Tag Archives: planning

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.

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:


  • 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.


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!).

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Wednesday April 29, 2020- 2:00 PM EST

Free Online Shoptalk: Planning for Future Municipal On-Street Operations

Access Recording 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.

This online Shoptalk will address the critical questions on how we begin to plan for re-opening our cities and parking and mobility operations, with a focus first on on-street operations, staff and patron safety, and planning ahead ready for staggered and phased operations that incorporate both innovations and best practices.   Bring your questions or share them in advance with us.

We understand this is an extremely busy time and will record the online shoptalk and distribute to all members and colleagues.  If you have a question or would like to share something that has worked for your organization in advance, please email Fernandez@parking-mobility.org.

Free to all Industry Professionals



Scott Petri headshotScott Petri, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, is devoted to public service and committed to providing strong leadership and direction to the PPA. In 2018, he guided the authority through accreditation, resulting in the PPA being Accredited with Distinction by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI), the highest rating available by this trade association.

An accomplished and talented leader with years of experience in fast-paced legal and legislative environments, he has been a practicing attorney for more than 30 years, and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he represented the 178th Legislative District from 2003 through 2017.

Scott has worked to reform the legislature by instituting new rules to make government more transparent and open. He helped re-write Pennsylvania’s House Rules incorporating new standards of conduct for members, as well as laws to protect children from abuse. The National Federation of Independent Business awarded him its Guardian of Small Business award in 2014; and in 2012 and 2016 he was named State Public Official of the Year by Pennsylvania Bio, the statewide trade association representing the life science industry, and Legislator of the Year by BIO, a national association

A Seat at the Table During COVID-19

A group of people planning at a meeting.By Marlene Cramer, CAPP

For years, parking and mobility professionals have advocated for a seat at the table. As director of transportation and parking at a university campus, one of my collateral roles is as planning sections chief in our campus Emergency Operation Center (EOC). During the past four months, COVID-19 planning has been complex, ongoing, and evolving. The planning section analyzes and collects data and information so the whole EOC team has up-to-date situational awareness. We rely on regional, state, and worldwide data and circumstances so the collective EOC team can make operational recommendations and decisions for the months and years ahead. There is constant orchestration of information with local public health agencies and a myriad of campus departments and community entities. Not an easy task! The demands of the pandemic and the dismal budget realities for most make our planning efforts even more complex and essential.

In my role as planning section chief, I get the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of professionals I never would have worked with in my parking role before COVID-19. As I see the groups and task forces work together and develop plans and objectives, I have a better and deeper understanding and appreciation of the complexity of campus operations.

I’ve always said that parking professionals manage emergencies every day. It’s pretty much in our nature no matter what role we have, and we are used to planning in a quickly changing, fluid environment. There is so much variability between all our agencies, but we do have one thing in common: We are all working to get through this historic time, hopefully with courage and a growth mindset. A seat at the table gives me a bird’s eye perspective of plans for the university to repopulate and move ahead to our new normal. This is a critical and insightful view to help ensure that the future of transportation and parking complements the future operations of the university. I am very grateful to have a seat at the planning table and look forward to the future, minus COVID-19. Take care and stay healthy.

Marlene Cramer, CAPP, is director, transportation and parking services at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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.


The Parking & Mobility Industry Comes Together in a Time of Need

parking COVID-19 community collaborationBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

This blog is part of a special series on curb management and COVID-19. A joint effort of IPMI, Transportation for America, and ITE, 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.

There is an enduring human spirit that persists in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has put that spirit to the test, forging stronger bonds within and between our communities, our industries, our nation, and our humanity. Lately, I have been struck by how closely connected we all are.

I don’t need to tell you how strange, trying, and scary these weeks have been. But what you might not know is while everyone was figuring out how to work from home, keep their business afloat, or protect their loved ones, professionals across the parking and mobility industry were hard at work trying to support those activities.

Our communities are normally test beds for ongoing transportation innovation, but this pandemic has accelerated the need for creative use of our resources and emphasizes the importance of collaboration between colleagues. Although every community has unique features, hopefully practices that work well in one community rapidly multiply across the country. The past few weeks have seen that concept accelerate to hyper speed.

