Tag Archives: pandemic

Pittsburgh Welcomes Spring with a Flea Market in a Parking Garage

Man in mask and rubber gloves putting products in car after shoppingThere’s a special kind of demand for outdoor activities and a feeling of normal this spring, including the return of flea markets. But when dicey weather, a need for social distancing, and a desire to include those who both drive and walk all come into play, what’s a city to do? In Pittsburgh, it’s all coming together to give new meaning to the phrase “garage sale,” offering a great new example of how parking organizations have flexed to help their communities in unprecedented situations.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will host a 75-vendor “Car Bazaar” flea market inside a downtown parking garage on Saturdays this spring, checking all the boxes: plenty of room, inclusive of all, lots of fresh air, and protection from possible spring showers. So far, the community is more than receptive–the first Saturday’s event already has a wait list of 50+ hopeful vendors, many of whom say they’ve been unable to participate in markets since the pandemic’s arrival a year ago.

Vendor spaces sell for $15 and are reserved in advance, and the garage’s downtown location offers plenty of room for those who drive to the event and easy access for those who walk. Live music, food vendors, great diversity in vendors and merchandise, and what organizers hope will be a light, festive atmosphere will give a great vibe to the garage all spring. Read all about it here.

Wired: Pandemic Prompts Cities to Rethink the Parking Spot

Yellow sign on curb reading Curbside Service Pick Up HereIt’s no news to industry members that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a change of thinking around parking–after all, parking and mobility professionals are the ones who largely thought through and enacted curb management strategies to help businesses and communities. But as the larger world takes notice, the mainstream media is asking: What does this mean for the future?

Wired takes a look at how fewer cars and alternate uses for spaces traditionally used for parking have caused people outside the industry to wonder if things could be different going forward. “In many cities, business proprietors have pushed back against parking changes, afraid that potential customers won’t stop to shop if they can’t park. But the pandemic has changed the way many make money—and shifted their opinions on how the curb is used,” it says. It goes on to look at how things shifted in several cities when pandemic lockdowns began, and how parking and curb management might change permanently as a result.

Read it here and let us know in the comments: What do you think?

A Phased Re-entry

man in suit wearing medical mask, looking out office windowBy Robert Ferrin

Believe it or not, we are coming up on one year since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This year has presented numerous challenges and opportunities in our professional and personal lives. We’ve had to constantly pivot to new realities and environmental factors. Through it all, we’ve created new habits to survive and thrive in our “new normal.” Like all things, once you start new habits, they become more comfortable and little by little, things become normal.

Up until a few weeks ago, I may have seen my office a half-dozen times during the past year. I settled into a new schedule and new expectations for meetings, work time, and employee coordination. In summary, I’ve gotten used to this new normal and found ways to see the positive aspects of a work-from-home structure.

Fast forward to the last few weeks. I’ve slowly started to pick one day a week to get back in the office and remind myself how things used to be. I’ve quickly realized habits are tough to break–I’ve been late for meetings, forgot to factor in travel time, and emotionally struggled with dipping my toe in the pre-pandemic world while we are very much still living with COVID and its related health issues. I’ve had to remind myself I deserve some grace, just like everyone else, and preach patience as we think about a post-pandemic world.

The world won’t change in an instant on the back end of the pandemic as it did on the front end. In a lot of ways, re-entry will be much more difficult and friction points will occur as we come out of this unprecedented time together. As we each start to figure out what our post-pandemic work cadence looks like, I’d encourage you to keep an open mind and give yourself some grace. We each have the potential to create a new model for work in a post-COVID world and blend the positive aspects of work-from-home and work-from-office. Let’s keep sharing ideas and thoughts to make our re-entry a success!

Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services at the City of Columbus, Ohio, and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors.

Dude, Where’s My Wallet?

By Chris Elliston

The events industry has begun to crawl back to life and venues are reopening their doors to the public. Sports teams, entertainment and recreation sites, and universities have been busy pivoting processes to offer a safe return. As fans and guests start to revisit these familiar grounds, one personal item will likely be less prevalent: a traditional wallet.

Prior to COVID-19, consumers and businesses had a good grasp of the available technology even if they didn’t incorporate it into their own processes. The pandemic ushered in a newfound urgency to adopt contactless payment to safeguard the our and others’ well-being and sustain our businesses.

According to a recent PYMNTS and PayPal survey, six in 10 consumers say merchants that do not offer digital payment options in stores will not get their business. A Mastercard study reported that 79 percent of consumers worldwide are using some form of contactless payment in light of the pandemic, and contactless transactions around the globe rose 40 percent in the first quarter.

Savvy professionals are eager to support contactless transactions at all stages of the customer journey. Through technology, they will not only provide more sanitary processes but also create more efficient ones. In the background, technology companies are collaborating to deliver a more seamless, integrated experience.

Parking is often the first experience a customer has at a destination, so it’s critical that the parking industry works together to create a safe and satisfactory impression. At venues across the U.S., fans and guests can make purchases using a mobile wallet hosted on a team or venue app. In one place, they can secure a ticket and a parking pass, order concessions, and stock up on merchandise before or during an event. No paper to handle. No cash required. No line. On the operations side, it makes sense, too. No cash to manage. Safer, slicker processes, and ultimately happier customers.

This is just the beginning. The pandemic has proved consumers of all ages are willing to try something new. In this case, a trial by fire led to a universal convenience. When technology’s end goal is to serve the consumer better (perhaps even better than they can even imagine) adoption is really quite simple. Moreover, it is a timely opportunity for us as an industry to future-proof operations, understand parking customers, and cater to their growing needs with actionable data.  It’s about transforming to fast, reliable, easy-to-use technology. And your guests are ready for it.

