Tag Archives: parking management

Member News: Penn Parking Develops More than 3,000 Face Shields for COVID-19 Healthcare Workers

Penn Parking logoMay 7, 2020- Penn Parking, a Maryland-based parking management company, recently wrapped up the Herculean effort of handcrafting 3,300 PPE face shields for healthcare workers throughout Maryland, Virginia and DC area. The shields are to assist in the fight against COVID-19. Penn Parking leadership, staff and friends worked together to create these vital personal protective equipment resources and donate them to those on the front lines.

Penn Parking delivered the shields to numerous area hospitals and nursing homes. This important project dramatically exceeded the initial goal of 1,000 shields.

Penn Parking CEO Lisa Renshaw stated, “We are on a mission to get our health care workers and first responders the vital equipment they need to keep them and the public safe. We all need to pull together in this crisis.” Lisa went on to challenge every business that is in the position to do so, to please find a way to help in the effort to “slow the spread”

About Penn Parking

Penn Parking is the Only women owned parking management company in US history. She started it by living in her first garage for 3 ½ years. Today Penn Parking manages over 50 facilities in the Maryland, Virginia and DC area. Penn Parking offers a wide range of parking management and consulting services and has provided tailored and budget-friendly parking solutions for over 35 years. For more, visit www.pennparking.com.


Lisa Renshaw
Penn Parking


Curbside Management in a Recurring Emergency Scenario: A Municipal Perspective

Closed roadway lanes for widened pedestrian way in Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.

By Benito O. Pérez, AICP CTP, CPM; and David Carson Lipscomb, MCP

This post is part of a special series on curb management and COVID-19. A joint effort of IPMI, Transportation for America, and ITE’s Complete Streets Council, this series strives to document the immediate curbside-related actions and responses to COVID-19, as well as create a knowledge base of strategies that communities can use to manage the curbside during future emergencies.

For all of us, 2020 will be the year the world changed. Seemingly overnight the hustle and bustle of life and commerce in our cities went nearly silent under government-mandated shelter-in-place orders aimed to stop the spread of COVID-19. Overwhelmed healthcare networks and essential businesses that help meet our most basic needs were thrown into crisis. This is a common reality after natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. However, unlike those events, this is simultaneously a prolonged and global experience.

Municipal governments are vital to protecting our communities, tasked with coordinating resources to address this public health emergency while maintaining order and normalcy for residents. Curbside and parking professionals across the country have supported their municipal responses by ensuring prioritized, optimal transportation network operations in innovative, rapid-response ways including the following.

  • Restaurant Pick-up Zones. With dine-in operations banned, restaurants shifted to takeout/delivery models resulting in congestion at the curb for customers and couriers. Originating in Seattle and propagating rapidly across the country, municipalities reprogrammed segments of their curbside with temporary signage coupled with information campaigns (like the District of Columbia map) showing curbs prioritized for pick-up activity. This ensured curb turnover while supporting local restaurants.
  • Relaxed Curbside Enforcement. Shelter-in-place orders led to more stationary vehicles, which put them in violation of policies encouraging turnover. Cities like Miami, Pittsburgh, and others relaxed parking enforcement to discourage unnecessary community movement.
  • Suspended Parking Space Payment. Some communities suspended parking payment, though they did not make that decision lightly. In many jurisdictions, parking revenue is the operational funding lifeblood of their organizations. For the District, it’s about 10 percent of its annual contribution to the regional transportation system. However, costs to maintain parking payment far outweighed anticipated revenue. Additionally, reducing potential sources of infection, i.e., parking payment kiosks, was also of concern for municipal operators.
  • Prioritized/Designated Essential Service Provider Parking. Hospitals have been the front lines of this pandemic, with many facilities converting off-street parking lots and garages to triage and community testing sites. With limited public transportation services and scarce access to for-hire vehicles as drivers limit their exposure, some healthcare providers are resorting to private vehicles. With on-site parking gone, municipalities have designated curbsides near medical facilities for healthcare facility employees. New York City has issued healthcare provider parking permits to allow them to park wherever is most convenient. This may become an extended concern for other essential service staff in dense, urban areas with limited transit.
  • Expanded Sidewalks. In urban areas in particular, sidewalks are constrained by historical rights of way. That means there may be sidewalks narrower than the minimum six feet recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “physical distancing” guidelines. Places like New York City have cleared the curb, if not the entire roadway, to facilitate unimpeded, “physically distant” pedestrian routes.

