Tag Archives: TPP-2012-07-

What She Said

TPP-2012-07-What She SaidBy Teresa Davis, Ph.D., CAPP

Nine years into my position as the director of transportation services at Penn State, I began work on my dissertation. My professor advised, “Write what you know,” so I opted to study women managers in university transportation departments. I came across information provided by the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) task force on women’s issues in transportation that identified women leaders in transportation and their career paths as important research topics for the transportation community. I called on my colleagues to obtain information on their demographics, career paths, and professional challenges.

Targeting members of the International Parking Institute (IPI), I recruited 35 women managers from university transportation departments to participate in a survey, interviews, and a focus group. Twelve of the 35 women participated in in-depth interviews. The intent was threefold: to gather demographic data about women managers in university departments; to obtain information about transportation as a career; and to identify career support and advancement potential.

The data, obtained in 2007, revealed that all participants were older than 31 years of age. Women ages 31 to 40 comprised 12 percent of our group while just more than half were 41 to 50. Thirty percent of the women were between 51 and 59, and the rest were 60 or older. These numbers revealed that in the near term, there would be available entry-level management positions and advancement opportunities for persons choosing to enter the parking profession.

More than 75 percent of the women were married, 6 percent were single, and 18 percent were divorced. Forty-two percent cared for children in their home.

In terms of education, more than half of the women had completed four years of college. The most common major was business. Only two of the 17 degree holders actually possessed degrees in transportation. Four of the women reported a high school diploma or GED as their highest level of education. Seven possessed master’s degrees.

Part of our research involved long conversations with participants about their careers. These in-depth interviews were my favorite part of the process, and the women selflessly shared real stories from their work.Three themes emerged:

Climbing the Ladder
The first theme, climbing the ladder, was the most prominent. Half of the interview participants moved up through their organizations’ ranks. One woman related, “When I came to the university, I was a student employee in the parking department working towards a four-year degree in business administration. Here we are 24 years later, and I am running a business.”

Another participant shared, “Transportation was never my chosen career field. I fell into it. I was getting married and needed a full-time job. I was going to college. My mother-in-law knew someone in the parking office at the [major university]. I was
hired on as a clerk and fell into it, rising through the ranks.”

An interviewee stated, “I spent my entire career, even my job as a student employee in this department and in this field. My career is pretty straight and narrow. I started out as a bus driver, loved the department, loved the people, loved what we were doing, and loved the students.”

Several factors were mentioned as motivation for climbing the ladder. Three participants identified transportation as an original career goal. One participant shared, “I took transportation logistics in college and worked for a professor. He got me interested in the whole field of moving product, moving people.” Another participant had a degree in urban and regional planning. She said, “My first internship out of school was in the [city] as a transportation intern. From that path, I always stayed in it, since I liked transportation planning, the engineering side.”

For two participants, the move to transportation was a career change. One woman shared,“I actually came to the [major university] to do graduate work—a mid-life career change. I was attending graduate school in counseling psychology. I needed a job and was hired to work the counter in the parking office. By the time I finished my graduate work, I had been promoted twice.”

One participant cited financial incentive and stability as the attraction to parking. “I started down the path of parking because of money. I started in the airport as a parking manager and was hired away from them to work in the university in a manager role in parking. I was then the interim director and then became director. I guess transportation was an opportunity to manage.”

Experience is the Key
Experience is the key evolved as a second theme. In all but one case, work experience took a primary role in preparing the participants for their positions. One professional shared, “I started as the front office clerk, and then became the accountant. Then I became the office manager while it was under the police. I was the secretary to the chief of police, then parking manager and dispatch coordinator. When they (the department) decided to separate parking and police, the administration asked if I wanted to go with police or parking. They gave me a year shot at it with a temporary increase. They were happy. By the time I was 22, I was acting director and then at 23, the director.”

Another participant shared her experience outside of the university as a classroom teacher. “There is very little in terms of management that you don’t exercise in a classroom. I taught high school. Much of your effort is in managing the classroom as well as managing the educational opportunities for the students. I think in that regard, while it was not formal management training, it prepared me to deal with a variety of issues to deal with differing personalities, differing objectives.”

One woman attributed her ability to deal with challenges to training. “I grew with the department. [University] prides itself on training. [University] has an excellent program on supervision and leadership. The training has been a huge thing. I can’t say enough about it. Our department, because of training, has had multiple people leave to be directors elsewhere.”