As communities enacted new policies to protect citizens by minimizing the spread of the coronavirus, their parking and mobility programs adapted curb management and parking policies to address emerging priorities. Rapid installation of temporary loading zones for restaurant curbside pickup and paid parking and enforcement policy changes to help homebound residents were needed to support business and residential communities. Supportive parking policies for healthcare and other essential workers were critical to ensuring safe, efficient, and quick access to parking as hospitals expanded triage areas into their parking lots.

Behind these changes was an amazing network of professionals connecting in rapid fashion to share ideas, discuss challenges, and offer support. A few resources that truly helped to connect folks included:

  • City groups functioning through International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and Transportation for America’s 2020 Smart Cities Collaborative came together in a grassroots fashion to help discuss, test, implement, monitor, and triage curbside changes. Through a variety of channels – emails, Slack, and good old phone calls – policies implemented on one side of the country quickly made to the other side.
  • The IPMI Forum, an online IPMI member resource, provided a place for professionals to ask questions, compare ideas, and discuss how to adapt policy. As bigger cities created their policies, they trickled down through this network.
  • Transportation for America’s Smart Cities Collaborative Slack channel provided a simple, effective forum for member cities to discuss and share responses and solutions to COVID-19.
    • Smart Cities Collaborative member Chris Iverson from the City of Bellevue, Wash., shared that, “Once restaurants were mandated to shift to delivery and pick-up operations only, we reached out to the Collaborative to see what curbside best practices other cities were implementing. It helped immensely that everyone in the Slack channel was already focused on curbside management practices, and the transition to crisis mode was made easier with the help of the Collaborative.”
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) launched a Transportation Resource Center public tool for cities to share information and develop effective responses to this evolving global crisis. It provides actionable examples of how cities around the world are addressing critical tasks, such as:
    • Helping healthcare and other essential workers get safely where they’re needed while protecting transit operators and frontline staff.
    • Creating pick-up/delivery zones to ensure that residents can access food and essential goods.
    • Managing public space to encourage physical distancing.
    • Deploying effective public communications and signage.
  • The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is collecting a variety of transportation data to assist in understanding recent changes to travel of people and goods in response to COVID-19

Collectively, this network helped keep businesses running, supported stay-at-home orders, and facilitated the needs of healthcare systems. In a joint effort, IPMI, Transportation for America, ITE, and other partner organizations are documenting these actions and their impacts. They plan to provide summary blogs, articles, and peer reviewed white papers to help communities understand, plan, mitigate, and forge ahead through future emergencies.

If you have a good story, please share it with brett@woodsolutionsgroup.com.

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

Future of Proofing Parking Buildings

By Fernando Sanchez

IN THE UNITED STATES, the entrenched relationship that vehicles have with everyday life P3 Proofinghas affected the development of cities—most notably parking buildings and other single-purpose forms of mobility structures. Imagining a world without extensive miles of packed highways, parking searches, and construction of single-purpose storage monoliths implies that a series of other changes has taken place, many of which have already started to affect new and near-future projects. Responses to prepare for that eventuality, and the impact it will have on the future of parking buildings and spaces, are currently being planned. Now, owners must sift through added layers of complexity.

The paths available to future-proof a parking building involve choosing how and when to incorporate various responses to a development. As adherence to newly en­acted codes and regulations, global and regional climate change goals, and construction practices continue to emerge, the supply of parking for projects becomes a complicated decision that affects overall cost and design.

Making sense of what solutions should be included in a development remains a multi-faceted discussion as cost, timeframes, and available design choices all weigh on a project. Guides and certification programs exist to determine prescribed levels of green and sus­tainable features, amenities, and conditions. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program and, specifi­cally for parking facilities, Parksmart, are some of the most widely known guides and references used in the U.S. However, without clear means to evaluate features and concepts described in these guides, a myriad of project priorities, goals, and opportunities can be over­looked or not explored at all.