These are but a few strategies that are part of cohesive and holistic community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a good story, please share it with benito.perez@dc.gov.

Benito O. Pérez is the curbside management operations planning manager at the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

David C. Lipscomb is a curbside management planner at the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

Member News: ParkHub and HERE Technologies Team Up to Help Consumers Find Convenient Parking Spots and Create a Delightful Location-Enabled User Experience

Parkhub Logo

ParkHub and HERE to become strategic partners in North America; HERE plans to bolster its leading location-based services and indoor mapping solutions with ParkHub’s real-time parking inventory network.

DALLAS, February 20, 2020 – ParkHub, the leading B2B parking technology company, has partnered with HERE, a global location data and technology platform, to help consumers easily find and pay for parking spots. In North America, ParkHub and HERE are working on integrating to the HERE platform ParkHub’s growing reservoir of real-time parking inventory and data.

“By combining precision location data with advanced indoor parking and venue services, the HERE platform sits at the center of the digitalization of end-to-end journey planning and user experiences,” said Jørgen Behrens, Chief Product Officer at HERE Technologies. “We’re excited to bring together ParkHub’s real-time parking inventory and HERE Indoor & Parking solutions to bring intuitive and seamless navigation capabilities to drivers – from their home, to their vehicle, to their pre-booked parking spot and on to their final destination.”

Data and services from the HERE platform are utilized by businesses across industries and by public sector transportation agencies around the world to help reduce congestion and efficiently move people, goods, and services. During the past six years, the company has secured the top positions in Strategic Analytics’ Location Based Service (LBS) Benchmark report on platform completeness.

Recently, the company launched HERE Indoor & Parking, combining its Indoor and Parking assets into an end-to-end parking solution for parking operators and consumers.  In partnering with ParkHub, HERE will integrate ParkHub’s network of inventory into its platform to provide seamless navigation to parking spots. An initial pilot will focus on supporting Texas Rangers fans flocking to Arlington’s new Globe Life Field. HERE Indoor & Parking services optimize and enhance parking and indoor venue experience through multiple apps and channels, powered by HERE’s Mobile SDK and platform services.

“ParkHub has proven itself as an event-based parking management platform, and our technology performs wonderfully in that capacity,” said George Baker Sr., ParkHub founder and CEO. “However, the true crux of our offering is data. We are thrilled to work with HERE to maximize the wealth of data we hold and ultimately help consumers move efficiently and delight in their destinations.”

ParkHub serves professional sports teams, premier entertainment venues, universities, and state parks across the United States. The company’s integrated technology helps parking operators process multiple forms of payment, validate prepaid parking passes, and improve the parking experience for fans, donors, and guests. ParkHub’s actionable business intelligence system empowers users with real-time operational data and robust analytics. ParkHub manages over two million parking spots and has helped park over 32 million vehicles to date.

About HERE Technologies

HERE, a location data and technology platform, moves people, businesses and cities forward by harnessing the power of location. By leveraging our open platform, we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. To learn more about HERE, please visit www.here.com and http://360.here.com.

About ParkHub

ParkHub is a Dallas-based technology company that provides software and hardware services for the global parking industry. The company’s products provide multiple payment options, real-time reporting of parking revenue, support for dynamic pricing, and inventory availability and control. ParkHub technology integrates with numerous prepaid parking and ticketing providers. For more information, visit parkhub.com.

Thoughtful Management: A county’s division of parking management shines in the close-in suburbs of Washington, D.C.

By Sindhu Rao

IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD., the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Parking Management has served the parking lot districts (PLDs) of the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton for more than 60 years with thoughtful parking management techniques.

Charged with addressing on- and off-street parking needs while supporting economic and transportation-­related initiatives, the PLDs con­tinually implement new parking management and operations solutions to enhance the competitiveness of these traditional and urban environments. The PLDs receive no direct government subsidies and are responsible for generating sufficient revenue to cover capital, operational, and debt service costs. Additionally, a certain amount of PLD funds are transferred to the county for the promotion of tran­sit benefits, streetscape and lighting improvements, and other public amenities.

Organizational Structure

MCDOT’s Division of Parking Management is respon­sible for the administration of the county’s three PLDs. The division’s mission is to promote economic growth by offering sufficient parking, encouraging efficient transportation mode choice through a careful balance of parking rates and supply, and developing parking management strategies to maximize the usage of avail­able parking.