The politics of a university transportation department was identified by eight participants as a difficult part of the job. A participant discussed how she and her supervisor create a balance: “The only thing that I get frustrated with is our administration, not our boss. We work as partners. We have a great relationship. We can talk. Above her it gets fuzzy. Sometimes it’s hard and you get to the point where you have to pick your battles. It’s a balance. I like doing operations and she is more about the policy.”

One professional equated her previous work experience and ability to deal with the politics as key to succeeding in the position. “Through default, if I wanted to succeed at my job, I needed to take the initiative; do what needed to be done. All of those jobs (previous work experience) built up to a point where I am comfortable doing the job and doing new things and ready to take on the politics with the job. Parking is not a popular world, and most people want to stay out of it.”
Another interviewee put it bluntly, “It’s the trickiest part of being at a university. The politics make or break you.”

The participants found that managing people is a skill best learned through experience. One stated, “Probably the biggest challenge is managing the people.” In terms of managing the needs of the customers, she related, “When I moved here, my assistant said, ‘Where do you spend most of your time?’ I responded that 80 to 90 percent of the time is the people—faculty, staff, students. If you don’t have people skills and don’t like people, you can’t work in this environment.”

Support of the Administration
The third theme focused on support of the administration. Seven of the 12 women identified issues with a lack of support. One participant shared that through her years with the university, she has gained the support but there remains an overarching issue. “I have to tell you that it remains a challenge being a women administrator on a university campus. Another challenge is advancement. You get to the executive officer level at our campus and there are only two out of 20 at my level. It is a little bit better but still not outstanding.”

Another woman stated,“Probably the biggest thing about being a woman in business is the typical thing that you run into such as the roadblocks or lack of support from male management and stuff. You learn to deal with it and manage those people or manage around those people. I think that it’s a lot less than what it was. I also think it’s a cultural issue where some people just aren’t with it and refuse to get on board.”

Only four of the 12 interview participants identified gender inequity as an issue. Additionally, 11 of the 12 interviewees claimed that their administrations supported their decisions, training opportunities, and participation in professional organizations.

This encapsulation of data and stories identified three themes that these women agreed had major effects on their careers. The information is meant to offer women in university transportation departments a glimpse of who their counterparts are and how their experiences compare. Additionally, the participants offered their stories in hopes that their professional lives might assist in providing information to others interested in careers in university transportation.

Teresa A. Davis, Ph.D., CAPP is director of transportation services at The Pennsylvania State University. She can be reached at tad6@psu.edu or 814.863.4006.

TPP-2012-07-What She Said

A Star is Born

TPP-2012-07-A Star is BornBy Kim Fernandez

Several times a year, Lance Lunsway, CAPP, senior director, parking and transportation, Georgia Institute of Technology, clears the decks—literally—on campus to make room for movie and television stars, production crews, and lots of people and vehicles. Location scouts have discovered that the school is a great place to film all sorts of scenes for movies and television, and Lunsway’s facilities are the perfect places to either be in the scenes themselves or serve as storage for all the vehicles a movie shoot brings with it.

“A lot of it comes because they want to be on campus,” he says of the productions. “The university is a big one and we have a lot of TV and movie production here. One show wanted the back of a parking lot off our student union to be in the background of a shot.”

Requests to use parking decks and lots when a movie crew comes to town aren’t unusual—as one location scout put it, every production comes with dozens of vehicles, and their drivers all want to park as close to the action as possible. Parking garages, too, are attractive for shooting scenes when the lighting and sight lines are right. And a contract with a production company can equate to liquid gold for the facility owner: as Lunsway puts it, “A lot of times, a lot will be rented for a certain amount and the budget isn’t usually an issue with them.”

He says that if a production company comes calling, it’s absolutely worth sitting down to talk with them. And location scouts say once they’ve worked with a particular facility owner or manager, they’re very likely to revisit that same lot or garage when they’re filming in the area again. Long story short, putting a garage or lot out there to location scouts and filming companies can equate to almost free money without much hassle.

Act One: What the Movies Want
“When I’m looking for filming locations, I’m generally looking more for a deck structure than a lot,” says Atlanta location scout Jason Underwood. “Here in Atlanta, parking facilities that are used as filming locations are generally multi-floor structures of some kind that are actually purposed in the film as something other than a parking deck.”

That’s not to say that shows such as the “Parking Garage” episode of Seinfeld or the dark scenes from “All the President’s Men” won’t use a real garage for filming—they do. But there aren’t that many garage scenes in major movies, and garages can morph into other things quite well.