Target Value Delivery

Every worthy parking designer and/or builder will have a repertoire of explored, studied, and constructed solu­tions that can be implemented. Options range from eas­ily implemented program requirements to wholesale plans that convert from parking to other non-storage use. But solutions are not one-size-fits-all, and what is appropriate for a hospital campus may not make sense for a high-density mixed-used development.
Equally differentiating are cost implications. Some responses can easily be incorporated with minimal cost, but there are those that can increase project costs many-fold—sometimes beyond 50 percent of typical expenses for self-parking projects. More appropriate to cost evaluations are the non-design components, such as financing, ownership portfolios, and other similar issues.

A system that aids in response selection and pro­vides cost and schedule certainty helps organize a proj­ect to appropriately evaluate future-proofing options. The target value delivery method implements a series of tools and approaches to define the owner’s program requirements (OPR), which then is extrapolated to define the conditions of satisfaction (CoS) that guide a basis of design (BOD) document for the project. This system sets the framework for owners to achieve suc­cess with their projects.

Depending on the delivery method selected by the owner—traditional design-bid-build, design-build, or any of a series on the spectrum—the output helps guide owners to make appropriate selections for their project. Whether created with a designer or by a design-build team, the OPR establishes the initial over­arching direction and goals the project needs to achieve. Is it desired to reach LEED platinum levels, or will Parksmart certification be required? What is the desired interaction between the street and the build­ing? Does the project need to respond to future chang­es in five, 10, or 15 years? Whichever direction chosen, an owner’s first step is to define desired aspirations and goals specific to desired outcomes, not “what it looks like,” but rather “what it should accomplish.”

Now, with an understanding of how to evaluate available alternatives,
consider the following list and categorization of possible alternatives on a parking development:

Alternatives to define at the OPR stage:

1. Transportation-oriented Development.

• Connectivity to mass transit hubs.
• Last-mile traveled support systems.

2.Street/curb management.

3.Changes in use; parking is vehicle-oriented.

•Change to human-oriented uses.
•Change to other non-human–oriented use.

4.Sustainability goals.

5.Reduction of energy use.

6.Energy generation/storage onsite.

7.Improved mobility responses.

Definition of alternatives at the COS stage:


•Degree to build connectivity to the street.

2.Street management.

•Self-driving vehicles.
•Improvement of use of curb.

3.Change in use.

•Battery farms.
•Network nodes.
•Autonomous vehicle infrastructure.
•Automatic vehicle storage and retrieval systems.

4.Sustainability goals.

•Materials used in construction.
•Quantity of electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations.

5.Reduce energy use.

•Lighting systems.
•Construction methods and embodied energy.

6.Generate energy onsite.

•Photovoltaic arrays.

7.Mobility improvements.


Application of alternatives at the BOD stage:

1.Transportation—parking and EV station locations—participation in mapping apps.

2.Type of connectivity.

•Bus stop proximity.
•Dedicated lanes for various transportation modes.
•Allocation of space at development.
•Management programs for transportation—incentives, discount programs, emergency transportation.

3.Implications of feature to add in converting use.

•Higher ceilings.
•Sloped floors.
•Egress requirements.
•Fire life safety requirements.
•Mechanical lifts—user operated.
•Semi-automatic—puzzle systems that are user operated with some logic board.
•Full-automatic—full computer operated at input bays; City of West Hollywood, Calif., for example.

4.Materials used in construction.

•Carbon curing—capturing CO2 from industrial emitters into concrete mix—converts to CaCO3 (calcium carbonate—capturing CO2).
•Type of charging stations, such as ChargePoint vs. Tesla chargers.
•Code minimums (8 percent EV spaces in California) or higher voluntary tiers.

5.Reduction of energy use.

•Light fixture performance.
•Lighting strategies—daylight harvesting.

6.Power generation onsite.

•Extent of power generation—in kWH or surface area available.

7.Mobility improvements.

•Service requirements—areas to host shared-ride services.