The PLDs are a single administrative entity, giving it full control over on- and off-street parking manage­ment, regulatory and compliance coordination, and customer service. As an enterprise fund, the PLDs must generate enough revenue on an ongoing basis to not only be self-sufficient, but also to transfer millions of dollars to transit funds, urban districts, and the county’s general reserve every year.

The division governance structure is organized into four sectional units: administrative management, financial management, engineering and capital project management, and parking operations. Their roles are divvied up in the following ways:

  • The administrative management section manages the planning, information technology, and customer and administration services staff to optimize organi­zational effectiveness. The section plans for the stra­tegic redevelopment of PLD real property. The plan­ning team leads the division’s innovation initiatives and plans for growth in the PLDs through short-term demand studies and long-term strategic plans.
  • The financial management section has overall responsibility for recording and reconciling all revenue, the management of the encumbrance and invoice payment process, the revenue bond debt, and budget. In 2018, the section was responsible for man­aging program-wide revenue of nearly $38 million.
  • The engineering and capital project management sec­tion provides engineering and project management for the design and construction of new parking facilities. The program ensures the preservation and structural integrity of existing parking facilities. It also provides services such as snow and ice removal; housekeeping services; equipment maintenance for elevators, elec­trical, and HVAC systems; and groundskeeping care.
  • The parking operations section is responsible for collecting and processing parking revenue from the many methods of payment offered by the division. It is also responsible for managing the parking citation database, providing onsite security, and overseeing the appeal process for parking tickets.

Biennial Customer Service Survey

As bounded by Montgomery County government bylaws, the Division of Parking Management is required to conduct a park­ing customer service survey every two years to gauge custom­ers’ perception of the public parking system’s performance. The division hires a consultant to administer the survey, ensuring it is completed in an independent manner. The survey targets two subgroups—permit holders and visitors—and offers those customers an opportunity to provide feedback on a wide range of parking issues. The survey results are used by MCDOT staff to measure the division’s performance. In the most recent sur­vey, visitors and permit holders gave their highest marks to the conditions of facilities, safety and security, and convenience to destination. Overall satisfaction with the PLD’s facilities was high, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Recent Accomplishments and Initiatives

The county recently became one of the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to partner with two mobile payment vendors. The two-vendor mobile payment system was phased in during six months and is now available at more than 10,000 meters throughout the county. By offering two choices, MCDOT is providing greater flexibility and convenience for parkers.

Another technology adopted by the division is a digital parking guidance system, which offers ­real-time message signs outside and inside garages to direct people to available parking. This information is published to websites and mobile applica­tions as well. The division’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastruc­ture overview plan addresses the need and pathway for install­ing electric-vehicle charging stations in PLD facilities. To date, 16 charging stations that can serve 32 vehicles system-wide are operational with plans to install additional stations.

Another positive change the division made in its parking operations is an upgraded lighting system in each of the di­vision’s 20 garages. The new high-output lamps are not only brighter but have saved the division around 20 percent in ­energy-related expenditures per facility.

Finally, with its partnership with Zipcar, the division has been a leader in promoting the usage of car-share. The division has more than 30 car-share spaces in a mixture of lots, garag­es, and on-street. To promote the visibility of car-share and encourage MCDOT’s alternative transportation objectives, the division has located the on-street car-share spaces near vibrant retail centers.

Additional initiatives implemented recently include a new residential permit program using mobile license plate rec­ognition (LPR) enforcement, modernization of four parking facilities from single-space parking meters to master meters, a variable parking policy program, a dynamic parking map embedded on the county’s website, the county’s first “cy­cle-track” bike lane, and revamping the Ad Valorem tax pro­gram that helps fund the PLDs.

To support the general tax base and improve pedestrian experience, the division has repositioned land by developing three surface lots into mixed-use centers. As part of a pub­lic-private partnership, the division transformed an existing 200-space parking lot in downtown Bethesda into a 950-space subterranean parking garage with first-floor retail and a multi-story residential building above. The publicly owned and operated garage was needed to release pressure off a nearby garage that frequently operated at capacity during peak hours. The project included wider sidewalk space, a pedestrian cut-through connection to an adjacent trail, a public plaza, restau­rants, and the addition of hundreds of residents within a short walk of a transit station.