“I was working on ‘Batman Begins,’ says Chicago scout James McAllister. “We were trying to find a rooftop that sat a little lower in the city. We needed it to be surrounded by taller buildings. Someone I was working with suggested looking at parking garages. It made sense—they’re usually seven to 15 stories tall in Chicago. They sit lower, and you have this great expanse of buildings around you. That has become an attraction.”

You read it here—the rooftop scenes you remember from that film were made on top of a parking garage, and the owner rented his facility to the movie company to make it happen.

Underwood agrees, saying he’s twice used the same Atlanta garage for rooftop filming scenes. “We can have unfettered access to that without worrying about interrupting people in their offices or apartments,” he says. “It makes it much easier from a logistical standpoint to film.”

For inside scenes, he says, the garage’s design can make it very attractive to film crews. “Parking structures all have different designs,” he says. “Sometimes you want to see a person on one level and peek through to another level. Lots of garages have that double helix that you can see through. And in a dark night scene that needs a circular driveway to look down through, a garage can be perfect.”

Act Two: When Filming Isn’t the Thing
Even when a movie or television show has no scene that needs a parking structure, scouts say lots and garages that are very close to filming locations are always needed. And that’s for the same reason cities, hospitals, universities, and airports need structures to begin with: people always need somewhere to park.

“We take a lot of parking,” says Underwood. “When we go somewhere we may have 75 people who all have cars. We might have six travel trailers, work trucks, four 40-foot tractor-trailers, and two or three five to 10 ton trucks. And they all have to have a place to park.”

He routinely contracts with surface lot owners for a week or two during filming for just that reason. And here, location is key.

“All of that support parking is going to be tied to whatever filming location we have very tightly,” he says. “That’s really luck of the draw. It depends where we’ve chosen to film.”

Lunsway knows how that works: he frequently hosts parking for film crews who are working at the Biltmore Estate across the street from Georgia Tech.

“They’ll take 100 stalls just to set production vehicles,” he says. “It works out—we can ask a premium price for those, and they’ll pay it.”

“Surface lots work great for us,” says McAllister. “It’s quick for the crew to come and park their cars and vans, and then at the end of the day they pick them up and they’re gone. We can use a major city parking structure too, if there’s a way to validate the tickets that the crew understands.” He says he routinely rents 100 to 300 spaces per day for production parking.

Act Three: Getting Their Attention
Renting out several hundred spaces a day for a week or two at a time with guaranteed payment sounds pretty good to most parking owners and operators. Luckily, scouts say getting their attention is relatively easy.

“Any parking facility has visual interest,” says Underwood. “The best thing to do is contact your local film commission.” These can be found in nearly every major and mid-sized city in the U.S., and they work with producers, directors, and scouts to bring television and movie production to their areas.

“Almost every film commission keeps a book of film-friendly locations,” says Underwood. “You just call the one in your area and tell them you have a property that you’d like them to know is available for filming.”

McAllister says the film commission will either offer to send a photographer out to take pictures of the facility, or ask the owner/manager to do that for them.

“Send photos from and of the rooftop and multiple levels,” he says. “Most commission offices have scouts who will come out and shoot it for you. Using a parking garage is somewhat of an easy set—it’s easy access for the crew, and they provide a nice area to build a set or do set dressing. That’s why the rooftops are usually the most attractive parts of a parking structure for us.”

To be considered for staging and parking during filming, parking professionals should ask the film commission for a list of production editors they work with, and then email them to offer their lots or decks for parking. They can also ask to join the film commission as vendor members.

“Companies understand that this can be a lucrative thing because we’re constant,” McAllister says. “Usually, we prepay as well. Ideally it would be great if we were billed for the spaces we use, but we usually buy a certain number of validations every day.”

Once a location scout calls, a quick response is key to getting them to use a certain facility for the first time.

“Once one of us contacts a parking company, the main thing is speed of response,” says Underwood. “Usually, we want to know if it’ll work now. If I don’t get a call back for two or three days, I’ve already moved on and found somewhere else.”
That said, once they use a facility successfully, they’re quite likely to return in the future.

“We are almost always going to exercise a known quantity over an unknown,” he says.

Act Four: Making it Work
Although renting out several hundred spaces for several days to weeks can be quite lucrative, scouts and those who’ve done it warn that it’s not without some hazards.

“The parking lot owners need to consider whether this is worth their time to deal with,” says McAllister.