Further into the project’s development, the owner’s next step is to define the CoS—a detailed description of how a design response will be measured to achieve the OPR. Perfect examples are the LEED and Parksmart point system certification levels. The CoS should tailor the point categories of each rating system and describe a means to determine any priorities in design respons­es. The categories created in the Parksmart guide serve well in evaluating a parking projects attainment of the OPR by categorizing the myriad design responses to future proofing: management, programs, technology and structure design, and innovation. Similarly, the CoS could indicate the expected LEED level to be achieved—silver, gold, platinum. For projects in California, de­scribing which higher voluntary tier requirements list­ed in CalGreen are important to satisfying the OPR.

The third and final step in determining how to future­proof a parking development is diving into the myriad responses with the design team and, whenever possible, the construction team, to develop the project’s BOD. The inclusion of the construction team is to analyze constructability and schedule effects. Typically, this evaluation takes place during early design phases. The BOD should identify the specific nature of each response or component and how it will achieve the levels set in the CoS. A properly developed BOD should align with the development of the project’s performance specifications. Specific considerations to include are the components and modifications important to each system in case replacements are required in the future. A naturally ventilated parking building will not include a mechanical ventilation system, but if the project is determined to need exhaust and supply fans in the future, the size and volume consideration should be clearly identified.

Choosing by Advantages
The crux in creating a BOD lies with determining which systems to include and to what degree they need to be defined to meet the CoS. It is quite easy to say that cost exceeds all other considerations, but in trans­forming into a more sustainable world, opportunity costs can be offset by other features that achieve OPR. With that in mind, the LEAN Institute and others have written extensively on ways that Choosing by Advan­tages (CBA)—a decision-making method to determine best decisions by weighting advantages of particular options for consideration and selection—can be imple­mented and the steps involved to achieve selection.

Applied to future-proofing a parking development (or any development for that matter), CBA provides a system to study various options based on valuing the importance of advantages between a particular set of options described in the CoS and determine the best choice. Familiar to many in the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) world is the use of the Tabular Method to record this evaluation, and many great summary explanations have been published de­tailing the step-by-step procedures.

Criteria to be evaluated will be particular to each system. For example, if the program requirements iden­tify future conversion for revenue gain, the CoS could identify a future conversion from a self-park system to a mechanical parking system. To determine which mechanical parking system to define in the BOD, CBA could compare the self-parking design to a parking-lift system, puzzle-lift system, and a full-automatic system. Factors to evaluate would identify the extent of changes required for conversion, structural system initial re­quirements, fire life safety system initial requirements, fire life safety future requirements, revenue potential, aesthetics, serviceability, and area-per-parking space, among other things. The attributes of each alternative would then be summarized, and the advantage of each would be determined from the least preferred attribute of each factor and ultimately charting the advantages of each alternative against the cost of each system to de­termine the best solution to incorporate. The last step uses cost to determine a comparison chart for selection.

CBA allows for a transparent and open evalua­tion of various systems to consider when deciding to ­future-proof a parking building.

To borrow from Nils Bohr, Nobel laureate, “Predic­tion is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” It may be a daunting task to future-proof a develop­ment based on the many alternatives and systems currently or possibly available in the offing. However, using the described system to evaluate, compare, and select from the various alternatives will help a project team select the most appropriate alternatives for a giv­en parking building project.

Read the article here.

FERNANDO J. SANCHEZ is an integrated design director with McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. He can be reached at fsanchez@mccarthy.com.


No More Procrastination

TPP-2016-01-No More ProcrastinationBy Mark A. Vergenes

Human beings are natural procrastinators. Most people struggle with the temptation to put things off until that last minute—particularly those tasks we don’t enjoy. How many times have you claimed to “work better under pressure” or promised yourself to finish a task when you had more time to focus?

While it may be possible to crunch out a report at the last minute or even throw together a major family get-together in a few days, saving and financial planning is one of those things that is a process. You need to work on it steadily over the course of years. Every month you put off developing and contributing to your own financial plan, your chances of success get smaller and smaller.

The truth is if you’re relatively young and you’ve already developed a financial plan to get you through to retirement, you’re the exception. But if don’t have a solid financial plan in place, now is the time to start.

