzanita Field, planning an 850-stall parking structure beneath the existing recreational space, featuring basketball and volleyball courts. The Manzanita Parking Structure is also pursuing Parksmart certification.

Nashville International Airport Parking and Transportation Center
Nashville, Tenn.
Due to the tremendous growth in passengers at Nashville International Airport (BNA), the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) is planning BNA Vision, a multi-year expansion program. One of the first projects under the program is the Parking and Transportation Center, which opened in November 2018. The center has 2,200 parking spaces and a ground transportation center on the bottom level for shuttles, buses, taxis, and transportation network companies. As with all projects at the airport, the Nashville Airport Experience (NAE), BNA’s customer service mantra, was the guiding principle during design. One of the primary considerations of NAE is sustainability.

The facility is pursuing Parksmart certification and has included several features that help meet this goal and im­prove the customer experience such as:

  • EV charging stations.
  • Tire inflation station.
  • Recycling program.
  • Internal and external automated parking guidance system.
  • Idle-reduction payment systems.

Additionally, MNAA has included features that help reduce operating costs and meet the airport’s sustainable goals, including:

  • Rainwater harvesting for irrigation.
  • Water-efficient landscaping.
  • Lighting system with daylight and occupancy sensor controls.
  • Proactive operation maintenance program.

All of these features plus the additional measures taken during construction, such as regional materials and labor as well as a construction waste management program, have been integrated into the project to create a net positive impact both economically and environmentally.

New Jersey Institute of Technology
Parking Garage
Newark, N.J.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently completed a new 941-space parking structure on its campus in Newark, N.J. The facility is an infill project located on a previous parking lot.

The NJIT parking facility is pursuing Parksmart Bronze certification. Sustainable elements include:

  • EV charging stations.
  • Public green space for use of students, faculty, staff, and the community.
  • Natural ventilation.
  • Newark Light Rail one block away.
  • Extensive sustainable purchasing program that includes paper, furniture, parking tags, and more.
  • Vehicle-idle reduction systems.
  • Sustainable maintenance and cleaning procedures.
  • Energy efficient LED lighting.
  • Native, water-efficient landscaping around the garage.
  • Recycling program.

The garage will support the growing parking needs of the campus, serving students, faculty, and staff and accommodating future development plans. The parking structure is designed to support future installation of approximately 14,000 square feet of retail/flex space.

Pittsburgh Gold 1 Garage
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Located adjacent to nearby PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates), Heinz Field (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers), and other entertainment and dining establishments, Pittsburgh’s Gold 1 Garage is the first garage to achieve Parksmart Gold certification. The design of this new-construction parking facility showcases the City of Pittsburgh’s sustainability goals and provides a convenient point of access to the popular area for daily, weekend, and event patrons.

Owned and operated by the Stadium Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, the six-level, 1,000-space garage reduced energy consumption by specifying the use of regional materials and diverting more than 85 percent of construction waste from landfills. The facility also includes a single-stream recycling program that encourages patrons to recycle cardboard, paper, glass, and aluminum.

The multi-modal facility is located in close proximity to a number of bus stops and light rail stations, encouraging more sustainable transportation options, and 4 percent of the garage spaces are reserved for fuel-efficient, carpool, or HOV ride-share vehicles. The garage also includes two DC fast-charging stations, a commuter shuttle program for local hospital employees, and 100 bike parking spaces along with a bike maintenance station and bike racks.

The garage features living walls made of native, drought-tolerant plants and perennial vines to harvest rainwater and direct it to screens and surrounding plant beds. Further, the owner included an educational program via large electronic LED displays in the lobby, highlighting sustainable features and fun facts about the garage, including the benefits of green wall plantings and the stormwater capture system.

Obiicev Venac Public Parking Garage
Belgrade, Serbia
The Obiicev Venac Public Parking Garage is located in the Central Zone of Belgrade, near the city’s downtown pedestrian zone. It is part of the public utility (Parking Servis) garage network, which manages 35,000 parking spaces serving the 2 million residents of Serbia’s capital city.

Due to its location in the city’s historical downtown, the architectural design complements the surrounding ambience, while managing to increase the number of parking spaces. In ad­dition to meeting growing parking demand, goals of the project included extensive energy-efficient practices, minimizing the environmental impact, promoting sustainable transportation, and decreasing costs through efficient management.

