Tag Archives: municipal

Putting Places Worth Visiting in Parking Priorities

Traditional cities are typically found on and around transport routes–rivers, roads and railways. They occupy strategic locations for trade, security, crossings, and meeting points. Streets/roads define the city/urban form as both paths and edges. In the past few centuries, attempts to fix the city have focused on the restructuring of the road and transport systems. New transport technologies have been central to the rethinking and reshaping of the city; that has been the case in the past and will very likely be the case in the future.

Rethinking parking for the twenty-first century requires that we think beyond the professional silos we have created. There is a need to integrate parking with a range of evolving policy areas and new challenges and opportunities. The extent of change will vary by place, but a helicopter view highlights a number of notable trends. These include the rise of AI (note how this may also radically improve urban transit options and reduce costs), electric vehicles, and provision of charging stations with parking, the booming car-share/ride-share economy, a decline in dependence on the private car, a concern to minimize climate change impacts and improve environmental outcomes, and rethinking cheap/free and expansive park-and-ride in favor of transit-oriented development.

Learn why it’s so important to factor in destinations and places worth visiting when setting parking priorities, in the November issue of Parking & Mobility.


From Static Storage to an Engaged Curb for People and Goods

By Benito Pérez, CAPP; Lawrence Marcus; Alejandra Argudin, CAPP; and Michael Sawyer

Parking management demands have evolved in the past two decades while municipal practice is catching up. There are several components for organizations to consider, including  technology and   workforce development to the evolution from being  a storage manager to manager of  a dynamic curb serving the movement of people and goods.

Parking management has been a static practice for a better part of six-plus decades with the introduction of the parking meter in 1935, the proliferation of automobiles, and little innovation for a long time after. Municipal parking management led to a standard practice of managing vehicle storage. When parking pressures overwhelmed a community, they built more and more parking.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, when cities had been hollowed out by large roadways and oceans of parking. Municipal leaders in several cities realized things needed to change (can’t build your way out of a parking problem) when it came to transportation and parking management to liven up their economic fortunes and community vitality. Adding to the pressure of revitalizing municipal economic fortunes, there has been an evolution of shared mobility, commercial docking, and pending connected automated vehicle (CAV) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) demands competing with traditional parking at the curb.

Some municipalities have taken innovative measures to redefine their curbside management practices within the past decade. Such efforts have been aimed toward improving the urban fabric, sustainability and resiliency, and maximizing the value of the curb to serve the movement of people and goods. However, those efforts did not happen in a vacuum or overnight.

Reflecting on work from Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, and Miami, what does it take to manage shifting mobility practices? Key to the discussion is understanding and valuing the components of the streetscape that are essential to a vibrant curbside and mapping a path forward towards building and evolving a successful municipal curbside management program.

Benito Pérez, CAPP, is a transportation advocate formerly with the District Department of Transportation. Lawrence Marcus is with Forward Progress. Alejandra Argudin, CAPP, is with the Miami Parking Authority. Michael Sawyer is with the City of Richmond, Va. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

Industry Disconnect: Cutting Edge vs. Reality

By Kevin White, CAPP, AICP

I fear there may be a disconnect developing between a lot of parking and mobility industry discourse around new, “cutting edge” technology and many municipalities and parking operations across the United States and beyond. It seems every time I turn around, there are new vendors and technologies and solutions flooding the parking and mobility market. The creativity and innovation are welcome; new ideas, people, and technologies are essential for continued industry growth and advancement. That said, it’s dizzying at times, and we professionals work to stay on top of all the developments.

New technologies, cameras, sensors, apps, “big data,” “integrated solutions,” curb management, micro-mobility, and other topics have been en vogue in our industry in recent years. We all love talking about and learning about what’s new, what’s cutting edge. These topics are essential, but I fear that industry discussion and solutions being proposed are aimed predominantly at the upper “1 percent” of cities and operators—large, dense, urban, and multi-modal cities or other large operators with dedicated staff, expertise, and resources.

Our dialogue and solutions presume a certain level of parking and mobility expertise, a certain level of resources and operational savvy to even be able to consider or understand the new ideas, new ways of managing curb space or parking and mobility systems, or the new latest and greatest technology.

I think we are failing to speak to the lion’s share of the municipalities and parking operators across this country: the medium and smaller communities that still need to manage parking and mobility systems but do not have dedicated staff, specific parking knowledge or training, or are constrained to complete fundamental management tasks, who may not collect parking and mobility data or even know what to collect or how to use it. These communities may also struggle with limited resources and staff time.

We need to do more as industry professionals to create a dialogue, a message, and a set of solutions that reaches the masses and addresses a range of issues with customized solutions.

Kevin White, CAPP, AICP, is a parking and mobility consultant with Walker Consultants.