Two other public-private partnerships are currently un­derway. In Wheaton, the division is redeveloping a 160-space parking lot; by 2020, it will have been converted into a 400-space underground garage with first floor retail, a town square, and a 310,000-square-foot office building above. And in Silver Spring, construction recently wrapped up on a 162-space underground public parking garage with a residential tower above and associated plaza on what was formerly the site of a county parking lot. Beyond these projects, the division is in var­ious planning stages for the future redevelopment of additional PLD lots and garages.

Dual Vendor Mobile Payment System

Mobile payment technology is a win-win. For customers, it is a convenient cashless solution. For parking management agencies, it requires little financial investment or continual operating costs. As the second largest jurisdiction in the Washington met­ropolitan area, Montgomery County has a significant demand for parking from employees, residents, and visitors in its urban areas. In 2010, the division introduced a mobile payment solution to its payment ecosystem. The division partnered with MobileNOW, and success followed immediately with high adoption rates. To­day, the program processes more than 150,000 parking sessions monthly and has generated over $30 million in revenue since its inception.

To build on this success, the county explored solutions to fur­ther increase mobile payment use for several reasons. First, mo­bile payment systems have minimal infrastructure requirements and limited ongoing operational costs and lack credit card pro­cessing fees. Benefits flow to customers too, including the ability to conveniently pay for parking, receive a text message when parking time is close to expiring, extend the parking session remotely, pay for only time parked, and track personal parking activity.

Second, the county serves a cross-jurisdictional consumer base. A substantial portion of MCDOT’s parking facility users come from outside the county. Consequently, these parkers are accustomed to using the mobile payment provider offered in their hometown, which may differ from Montgomery County’s. Wanting to avoid balancing multiple payment accounts, there’s a segment of the customer base that’s disinclined to register with the county’s vendor’s app. Therefore, to mitigate the downside of parkers eschewing mobile payment due to unfamiliarity with the county’s vendor, improving mobile payment access became a division priority.

Ultimately, the county decided to become one of the country’s first jurisdictions to provide customers with a choice of mobile payment vendors. The county wanted to capitalize on the op­portunity to nudge customers in the mobile payment direction. The county issued a request for proposals in early 2017, and following the bidding process partnered with its existing vendor, MobileNOW, and a new vendor with a well-estab­lished presence in the Washington, D.C.-area market, ParkMobile.

Prior to the rollout, a few issues needed resolution. For example, the county needed to get both vendors on board with a sign package. To keep sign clutter to a minimum, it was apparent that both vendors’ branding would have to be integrated into the same signs. The county spearheaded the design process, contracted with a local graphic designer, and developed instruc­tional signage to be installed in visibly prominent loca­tions within garages. Both vendors provided feedback during the design process and approved final drawings. The result was a cohesive sign package that reduced visual clutter in parking facilities.

Another issue impeding a smooth deployment was enforcement complications. The county was challenged with integrating both vendors’ parking en­forcement technology into a single software platform. MCDOT collaborated with the vendors’ IT teams for workable solutions, and the county’s enforcement of­ficers are now able to view transaction data from each vendor on their handheld devices in real time.

Decals on meters inform customers of the mobile payment option. However, relinquishing space on me­ter heads exclusively to vendor decals could have nega­tive future consequences if either vendor folded or did not meet contractual obligations. To work around this potential problem, the county configured a consistent meter layout with four distinct decals:

  • MobileNOW’s decal displaying a QR code and space number.
  • ParkMobile’s decal displaying a QR code and space number.
  • A Montgomery County decal displaying the space number.
  • A Montgomery County decal displaying a URL address directing patrons to the county’s website with mobile payment instructions.

This approach eases the transition if the partner­ship with one of the vendors were to end. That com­pany’s decal could be removed or replaced without disrupting the mobile payment program.

By late 2017, the county began an incremental launch. A phased approach was adopted as staff was tasked with installing the four decals on more than 10,000 meters throughout the PLDs. By mid-2018 the launch was complete with 10 garages, 20 lots, and more than 2,300 on-street meters in the PLDs outfitted with dual vendor mobile payment capability. The county plans to expand the program to additional facilities, including pay-by-space environments.

Program Outcomes

Due to the widespread diffusion of mobile technol­ogy, consumers have come to expect convenience in many aspects of their lives. While the county has modernized the payment systems in several facilities, budgetary realities have prevented the county from modernizing the entire parking system. This has given rise to frustrated customers. Paying for parking with coins is a common pain point. Indeed, the dual vendor mobile payment system has provided MCDOT and its customers with tangible benefits and improved expe­rience. For MCDOT, the system has proven powerful because it does not require new equipment or main­tenance costs. For customers, it has aligned with the convenience that technology has brought elsewhere in their lives.