Underwood agrees. “There are some concerns about driving a wedge between monthly parkers and management,” he says, noting that for afternoon or evening shoots, spaces may have to be held empty most of the day, and that regular parkers can be nudged to other facilities on days the production company needs much of a lot or garage.

“Assuming your lot isn’t at 100 percent capacity, we can usually move things around and make it work,” he says.

Owners should also be prepared to negotiate for rates. “If we’re putting 150 people in deck parking, we generally like to see a 30 percent discount on the daily rate,” he says, although some owners and managers say filming brings in more. “We might buy 150 to 200 spaces, though, depending on what we’re doing that day.” And some filming takes place overnight, which means the production crew needs access to spaces nearly 24 hours a day.

“If we have a 12-hour shooting day that starts at 7 a.m., people are going to start to show up three hours before then,” says McAllister. “So between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m., you’ll have a few waves of people coming in. And then right before 7 a.m., you’ll get a massive wave of people. When we wrap for the day, everyone leaves at the same time. So we need facilities that are convenient for getting everyone out, too.”

Owners can expect to sign contracts that specify times, numbers, and rates, and are encouraged to negotiate those conditions and have their own legal counsel review before they sign.

Above all, scouts say, flexibility and honesty are key to making a movie parking agreement work.

“The only thing I can say with any certainty about any shoot is that it’s going to change,” says Underwood. “From the time I make initial contact until the time we end up onsite rolling camera, we’re going to go through several different iterations of methods of accomplishing the work. We want you to say yes as much as you can, but a good locations person will understand that sometimes we’ll ask for things you can’t give us. That’s OK. It’s honesty that matters.”

“It’s normally pretty easy,” says Georgia Tech’s Lunsway, who admits that it’s “pretty cool” to see his facilities up on the big screen. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that it’s not like a film crew is there for three or four months. They come in, get their work done, and they get out.”

At the end of the day, Underwood says, most owners find it well worth their while.

“It’s found money,” he says. “It’s not going to be the same as turning a lot over four or five times in a day, but it’s guaranteed.”

Kim Fernandez is editor of The Parking Professional. She can be reached at fernandez@parking.org or 540.371.7535.

TPP-2012-07-A Star is Born

Setting Priorities

TPP-2012-07-Setting PrioritiesBy John M. Porter and Greggrey G. Cohen

Parking structures are exposed to severe conditions such as rainwater, snow, de-­icing salts, and temperature and moisture changes that can lead to structural ­deterioration and damage to other building systems. Owners can implement routine maintenance programs to repair damage and reduce the rate of deterioration. Before considering such a program, it is beneficial to understand a facility’s existing conditions; this gives you a starting point from which to prepare a successful maintenance approach. A detailed condition assessment that identifies deterioration mechanisms, repair quantities, and maintenance needs is a useful tool that will help prioritize repairs and set realistic budgets.

The structural components of a parking facility account for about 75 percent of the initial construction cost. Maintaining those components can help protect an owner’s long-term return on investment. Deterioration of the structural components is often caused by leakage, moisture, and chemicals.

Parking structures in cold climates are exposed to de-icing salts that are brought into the garage by vehicles. Structures in coastal environments are exposed to airborne salts from seawater. De-icing salts and salt-laden water can lead to corrosion of reinforcing steel embedded in concrete structures and subsequent concrete deterioration. While this is only one example of a common deterioration mechanism, it is critical to identify the cause of the damage to identify repair alternatives and estimate repair costs.

The Assessment
It is important that any structure assessment begin with a review of available construction documents and previously completed assessment reports. Valuable information regarding construction details, material properties, and deterioration progression can be obtained from past documentation. Interviewing on-site personnel will also provide useful information about the history of recurring maintenance issues.

The field assessment includes a visual inspection of the structure to record the location and extent of deterioration, distress, and leakage. Assessors may use a variety of testing methods to further investigate specific areas of concern or identify the cause of deterioration. Common testing techniques include exploratory openings, concrete core sampling, chloride content testing, and petrography (microscopic analysis of concrete). Locations of severe distress may result in an engineering review to determine the safe capacity of a structure. Inspection data is then compiled on drawings and quantified in tables for estimating.

The Report
Condition assessment reports should include detailed information that can help an owner make informed decisions about the best repair and maintenance strategy. This should include detailed lists of all identified repair needs and their associated construction costs. Repair and maintenance items often include:

General maintenance: Sweeping and washing of parking decks, stairs, windows, walls, lobbies, and offices.

Structural systems: Repair of broken up, flaked, or pitted and delaminated concrete on the topside and underside of parking decks, walls, and columns. Repair of deteriorated structural steel members.