Why Plan?
You need to make accommodations for several significant life events. During the course of your life, you’ll probably experience a series of major expenses that can’t be covered without a thoughtful savings and investment plan. These may include homes, cars, college, medical expenses, retirement, and the death of one of your family’s breadwinners.

Most people understand how to budget for expenses such as homes and cars. When planning, people decide how much to spend and then decide how to pay for these expenses with cash, credit, or a combination of both. These expenses are budgeted into a monthly income and are protected with adequate savings.

However, when it comes to life’s other major expenses—college, medical expenses, retirement, or the death of a family breadwinner—many people procrastinate and are less prepared.

While it may seem hard to get started, many parking professionals already have access to many easy-to-­implement savings, investment, and insurance options.

Automated Retirement Plans
Whether it’s an individual retirement account (IRA), a 401(k), a pension, or another type of plan, ­company-sponsored retirement savings plans offer a couple of important benefits. One of their most important features is that they are deducted from your paycheck, automatically funding your plan. Many benefits that are deducted from your paycheck are pre-tax, which means the amount you contribute is more than the reduced amount you would otherwise keep in your take-home pay. However, all plans have a capped amount. If your capped amount is less than your actual savings needs, you should discuss additional investment and savings options with a qualified financial adviser.

Matched Contributions
Some employers will match the contributions you make dollar-for-dollar up to a certain percentage of your pay. Others may match a portion or percentage of each dollar you contribute. Regardless, it’s free money. Having your employer contribute right along with you makes your retirement account grow faster than if you were the only one putting money in. And most of these matches are made pre-tax, which significantly reduces the effect on your take-home pay.

Vesting is a way for employers to encourage you to stay with them. Basically, it means that while you have full ownership of your own contributions, you’ll only gain access to your employer’s contributions after a designated period of time. Vesting can happen two ways: A graduated vesting schedule gives you increased ownership of the employer funds over time until you’re fully vested and own 100 percent of the money. A cliff-vesting schedule withholds ownership until you’ve completed a certain number of years of service, at which point you become 100 percent vested. Once your employer’s contributions are fully vested, they’re yours and you can take them with you if you leave.


Insurance benefits vary widely from employer to employer. Evaluate each benefit to make sure it makes sense for you and your financial plans. Be sure to investigate if your employer offers short- or long-term disability, dental benefits, vision benefits, and corporate life-insurance plans. Be sure to find out out what happens to your benefits if you become ill, are hurt on the job, or are hurt when you’re not working.

It’s critical to understand if employer options are enough. Do you know how you are you going to handle life’s other major expenses—retirement, college, medical expenses, and the death of a spouse or breadwinner?

While we all fantasize that our talented children will get a full scholarship, it’s not a reliable savings plan. But don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by big numbers and pricey educations. Even modest savings can pack a punch if you give them enough time to grow.

Investing just $25 a week for 18 years will yield $48,000, assuming an 8 percent average annual return (and assuming no taxes). Investing your savings wisely may allow you to maximize your savings. If you didn’t start saving the week your child was born, don’t give up hope. Even a little savings helps. Talk to your financial adviser and you’ll be able to develop a plan that will help your child cover at least some of his or her college costs, even if college is just around the corner.

You should also explore financing options that include federal, state, and private grants and loans. And finally, make sure you are not planning to use retirement savings to finance college expenses. Your children will have a lifetime to pay off college, but you won’t be able to easily rebuild retirement savings.

Medical Expenses

While recent changes in health care have made some people more confident about their ability to handle major medical expenses, medical expenses are still one of the most common reasons for bankruptcy. It’s critical to ensure your insurance will continue even after you begin disability, and it’s wise to check out disability insurance to help your family get through extended illnesses or rehabilitation periods. Financial planners can help you determine your needs, your ability to pay, and refer you to reputable health insurance representatives.

Death of a Breadwinner
Whether your home is a one-, two-, or even three-income family, it’s important to think through what will happen if one or more income sources pass on or are unable to work. What happens to your mortgage? Car payments? Who takes care of your children? Is an elderly relative relying on your income? Developing a will and ensuring your life insurance is enough to get your family through the death of a loved one is critical to your family’s financial well-being.