The county has access to a comprehensive web-based collection of reports from both vendors, enabling analyses of mobile payment activities. To benchmark success of the program, the county tracked mobile pay­ment sessions and revenue per facility in the months leading up to the dual-vendor implementation and tracked sessions and revenue post-implementation. Since implementation of the dual vendor system, year-over-year total parking sessions increased over 20 per­cent and revenue by $1.3 million.

MCDOT plans to expand the dual vendor mobile payment system to additional parking facilities. The system is currently only available in facilities operated by single-space meters and pay-and-display environ­ments. The county anticipates rolling out the dual ven­dor system in its pay-by-space garages and lots soon. With this impending expansion, MCDOT will reap further benefits, and greater convenience will flow to additional county parkers.

Read the article here.

SINDHU RAO is IT specialist III in the Division of Parking Management of the Montgomery Department of Transportation. She can be reached at sindhu.rao@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Honoring an Urbanist

The work of Jane Jacobs and what it means to parking.

2018-12 Urbanist 1 2018-12 Urbanist 2

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

On a recent project trip to Boise, Idaho, I was invited to wait in the conference room of our client, the Capital City Develop­ment Corporation, or CCDC, until other meeting attendees arrived. I had been in this conference room in the past, but it was a little different this time.
The agency had renamed the conference room the Jane Jacobs Room to honor the noted urbanist and activist who offered a new vision for diverse and vibrant urban redevelopment that prioritized people over automobiles. A small card was on a table in the waiting room outside that listed 10 of Jacobs’ princi­ples the CCDC, Boise’s urban redevelopment agency, has embraced in its daily work:

1. Eyes on the street.
2. Social capital.
3. The generators of diversity.
4. Form still follows function.
5. Local economies.
6. Innovation.
7. Make many little plans.
8. Gradual money.
9. Cities as organized complexity.
10. Citizen science.

I have run across many urban planners during my career whose critical thinking, innovative ap­proaches, and practical applications changed the way I think about urban environments. This in­cludes such names as Jan Gehl (Life Between Build­ings), Daniel Hudson Burnham (Chicago architect and planner), Kevin Andrew Lynch (The Image of the City), and contemporary planners such as John Fregonese from Portland, Ore., with whom I had the pleasure of working on a project in Dallas, Texas.

A Little More About Jacobs
The card outside the conference room inspired me to learn more about Jane Jacobs. In her 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” she critiqued 1950s urban planning policies, which she believed were responsible for the decline of many city neighborhoods in the U.S. Going against the mod­ernist planning dogma of the era, Jacobs proposed a newfound appreciation for organic urban vibrancy in the United States.
Jacobs argued that modernist urban planning neg­atively affected cities because it rejected the value of human beings living in a community characterized by layered complexity and seeming chaos. The modernist planners preferred to use deductive reasoning to devel­op principles by which to plan cities. Among these poli­cies, she considered urban renewal the most dangerous and prevalent of the era. These policies, she claimed, destroy communities and innovative economies by creating isolated, unnatural, urban spaces.

In their place Jacobs advocated for what she called “four generators of diversity” that create effective eco­nomic pools of use and emphasized the importance of place. Her four generators of diversity were:

  • Mixed primary uses, activating streets at different times of the day.
  • Short blocks, allowing high pedestrian permeability.
  • Buildings of various ages and states of repair.
  • Density.

She sought to better understand and develop con­cepts for the role of cities in the economy. She felt the importance of a sense of place and multi-dimensional diversity in urban policy and design allows us to see the multiplicity of economies and working cultures, in which regional, national, and global economies are embedded.

Parking and Mobility
In reviewing the 10 urban planning principles noted above, I was struck by how closely they resembled many of the planning principles I have adopted from multiple sources over the years:

  • Eyes on the Street: Pedestrian traffic throughout the day, and the watchful eyes that come with it, en­hance the safety of city streets. In my work with the Interna­tional Downtown Association, I got to know and appreciate business improvement dis­tricts and downtown devel­opment authorities that run downtown clean-and-safe pro­grams as a primary strategy for urban area revitalization. The eyes-on-the-street principle has become well accepted and has, in fact, become a central tenet of the policies endorsed by the philosophy of crime pre­vention through environmen­tal design (CPTED).
  • Social Capital: The idea that every day activities and interactions that occur in an area create a net­work of relationships between neighbors and gener­ate social capital is central to Jacobs’ philosophy. As I have seen the parking profession grow and mature, I see parking professionals becoming more actively engaged in their communities and in the process of building foundations of mutual trust, shared efforts, and resilience in times of trouble. Examples include parking professionals who serve on multiple com­munity boards or other civic institutions and offer programs such as food for fines (pay parking fines with food donations), forget the fines (pay parking fines with homeless center donations), etc. I think Jacobs would have endorsed activities and pro­grams such as these.
  • The Generators of Diversity: Four factors in city planning and design help make the city diverse, safe, social, convenient, and economically vibrant. These are mixed uses, aged buildings, small blocks, and population density. Certainly, modern parking garage design has embraced mixed-use facilities and enhanced architecture, and there are sever­al that have embraced historic preservation by integrating old building facades into new garage designs. Emerging trends such as automated and adaptive reuse garages are useful concepts for sup­porting denser urban environments in the future.
  • Form Still Follows Function: Fashions and tech­nologies come and go, but what always remains relevant are the countless ways that people use the city, how the city works as a whole, and whether our urban design and planning reflect and serve those functions. Adapting to changing environments and technologies is at the heart of modern parking management. Adopting new curb-lane management strategies to support ride hailing and other shared mobility innovations is a good example.
  • Local Economies: Economic growth, whether local, national, or global, relies on the ability of urban economies to provide amply and diversely for themselves, rather than relying on imports. A key focus of my work the past decade has involved advancing the concept of parking as a tool for com­munity and economic development. One compo­nent of this is leveraging parking infrastructure de­velopment to achieve a variety of other community benefits, such as green roofs, public art, integrated residential development, street-level retail, and community gathering places. Customer-friendly parking management is essential to supporting a diverse set of business enterprises, especially in dense urban environments.
  • Innovation and Creativity: The greater the diver­sity of existing work in a local economy, the more opportunities to add new work and recombine old work in new ways. Parking structures can reflect community personality as well as cultural and social diversity. One of my favorite examples of this is the city of Eugene, Ore.’s, Step into Poetry program, along with its colorful garage murals, art-wrapped multi-space meters, and other public art projects.
  • Make Many Little Plans: The diversity of a good neighborhood can only be achieved when we allow many different people to pursue their own little plans, individually and collectively. My first reaction to this principle was to contrast it with Daniel Burn­ham’s famous quote: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably them­selves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” After I let this contrast marinate a little, I realized that while these two statements seem to be at odds with each other, they are actually quite complementary. Both are needed to advance and sustain urban environments and their essential vitality and functionality.
  • Gradual Money: Both diverse little plans and new kinds of work require diverse little sources of mon­ey available on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, both public and private sources often only provide money floods and money droughts instead. I have been impressed in recent years to see local park­ing programs stepping up to be funding sources or partners to support projects that benefit their communities’ larger strategic goals. Examples in­clude parking programs being financial supporters of downtown master plan projects or community bike-share programs.
  • Cities as Organized Complexity: Cities function like ecosystems. Everything is connected to every­thing else in intricate, particular ways that cannot be captured well by statistics or formulas. Only close observation and reasoning from the bottom up will do. My work in cities has always held a fascination with the marvelous and often unexpected ways that dense, multicultural environments express themselves in urban settings. The rich and creative cultural stew created by so many diverse groups and activities can truly be magical (and even a little grit­ty at times). This authenticity is powerful and pal­pable, especially when contrasted to newer lifestyle centers that try to emulate urban cities but often come off feeling staged or contrived.
  • Citizen Science: The people best equipped to un­derstand urban complexity are ordinary interested citizens. Without the assumptions that often come with professional training, everyday users of the city can learn more freely from what they see and experience firsthand. I have spent my fair share of time attending or presenting to city council meet­ings and other community forums. Reinforcing this principle, I have often been impressed with the insights brought by the engaged citizens who attend these meetings. Their insights are grounded in their firsthand knowledge and experience of their com­munities. Merging these local insights into larger planning concepts through engaged community outreach always improves community planning in my opinion.

In Summary
While many of these concepts have become bedrock planning principles, it is often the simplest ideas that have the biggest effects. I am happy that many, if not all, of these principles are being integrated in day-to-day parking management programs across the country!

Read the article here.

L. DENNIS BURNS, CAPP, is regional vice president and senior practice builder with Kimley-Horn. He can be reached at dennis.burns@kimley-horn.com.