The knee-jerk reaction of “Where’s my wallet?” will pass. We’ll forget the leather accessory that once seemed to make all things possible. If new tools serve us better, we will adapt. And it looks like we’re well on our way.

Chris Elliston is SVP enterprise with ParkHub Inc.

Acting with Purpose and Kindness

By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP

In a normal year, it takes discipline to set goals and stay focused on the steps you need to take to achieve them. This year has thrown us all for one heck of a curve. It’s easy to mindlessly scroll through 2020 memes (and there really are some great ones, so I recommend checking out a few).

Disruption caused by the pandemic has forced every parking, transportation, and mobility organization to revisit their entire operation. Our organization is no different. The level of disruption we have all experienced is challenging and painful. Yet, it can spur and advance innovation and positive change.

We decided as a team to respond to the ongoing crisis with intention, clarity, and kindness.

The intention behind our stay connected effort is to provide numerous resources, including Parking & Mobility magazine, frontline trainings through December, industry Shoptalks, and on-demand courses and webinars to train industry professionals.  Every one of these resources is available to IPMI members for free. 

Our Roadmap to Recovery initiative exemplifies our approach to clarity. We had to get crystal clear on what our members and the industry need, right now. We asked and you answered. We’ve heard from every segment of the industry on how they have had to adapt and stretch their organization to meet new demands.  Our newest edition of the special publication Roadmap to Recovery is available now–download it today and dive into survey results and articles by industry experts.

Kindness comes easy to our community (or at least it appears to!). Your willingness to share your experience and insight with your colleagues and lend a hand is absolutely extraordinary.  It’s apparent in our volunteers every single day. It’s evident from the generosity of our Frontline Training instructors, who freely give of their time to keep your team members up to date on essential skills.  It’s every one of our speakers showing up at the Leadership Summit  this week to offer their perspectives.  I could go on, but this would become a full feature article in the magazine.  For your kindness, thank you.  We are all that much better for it.

If you have ever had an inclination to volunteer, write, or get involved–this is your year.  Get off the sidelines and give of your gifts to our community.  Reach out to me and we will find you the right opportunity to do so.

Here’s a five-minute ask: We still need to hear from you, it’s critical to our success as a community. Here’s how you can do that:

We look forward to hearing from you–stay well and stay connected.

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD&C, WELL AP, is IPMI’s vice president of program development.

As RV Popularity Surges, More Walmarts Ban Overnight Parking

RVs parked in a Walmart parking lotIt was a not-very-well kept secret among RV owners for a very long time: If they couldn’t find or couldn’t afford a campground while visiting a city, they could almost always camp in a Walmart parking lot overnight. But a lot of Walmarts are banning overnight RV parking–sometimes because of city ordinances–even as RVs skyrocket in popularity.

CNN Business reports that only 58 percent of Walmarts allow overnight RV parking now, down from 78 percent 10 years ago. That’s for a number of reasons, including municipal ordinances that ban camping in commercial parking lots, campers abusing Walmart’s traditional 24-hour rule and staying for long periods of time, an uptick in homeless people living in campers, and campers who don’t dispose of trash or grey water properly.

Users say parking at a Walmart overnight used to be a treat, both because they could easily stock up on necessities and because the experience was quieter than a lot of campgrounds. They expect an uptick in campers using casino lots, which are increasingly opening up to overnight RV stays, and private driveways, which are being rented out to RVers online.

Read the whole story here.

 

IPMI News: Industry Effort Requests $30B in Additional Municipal Stimulus Funding

The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), with a coalition of municipalities requests additional stimulus funds of $30B to support cities providing essential services in response to COVID-19.

Read the Open Letter to Congress below. 

Share your support. Municipality representatives, click the link to sign the letter.


July 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IPMI News: Industry Effort to Support $30B in Additional Municipal Funding during Pandemic. Sign the Open Letter before Wednesday, July 22.

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

Read the Open Letter to Congress below. 

IPMI is asking for your support before Wednesday, July 22, 2020.  Municipality representatives, click the link to support the effort and sign the letter.


July 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

 

 

When Will I See You Again?

remote work isolation human interaction blogBy Roamy Valera, CAPP

Saying goodbye to someone after a visit or meeting was clearly underrated prior to the pandemic. We had become accustomed to moving freely and willingly to visit family, friends, and colleagues. In my case, getting on a plane once a week and traveling for meetings and events was as common as my wife driving to her office.

For some of us, affection when meeting and/or greeting someone is part of who we are. The new normal makes it difficult for that firm handshake or warm hug. Instead, we are faced with a virtual reality, where our camera and microphone must carry and communicate our feelings. At times we find ourselves around a virtual table, feeling invisible.

I am reminded daily of how important being in the moment is for our family, friends, and colleagues. And how critical human interaction is for our well-being. According to novelist Terry McMillan, “Every human being I know craves love and affection.” This seems to ring true in today’s environment, where distance from our daily routines has affected us and our ability to show our love and affection has taken a different form.

I hope and trust we find the right vehicle to continue to express our love and affection to those we care about and come in contact with during our new normal. In the end, your legacy and mine will be made more meaningful by the impact we have on the lives we touched.

When will I see you again? I hope soon and I hope I have the ability to give you a firm handshake and a warm hug. Stay safe!

Roamy Valera, CAPP, is CEO, North America with PaybyPhone.