It’s easy to procrastinate on life insurance if you’re part of a young, healthy family. According to a July 2014, article in U.S. News and World Report, three in 10 households in the U.S. have absolutely no life insurance whatsoever. And many people with life insurance don’t have enough coverage. According to a 2014 survey by New York Life Insurance, people surveyed said they needed an average of $540,000 worth of insurance but were insured for only $220,000.

You shouldn’t rely on guesswork when making decisions that affect you and your family. Get help to work through these financial hurdles and develop a plan that addresses a wide variety of changes.

While you may already be contributing to a ­company-sponsored retirement plan, you should still map out exactly what your retirement looks like, what your income may be, and what kind of savings you need to finance your lifestyle.
People are living longer than ever before, and if you retire at 65, you may be looking at 30 years of retired living. If you’re one of the many people who underestimate how long you’ll live in retirement, you may find yourself running out of money.

For some people, expenses decrease in retirement. Maybe their house is paid off and children are on their own. But others find that their retirement comes with unexpectedly high price tags. You may need to continue to support family members, your home may not be worth as much as you expected, or you may incur major medical expenses for yourself, your spouse, or another family member.

Often, Social Security doesn’t cover your retirement expenses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, today’s retiree draws less than half his or her income from Social Security. The rest must come from other sources, such as personal savings and pension plans or, for some, part- or full-time employment.

Inflation may also take a bite out of your retirement savings. Remember, your dollar may buy a lot less in the future than it does today.

It’s important to know that financial planning professionals make recommendations, not decisions. You control your finances. A good planner will make recommendations based on your needs, values, goals, and time frames. You decide which recommendations to follow and then work with a financial professional to implement them.

MIRUS Financial Partners nor Cetera Adviser Networks LLC. give tax or legal advice. Opinions expressed are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance information is historical and indicative of future results. Articles prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2015.

Mark A. Vergenes is president of MIRUS Financial Partners and chair of the Lancaster (Pa.) Parking Authority. He can be reached at mark@mirusfinancialpartners.com.

TPP-2016-01-No More Procrastination

Case Study: Maintenance Planning

tpp-2016-03-case-study-maintenance-planningBy John Burgan, MS, PE

There was a time when parking structure maintenance was new and somewhat
frightening to municipalities. While no longer new, it continues to strain
medium-sized communities, where a high demand for infrastructure spending
combined with small revenue streams pinches budgets. Today’s discussions turn to
operations, technology, and the future. Yet, communities need to continue funding
maintenance. Can what we’ve learned from experience help guide future maintenance
planning? The City of Racine, Wis., may provide some guidance.

Racine, population 80,000, is located along Lake Michigan in the southeast corner of Wisconsin. Like many cities its size, Racine built several parking ramps in the 1980s and ’90s to support downtown businesses. The city started a regular maintenance program in 1995 that continues today.

Parking in the City

The city’s parking structure inventory includes:

  • McMynn: built in 1981, 236 spaces, 70 percent occupancy.
  • Shoop, built in 1986, 215 spaces, 80 percent occupancy.
  • Lake Avenue, built in 1988, 365 spaces, 20 percent occupancy.
  • Gaslight Pointe, built in 1994, 30 percent occupancy.
  • Civic Centre, built in 2002, 409 spaces, fully occupied.

The McMynn ramp is an early post-tensioned structure, and its mild reinforcing is not epoxy coated. It suffers from ongoing delamination of the top steel in the slabs.

The Shoop and Lake Avenue ramps are typical precast double tees with precast beam and columns and poured-in-place pour strips. The tee-to-tee connectors are not protected. Typical maintenance includes sealant replacement and coating of tee-to-tee connectors.

The Gaslight Pointe and Civic Centre ramps are also precast double tees with precast beam and columns, integral pour strips, and stainless steel tee-to-tee connectors. Typical maintenance is limited to sealant replacement.