D.C. Considers Shrinking Residential Permit Parking Zones

Washington, D.C. is considering breaking up its residential parking permit zones. Under a D.C. Council bill, the city’s current eight zones would become 41, reducing the area where residents could park with permits.

Currently, D.C. residents may park anywhere in the city wards where they live. Under the new system, the area where they could park with permits would be reduced into Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Councillors said the Rightsizing Residential Permit Parking Regulation Amendment Act is designed to offer more parking for residents of neighborhoods with limited space, and help business owners struggling with space turnover for customers.

What Is That New Normal?

New normal word with yellow arrow on roadBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

For the past 12 months, we have been pontificating about what the post-pandemic world might look like:

  • Would we all just work from home forever?
  • Would we have all of our goods delivered out of convenience?
  • Would the state of our downtowns and campuses forever be shifted?
  • Would people even commute and park anymore?

If you talked to some people this time one year ago (me included), you’d have thought the new environment would be a completely different world than the “before times,” while other people were convinced we would bounce back and go right back to where we were. And as with everything in life, the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle: A little bit of good from the before, a little bit of good from the quarantine days, and you find yourself in a post-pandemic world that begins to reshape life without radically transforming our industry’s landscape.

I’ve had the good fortune of doing some interesting work with several programs over the past few months, evaluating what change was beginning to look like–analyzing data and patterns about how people were commuting and parking and what those shifts taught us. As the country opened up further and further in the summer and fall of 2020, we began to see more people come back into the office or emerge for destination-based trips. And as we’ve entered into 2021, we can begin to start seeing some of the patterns that will shape our industry, including
hybrid work models (two to three days per week in the office) that create alternative commute patterns

Shifts in demand peaks, like higher demand levels in the evening for destination-based demands (restaurants and entertainment districts), are likely different in every community. As a parking program manager, it’s critical to begin looking deeper into your data now to understand how the new demand patterns will affect your programs, policies, and practices. Begin to review permit patron patterns: How often are they coming in and when are they coming in? Look at transient patterns: When do they occur and how does this compare to similar times in 2019? Looking at how those shifts are occurring can begin to help you shape what you offer your patrons and how you manage your system. And as the country returns to a more stable activity pattern, you will be prepared to define what the new normal is for your program to serve the community around you.

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

The Value of Curb Space

Cars parked along city curb.By Chrissy Mancini Nichols

A century ago, in establishing the first parking regulations, planners recognized the value of curb space.  In The Storage of Dead Vehicles on Roadways, William Phelps Eno discussed how parallel parking at the curb caused, “considerable waste[d] space” and that on roads dedicated to commercial purposes, “the importance of getting to the curb is paramount.” There was even a discussion on prioritization of curb use.  Eno wrote, “Surely conveyances such as streetcars, buses, and taxicabs, which are available to the general public, should have precedence, if necessary, over those for private vehicle use.”

Our predecessors understood that the curb was a tool to promote local business activity, grant people more access, and keep traffic flowing—the curb was there to serve people.  But historically the curb has mostly served as a place for private vehicle storage.

The curb isn’t a parking lot. It is a vital community space and one of the most extensive and valuable pieces of real estate in a city—and it is a finite commodity. Current trends that have only escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the importance of curbs in helping many industries succeed. Ride apps need pick-up and drop-off spaces, commercial and on-demand delivery companies compete for loading zones, dockless scooters and bike-share operators need parking spots, and restaurants want parklets for outdoor dining.

Given these trends, cities can use the policy tools at their disposal–zoning, regulations, financing mechanisms–to align private-sector goals with public-sector priorities for curb use. With active and intentional curb management, communities can offer more equitable access among different users, improve the level of service for everyone, collect data on transportation behaviors, and eventually create a sustainable revenue source.

Chrissy Mancini Nichols is the national curb management lead for Walker Consultants.  She will present on this topic during IPMI’s 2021 Mobility & Innovation Summit online, February 24-25. Early-bird rates expire Jan. 15; for details and to register, click here.

MSNBC: Transportation Changes Equal Effect of Building Railroads

Cartoon delivery van in a city.An analysis on MSNBC equates pandemic-born changes to transportation with the birth of the U.S. railroads in the 19th century.

“If the pandemic were to continue or a vaccine was distributed right away, it really doesn’t change anything, because this was a train already moving down the track,” said Rich Thompson, who leads the global supply chain and logistics solutions team for the commercial real estate company JLL. “It’s just now accelerating.”

Thompson goes on to say a new network being created by private delivery carriers is effectively the same kind of revolution as the construction of the railroads hundreds of years ago.

“Parcel deliveries are akin to the creation of the American railroad system,” he said. “These alternative logistics providers are trying to create a private delivery network across the country — because that’s what we need.”

The article looks at what COVID-19 has meant for retail and delivery and briefly, into what it’s meant for cities; while curb management isn’t mentioned, there’s no question its acceleration has been a huge, permanent effect of the pandemic. Read the whole story here.