Some of the innovative sustainability features include:

  • Solar panels.
  • EV charging stations.
  • LED lighting.
  • Recycling program.
  • Natural ventilation of parking decks.
  • Internal and external wayfinding signage.
  • Free rental bicycles.
  • Incentives for drivers of alternative-fuel vehicles.
  • Renewable source generation plant (PV panels) .
  • 92 percent of indoor lighting controlled by occupancy sensors.
  • 98 percent of outdoor lighting controlled by programed timers.

The project also incorporated a number of successful com­munity outreach features and programs, including:

  • Installing a local meeting point with free Wi-Fi.
  • Incorporating placemaking zones for exhibitions, educational, and cultural purposes.
  • Allocating parking spaces for local residents and providing them with subsidized parking.

Originally constructed 40 years ago, the facility’s reconstruction has set a new standard for sustainable parking and transportation. In April 2018, Obilicev Venac achieved Parksmart Bronze certification, becoming the first garage in Europe to be awarded Parksmart certification. The application of Parksmart measures resulted in a 33 percent reduction in operation and maintenance costs.

Cal Poly Pomona
Pomona, Calif.
Cal Poly Pomona’s second parking structure recently earned Parksmart Bronze certification. The 1,800-space parking facility includes a number of sustainable features, including:

  • Solar panels.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • Secure bicycle storage.
  • Automated, dimmable LED lighting.
  • 24 EV charging stations.
  • Ride-share parking.

The facility also serves as a stop for four university shuttles, one of which connects with local transit, allowing students to use alternative transportation to reach the campus.
Michael Biagi, university director of parking and transportation services, says, “It’s the best parking on campus by far. It provides the quickest shuttle service to the center of campus, and I think it will provide the best parking experience for our students. The sustainable features of this structure really have our students excited about what can be done with sustainable design.” Biagi highlighted the drought-tolerant landscaping and state-of-the-art rainwater collection system as two of the features that demonstrate the university’s commitment to protecting the environment.

The $41 million structure was built on the site of a surface parking lot, and university officials went to great lengths through­out the process to ensure that the construction and operation of the structure was as sustainable as possible. The contractor used locally sourced concrete, recycled asphalt to pave the surface lot, and hired local labor to shorten workers’ commutes.

Main Street Cupertino Loft Residences Garage
Cupertino, Calif.
Developed by Sand Hill Property Company, Main Street Cupertino Lofts is part of a newly created, mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of Silicon Valley, known as Main Street Cupertino. Main Street Lofts is the second location in the development. The property includes a two-level, below-grade, 92,000-square-foot parking garage.

The mechanical ventilation system for the Lofts garage is powered by two exhaust fan-motor units with a combined 47.5 horsepower powering respective centrifugal fan units.
Per California code, the garage ventilation system must run 24/7 in a subterranean garage with people residing above it. With no means of control in place and running 24/7, the garage-fan motor units would consume slightly more than 333,200-kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, with a correlating peak kilowatt (kW) demand greater than 38 kW.

The facility’s energy solutions provider deployed its demand-control ventilation system, including 23 BACnet-communicating, carbon monoxide (CO) sensors mounted throughout both levels of the garage. The sensors provide instantaneous feedback to the controller, which then relays speed commands to the garage’s exhaust-fan motors, increasing and decreasing motor speeds based on CO concentrations at a given time. This approach, when deployed with the facility’s proprietary and patent-pending control logic, routinely captures kWh and peak kW demand savings in the range of 95 percent—and, in the case of the Main Street Lofts garage, greater.

Since the time of the building commissioning, real-time data logging of kW consumption shows the garage is limiting the motors’ combined kWh consumption to just 9,200 kWh/year, providing a savings of roughly 324,000 kWh a year. Peak kW demand is being reduced by 37 kW/year, all while the property’s large garage ventilation fans run continuously.

Parking and mobility professionals have seen a significant transformation of the industry, with sus­tainability becoming inherent in every aspect. It con­tinues to be exciting to see all the innovative ideas and products coming out of this industry, and the future promises to be groundbreaking.

Read the article here.

MEGAN LEINART, LEED AP BD+C, is president of Leinart Consulting. She can be reached at megan@leinartconsulting.com.