Waterproofing systems: Repair of failed sealant joints, expansion joints, and repairs or complete replacement of vehicular-traffic-bearing waterproofing and other coatings.

Plumbing systems: Cleaning of drains, drain lines, and separators. Replacement of failed and corroded piping and drains.

Electrical systems: Replacement of corroded conduits and fixtures.

Mechanical systems: Maintenance of exhaust fans, dampers, snow melt systems, and associated equipment. Replacement of equipment beyond its useful life.

Access/egress: Maintenance of doors, access control equipment, devices, and gates.

Fire protection: Replacement of deteriorated piping and maintenance of pumps and valves (see p. 20 in the June 2012 issue of The Parking Professional for more on garage fire risks).

The Next Steps
Understanding the owner’s goals and budget will help the assessment team prepare repair plans and alternatives. In the event the full repair program exceeds the owner’s available budget, phasing the repairs in a prioritized order is often a viable option. Phasing is also practical to reduce the disruption, loss of parking, and potential loss of revenue associated with repair projects. The results of the assessment help the owner make informed decisions to plan for immediate and short- or long-term repairs, and develop a phased repair strategy.

Immediate repairs are necessary to address conditions that represent an imminent risk of personal injury. Imminent risks can include loose concrete and broken plumbing lines that are potential falling hazards, or severely deteriorated structural components that require immediate shoring. Immediate repairs are often addressed shortly after or during the condition assessment work to maintain public safety.

Short-term repairs are intended to address deteriorated components and systems for the purpose of extending the useful life of the structure. The assessment report often includes options and estimated costs to implement corrosion mitigation measures, such as vehicular-traffic-bearing waterproofing, coatings, and sealants. Repairing building components that are distressed today usually takes precedence over preventative maintenance and improving the long-term durability of the structure. While this is a common approach, the assessment report should recognize that long-term repair costs will likely be higher due to deferred maintenance.

Long-term repair costs include general maintenance and periodic structural and waterproofing repairs. Predicting these costs and the long-term performance of parking structures carries some uncertainty, as deterioration typically continues at an ever-increasing rate until repairs are made and corrosion mitigation measures are implemented. Historic data regarding the performance and maintenance of the garage is useful to predict the expected life of the structure and future repair costs. A construction contingency is often included in cost estimates to account for uncertainty and provide some budget flexibility. A present value analysis will also help the owner determine which repair alternative best fits the long-term goals.

The assessment report includes a summary of the repair alternatives along with a breakdown of their immediate and short- and long-term repair costs. A clear explanation of the advantages and disadvantages will provide information regarding the implications of choosing one repair option over another.

The assessment process is a collaborative effort to establish a repair strategy and prioritize repairs. It is critical that the final report includes thorough information to help the owner develop future budgets and maintain a revenue stream while extending the useful life of the structure to protect their investment.

Greggrey G. Cohen is principal with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. He can be reached at ggcohen@sgh.com or 781.907.9000.

John M. Porter, P.E., is senior project manager with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. He can be reached at jmporter@sgh.com or 781.907.9390.

TPP-2012-07-Setting Priorities

Form & Function

TPP-2012-07-Form & FunctionBy Michael Greco, Michael Pipitone, Wendy Feuer, and Guillermo Leiva

In 2008, the New York City (NYC) Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, announced an international design competition for a unique NYC bicycle rack. The goal was to develop an attractive, functional rack that would expand the agency’s bike parking inventory and fulfill a need identified by New Yorkers who cited a lack of secure bike parking as a primary reason for not commuting by bike in a Department of City Planning study.

The competition was open to the international design community, including architects, artists, engineers, landscape architects, planners, urban designers, product and industrial designers, and manufacturers. The contest asked applicants to develop a design that would be consistent with the sleek, modern look and durability of the city’s existing street furniture such as its bus shelters, newsstands, and public toilets. In addition to the uniform aesthetics, all of these structures are constructed of high-quality materials that stand up to the elements and rigors of NYC sidewalks.

DOT received more than 200 designs from around the world. From that group, the first jury identified 10 possible racks, which were exhibited at Astor Place for testing and public voting. The jury selected Copenhagen-based industrial designers Ian Mahaffy and Maarten de Greeve’s “Hoop.”

