Tag Archives: municipal

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.

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.


Presenter:

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.

Free Online Shoptalk: Leadership on Their Terms to Ease Stress and Enable Focus


Free Online Shoptalk: Leadership on Their Terms to Ease Stress and Enable Focus

Download the Shoptalk here.

IPMI invites all industry professionals in parking, transportation, and mobility to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted your various mobility programs and options, including how we plan for municipal on street operations post COVID-19.

Now more than ever, empathy, self-awareness, and sensitivity are key aspects to leading teams and maintaining healthy relationships (just ask any celebrity busted on social media for complaining about cabin fever from their palatial home). Meeting employees where their heads are to communicate change, celebrate success, and break bad news are the leadership qualities that win the day in today’s environment.

If you’re leading others and, would like to go from good to better or haven’t really had to lean on these aspects of leadership until now, this online Shoptalk will be well worth your time. Join Colleen Niese and Vicki Pero from The Marlyn Group for a highly interactive session to discuss key strategies and take away easy-to-implement tactics to ensure your leadership from a distance will:

Objectives:

  • Make decisions that consider team members needs in a COVID-19 world.
  • Help manage stress for your team and you(!).
  • Support all in accomplishing the work at hand with as much focus as can be expected.

Moderator: 

Niese headshotColleen M. Niese, SPHR understanding of what makes a business tick comes from her nearly 25 years of parking industry experience, and her insatiable curiosity about high-performing business.

With a background in leading an international shared services center to then consulting in strategic HR and customer service to now overseeing new business development, sales and client relations for Zephire, the people-first complete monthly parking solution, Colleen is well versed when it comes to a parking operator’s priorities in managing seamless monthly parking.  She possesses a unique skillset to listen to a client’s needs and connecting Zephire’s holistic solution to each individual’s expectation.  In her spare time, Colleen is a hopeless Cleveland Browns fan (there’s always next year!).

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.

IPMI Webinar: Reimagining a Sustainable, Resilient Workforce for Curbside Management

On-Demand: $35.00 for IPMI Members, $85.00 for Non-Members

Description:

There is disruption occurring across cities relating to curbside management. Between innovation and intensifying mobility demands, the traditional management of the curb is being jostled to meet those demands. In municipalities across the US, there is recognition to have a Curbside Management Divisions (CMDs) effectuate the wholesale management of the curb.  This webinar looks to highlight a peer review of municipal best practices and engage in an industry dialogue on the municipal curbside management workforce.

Objectives:

  • Identify principles and guidance in building and sustaining a municipal curbside management team
  • Compare needs and demands among municipal entities and industry partners regarding the future of municipal curbside management
  • Identify workforce development principles to recruit and retain curbside management talent

Presenters: 

Benito O. Pérez is a Curbside Management & Operations Planning Manager with the District Department of Transportation. In his capacity, he works on managing a team involved with creating, accessing, analyzing, visualizing, disseminating, and working with stakeholders to leverage data for policy development, resource allocation, and operations management of the District’s curbside.

 

 

Evian Patterson heads up curbside management in the District of Columbia with a focus on implementing data-driven solutions. He leads teams in managing more than 12,000 smart meter assets for 19,000+ on-street spaces, with 50+ percent of transactions in mobile payments, as well as regulating residential parking. In 2016, he oversaw the expansion of the parking division for next-generation curbside management operations to include access for taxis, buses, freight, and transportation network companies.

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.

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?

 

 

Flexibility and COVID-19

COVID-19 parking transportation curbBy Mark Lyons, CAPP     

Albert Einstein said the measure of intelligence is the ability to change. The demand for changes in mobility programs as a result of COVID-19 are enough to make any good mobility professional more flexible than taffy on hot day. I know you’re probably more than done with hearing about C-19 issues. And, yes, there are still many hurdles to cross before we can feel like it was before and getting back to the new “normal.” But for a minute, could we start to look back and realize that in very short order, our industry pros became central in the planning and recovery of our local microcosm?

Look at some of the stories where parking directors have yielded, albeit temporarily, the demand for paid meters and citations, instead posting signage to help local business preserve parking near their doors to encourage shoppers to continue honoring local services. Think about the number of streets and parking spaces that have been cut off so restaurants could bring seating outside to the customer. Loading zones have been extended to improve delivery logistics. Many cities and universities enhanced parking rates or time restrictions to ensure customers were not dissuaded from engaging local businesses. Many of us modified citation collections schedules and fees to provide relief during this period, when so many workers lost jobs.

There are many stories that could be talked about for days, but can we now take a moment to bask in our collective efforts to help our communities? Our professional parking and mobility pros have worked as integral partners with city engineers, planners, police departments, universities, city managers, and business associations and districts, and continue to support local businesses.

I hope our mobility community is no longer considered a distraction or viewed as an opponent of the business community. The next time somebody tells us that paid parking programs scare their customers away, remind them how flexible our industry was during the pandemic and of the hours we’ve spent contemplating how to help our local businesses, as well as the concessions that were made to help keep dreams alive.

If what Albert Einstein said is true, then congratulations team! Not only are you very smart, but you’ve made us all look great in the process!

Mark Lyons, CAPP, is parking division manager with the City of Sarasota, Fla.

 

Planning in Unusual Times

urban planning COVID-19 blogBy L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

I recently read an article by Sam Lubell about COVID-19’s effects on cities, in the Los Angeles Times.

In his article, Lubell outlines how “although pandemics have long been a tragic scourge on our cities, they’ve also forced architecture and city planning to evolve. The Bubonic Plague, which wiped out at least a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century, helped to inspire the radical urban improvements of the Renaissance. Cities cleared squalid and cramped living quarters, expanded their borders, developed early quarantine facilities, opened larger and less cluttered public spaces and deployed professionals with specialized expertise, from surveyors to architects.”

“In the 20th century, tuberculosis, typhoid, polio and Spanish flu breakouts prompted urban planning, slum clearance, tenement reform, waste management and, on a larger level, Modernism itself, with its airy spaces, single-use zoning (separating residential and industrial areas, for instance), cleaner surfaces (think glass and steel) and emphasis on sterility.”

Lubell concludes that, “It’s clear that the coronavirus will have — and is already having— a similarly profound effect on today’s built world. It’s shaking loose notions of what is “normal” in a field still employing many of the same techniques it did a century ago. And it’s pushing forward promising but still emerging practices, from prefabrication to telecommuting.”

I encourage you to read Lubell’s article in which he examines six methodologies related urban design and the built environment that are playing a prominent role in the age of COVID-19:

  • Modular construction.
  • Adaptive reuse.
  • Lightweight architecture.
  • The healthy building.
  • Telecommuting and small city living.
  • The town square, reconsidered.
  • Building beyond COVID.

According to Lubell, if history is a guide, the rise of these temporary methodologies likely will become permanent, at least in some form.

 

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president and senior practice builder with Kimley-Horn.