The Shoop, Lake Avenue, Gaslight Pointe, and Civic Centre structures are generally in good shape. We expect only standard maintenance items in the foreseeable future, with easily predictable costs.

The McMynn structure will have a more intensive examination in 2016, with a focus on top-of-slab repairs. If deterioration is accelerating, the city will need to consider three options:

  • Minimal maintenance followed by demolition.
  • Extensive rehabilitation.
  • Minimal maintenance followed by replacement.

Unfortunately, revenue trends are unlikely to change. The north side of downtown has excessive supply on workdays but not during special events, when it is used by attendees of the many festivals and events along the city’s lakefront.

The Future
The city needs to be commended for its commitment to maintaining its structures. Yet, as noted above, the city is faced with an oversupply of structured parking that is not cheap to maintain and limited revenue. The city has many competing needs for its infrastructure
budget, and, at the same time, revenue supplied by the state is decreasing.

As Michael J. Maierle, Racine’s transit and parking system manager, asks, “How does one mesh engineering and economic considerations with community and political values?”

The key to success is continued maintenance coupled with long-range planning founded on accurate condition assessments. Likely questions include:

  • Two structures with the highest maintenance costs have the highest occupancy rates. Can the rates in these structures be raised?
  • The McMynn facility is likely to need a major renovation within the next 10 years. Should the city look to alternative sites to provide the supply, or budget for construction of a new structure?
  • The Shoop, Lake Avenue, and Gaslight Pointe structures are located within a few blocks of each other. Lake Avenue and Gaslight Pointe have low occupancy. Should the city look at the likelihood of future development in the area and, if the likelihood is low, consider reducing maintenance expenditures on one or both facilities?

The team considers how to provide information and options to the city, which in turn will decide how to mesh engineering, economics, community values, and politics with a keen eye on the future.

JOHN BURGAN, MS, PE, is structural business development director with R.A. Smith and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at john.burgan@rasmithnational.com.


TPP-2016-03 Case Study: Maintenance Planning

Ahead of the Train

tpp-2016-04-ahead-of-the-trainBy Robert Ferrin and Brett Wood, PE, CAPP

Building a parking program from the ground up. 

What if you could build a parking program from scratch? Where would you start? What would your central tenets be? How would you integrate the wealth of knowledge gained by parking professionals during the past 100 years?

In reality, most people don’t get this opportunity. As we’ve found our way into the unique world of parking professionalism, we’ve largely inherited programs. And those programs were built iteratively in response to the needs of the surrounding community and challenges experienced along the way. All we’ve had to do is learn from our predecessors and implement iterative change.

In essence, all you’ve been asked to do is keep the train on the tracks. But what if you got the amazing opportunity to build the train?

Putting a Plan in Place
In Aurora, Colo., that opportunity arose as a once-suburban community turned big city found itself on the brink of transformation. The city, which has a population of 350,000 and is situated east of Denver, lacks a paid parking program. Residents are accustomed to parking for free throughout the municipality, except for a relatively new medical campus in the city. However, the regional transportation district (RTD) is on the cusp of opening a light rail line that will include nine stations in Aurora and connect the community with both Denver and the airport. To say that things are about to change in Aurora is an understatement.

City planning staff realized the tremendous potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) and set out planning for the future of the community. As planning efforts occurred, it soon became evident there would be a need for advanced parking management. In 2015—less than two years before the lines would open—Aurora hired consultants Kimley-Horn to evaluate the implementation of comprehensive parking management within the community.

The study was driven by the fact that RTD intended to construct most light rail stations without the addition of significant public parking—a decision that could negatively affect surrounding neighborhoods and businesses as new parking demands were generated in the community. The study was intended to lay the groundwork for creating a public parking management entity in the area. This new program would be a radical shift for a community with no preexisting parking assets.

As the consultants and the City of Aurora worked together, the basis for the program evolved from primarily parking management to more of a parking and mobility entity focused on not only the provision of parking but also the provision of pedestrian, cycling, transit, and connectivity amenities. The decision to provide these features as part of the program was made to create a more cohesive connection with the community, linking the transit stations through enhanced first- and last-mile amenities.