Saying Yes–More Than You Usually Would

Line of Lamborghinis in a parking garageBy Gary Means, CAPP

OK, I know in the parking and transportation business we often have to say “no”. No parking at a fire hydrant! No motorcycles in the gated garage! No walking around in the bus when its in motion! No dance parties on the garage roof!

Many of our rules are for our customers’ safety, but we have to admit there are some rules that are still in place because we’ve always done it that way or it’s too much administrative work to do it differently. Some questionable rules might be “no reserved parking,” or “no sharing of permits.” We have an ordinance in Lexington, Ky., that says we can write a citation on a vehicle parked with its keys left in the ignition. Honestly, we ignore that one.

My point is that maybe there are some rules or policies that don’t make sense today or are one-sided, and by that I mean rules that are good for our organization but maybe not so good for the customer.

About a year ago, the Lexington Parking Authority was asked if a Lamborghini car club could park their vehicles in one of our garages for a few days. Lot’s of reasons for a “No!” popped into my head, the least of which was: Do I really want to have more than $7 million worth of Lamborghinis parking in our garage? What if some concrete falls? What if one of them gets keyed? After conversing with my team, we decided to allow this group to park with us–they definitely had the money to pay for the additional reserved rate and hire their own security. We went on to coordinate a wash station for them in the back of the garage and helped find safe places for those arriving by transport to unload safely, and it was a pretty cool experience. Most importantly one of our downtown hotels gained a piece of business that brought in over $20,000 in three days.

The group had a great time in Lexington and I’m sure some of them or their friends will return to our friendly town someday and spend more money.

During this time of uncertainty and change, hopefully this little story might get you thinking about ways your organization might change to create opportunities in your community. BONUS: If you are really into sports cars or just like bright colors, click here to see some of the pics we took while they stayed with us.

Gary Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington & Fayette County, Ky., Parking Authority and chair-elect of IPMI’s Board of Directors.

IPMI Webinar: Curbing COVID-19 at the Curb, presented by Matthew Darst, Conduent Transportation.

Curbing COVID-19 at the Curb

Matthew Darst, JD; Director of Curbside Management; Conduent Transportation

Register here for this webinar.

Or purchase the entire 2021 professional development series bundle.

How we think about traveling and commuting in the cities where we work and live has changed dramatically with the spread of COVID-19 . We drive less, eschew public transportation, and are less likely to use shared mobility devices.  This new definition of mobility has exacerbated declining municipal revenues. Cities and states face a unique challenge: stimulate local economies and generate revenue all while working to reopen responsibly to prevent new hot spots of infection and protect public health.

Curbside technologies offer unique solutions to help fund government programs while safeguarding the public. Curbside technologies can help monitor and mitigate viral spread, provide economic relief to constituents, and create a path for municipal revenue recovery. Cities have an opportunity to quickly pivot and utilize metered parking, permit parking, citation issuance and processing, and data science to achieve critical municipal goals.

Attendees will:

  • Identify curbside strategies for reducing the risk of contagion, providing relief to customers, and helping fund critical municipal goals.
  • Assess curbside data for its effectiveness as an early indicator of people congregating/flaunting social distancing guidelines, the need for enforcement, and the spread of COVID-19.
  • Detail best practices and measure the effectiveness of amnesty and relief programs for constituents and revenue recovery efforts.

Offers 1 CAPP Credit towards application or recertification.


Matthew Darst, JD; Director of Curbside Management; Conduent Transportation

Matt Darst, JD, oversees Conduent Transportation’s analytics team, helping cities use data to better manage curbside resources to promote social equity, improve pedestrian safety, and increase physical distancing during the pandemic. Prior to joining Conduent, he served in the public sector for 16 years.

Register here.

Urban Mobility After COVID-19

More of us are working from home than ever—some with no return to office in sight. Buses and commuter trains are running nearly empty in some markets, cars stay parked for weeks at a time, and the demand for bikes is unprecedented.

COVID-19 has had huge effects on the way people get around, but what might it mean for the future of cities? The City Fix, a publication of the World Resources Institute, has some thoughts:

  • Active mobility (walking, biking, scootering, etc.) will remain popular and cities may decide to widen or create dedicated spaces for those transportation modes, away from cars.
  • Working and learning from home may never go back to pre-pandemic, low levels, which may translate to less traffic, more open space, and less tolerance for crowds on and off roads. This may lead to more taxes for road users who hope to get from place to place on more than two wheels.
  • Transit may shift from scheduled services to on-demand, tailored routes—sort of like Uber but with buses. Startups may play a big role in developing the technologies to make this happen.
  • Nature-based infrastructure becomes a bigger, more visible part of transportation.

Curious about this vision? Read more here. Let us know in the comments—is this an accurate picture?