Planning Process
During the course of an eight-month period, Aurora and Kimley- Horn worked hand-in-hand to identify a program structure, largely based on best-management practices assembled from around the country. The resulting Parking and Mobility Program Business Plan, which was delivered in summer 2015, provided a rare platform to define a program based on the best our industry has to offer. Throughout the project, we joked that Aurora had the opportunity to create a parking utopia, where they learned from all the lessons of the many communities that had previously braved this transition. Before long, what was a funny line became a mantra for the project, with these central tenets:

  • The community, including the customer and the economic vitality of the community, is the most important aspect of the program.
  • It’s about so much more than parking; the system should be a conduit for improving mobility, access, and growth within the community.
  • Enforcement should be based on compliance and education rather than on heavy-handed regulations.
  • Technologies should be designed to be easy to use for both the customer and the manager.
  • The staff should act as ambassadors for the program, helping the community learn about how and why we manage parking.
  • The community should be engaged throughout the life of the program, helping define the future by providing feedback.
  • Decisions should be made based on real data from the community, ensuring that new program elements meet the needs of those they serve.
  • Parking should be priced to manage demand and promote community needs, not generate revenue.
  • Any positive revenue generated by the parking program should be reinvested into the community.

Central to these themes was the concept of building the program around the community. Utopia doesn’t have to mean cutting-edge technologies, progressive policies, or innovative strategies. Simply put, the Aurora Parking and Mobility Program should be built with the success of the community and program in mind.

Implementing the Plan
As the parking and mobility manager for a brand-new program within a city, what would your first task be? How would you implement a comprehensive business plan in a mere 12 months? Being the first parking and mobility manager for the City of Aurora means having the opportunity to be in an exciting position to help shape a program that puts the customer first and is about much more than parking.

With that excitement also come challenges related to a lack of infrastructure and history. The Aurora Parking and Mobility Program Business Plan serves as the city’s guiding policy document but also very specifically outlines action items that need to be implemented with a phased approach. These action items serve as the foundation of a work plan that will create a program from the ground up to support neighborhood access, promote economic development, and drive ridership to Aurora’s new light rail line opening at the end of the year.

Implementation of the business plan required a multi-pronged approach focused on education and outreach, municipal code development, contracting, and the establishment of fees and permitting. Because parking touches so many of the daily functions of a city, an interdepartmental team was formed of professionals from seven different departments, all working together to create the program.

A series of public meetings was held, with more being scheduled, to educate the public about the proposed neighborhood parking permit program. In the public meetings, residents learn how the program will benefit them and provide access to their communities after light rail operations commence.

Working meetings were established with the city attorney’s office to revise a municipal code that included little to nothing about parking programs, enforcement, or citation adjudication. Finally, requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts were executed to implement what will be a completely outsourced implementation of the parking and mobility program.

A true team effort, Aurora’s first parking facility opened in March with the completion of a conference center hotel project. Much has been accomplished, yet much is left to complete on the action item list.

What’s Ahead?
As a cornerstone of the program’s development, Aurora will continue to provide education and outreach to residents, businesses, and city departments regarding the benefits of a holistic parking management system. The city will be contracting with a qualified parking services vendor in the late summer to implement the municipal operations side of the parking and mobility program, including managed on- and off-street parking, enforcement, and the issuance of parking permits. The program is also deeply involved in economic development and redevelopment opportunities to identify how parking can assist in furthering Aurora’s urban development vision around nine new TOD sites. And finally, the city is continuing to work with transportation partners, such as car share and shuttle operators to provide additional mobility options to residents, businesses, and visitors. It is an exciting time for Aurora, with many changes on the way. Stay tuned to find out if Aurora achieves parking utopia with the implementation of the parking and mobility business plan.

ROBERT FERRIN is parking and mobility manager with the City of Aurora, Colo. He can be reached at rferrin@auroragov.org.

BRETT WOOD, PE, CAPP, is a parking and transportation planner with Kimley-Horn. He can be reached at brett.wood@kimleyhorn.com.

TPP-2016-04 Ahead of the Train