Combining Efforts
During the competition’s second review stage, jurors realized that the Hoop could be integrated with single-space parking meters currently on streets citywide. At the same time, DOT launched efforts to modernize its parking meter inventory, replacing all of the city’s single space meters with networked multi-space meters commonly known as muni-meters. To explore this option, DOT’s Bike Program and Parking Divisions partnered to identify meter posts that could be outfitted with galvanized, durable ductile iron, hoop-style bike racks that could easily slide on to former meter posts.

“We’re turning meters into off-the-rack bike parking,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “This design removes the meter but leaves the parking for potentially thousands of bikes. It’s a creative way to repurpose obsolete infrastructure to meet the new and growing demands on our streets.”

The city’s decades-long history with multi-space pay-and-display meters, combined with the benefits of reducing street furniture, de-cluttering the streetscape, and the economics associated with upgrades to its public parking systems, aligned neatly with the potential use of decommissioned single-space meters for bike racks.
Further, by taking advantage of existing infrastructure, the meter racks eliminate the cost of removing old posts and installing entirely new bike racks.

Creating the Next Generation of
Bike Parking

In August 2009, DOT’s Bike Rack Unit (BRU) requested that the Bureau of Parking’s Meter Maintenance Unit (MMU) develop a secure installation method for a hoop-style rack. Staff created an engineering drawing that illustrated a secure, durable prototype design. The task of creating the parking meter rack was then assigned to the MMU unit that specializes in the fabrication, installation, and removal of all parking devices citywide. Importantly, the team tested and later incorporated proven security features pioneered by DOT to safeguard meters into the prototype’s design. Methods such as the double wall pipe, which prevented it from being easily cut, and hardware used for securing parking meter housings to their posts, were added.

With the testing completed for the newly-named NYCityRack, MMU and BRU developed an internal process to coordinate decommissioned meter pipe to bike rack conversions. Initially, the process required the Bureau of Parking to provide BRU with a “Muni Meter Conversion Project” schedule at the beginning of each fiscal year. The BRU would survey applicable block side locations and select single-space meters for conversion. That information then would be forwarded to DOT’s borough commissioners for their review and comment. Upon approval, the confirmed locations would be sent to MMU for bike rack conversion as part of the citywide “munification.” Once this took place, the MMU would remove meter heads and pipe sleeves, ensuring that the remaining meter pipe was plumb and secure. Lastly, MMU would install the muni-meters and proceed to remove all other single-space meters that were not selected for bike rack use.

In anticipation of a large-scale rollout, DOT also discussed the need for a bike rack identification system. Because maintenance of the parking meter racks rested with MMU, the DOT teams agreed to develop a numbering system similar to the one used for parking meters. The numbered area would include a “BR” to identify it as a bike rack area, and an MMU-designed label would be attached to the upper portion of the outer sleeve.

During the fall of 2010, DOT developed an approximately one-year timeline for citywide conversion from single-space to multi-space meters. Due to the rapid implementation schedule, parking meter removals increased significantly and it became necessary for MMU personnel to take the lead and survey and identify meter pipes to remain in the field for potential bike rack usage. They received training from BRU staff for this task. MMU staff also catalogs this information, logging the existing meter numbers and in-front-of-addresses in an internal database for street furniture.

All permanent, temporary, and potential meter bike racks are entered into our computer system for reference. Bike rack area description sheets and meter racks are included in the MMU maintenance schedules, which are coordinated and tracked through the MMU handheld system. Finally, MMU route personnel check all current bike racks as well as the conditions of potential bike racks. All maintenance issues are reported through the same system that logs single-space meter maintenance requests. Any identified issues are addressed within 24 hours, with work orders being completed and entered in the computer system.

Currently, there are 230 meter racks installed in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. The agency will be installing thousands more within the next three years to help the growing demand for bike parking in New York City.

Guillermo Leiva is assistant commissioner, bureau of parking, at the New York City Department of Transportation. He can be reached at gleiva@dot.nyc.gov or 718.786.7300.

Wendy Feuer is assistant commissioner of urban design & art, traffic and planning division, at the New York City Department of Transportation. She can be reached at wfeuer@dot.nyc.gov or 212.839.6680.

Michael Pipitone is director, meter operations, bureau of parking, at the New York City Department of Transportation. He can be reached at mpipitone@dot.nyc.gov or 718.786.7300.

Michael Greco is chief of meter maintenance, bureau of parking, at the New York City Department of Transportation. He can be reached at mgreco@dot.nyc.gov or 718.786.7300.

TPP-2012-07-Form & Function

Shining Examples

TPP-2012-07-Shining Examples

Perhaps as no other time in history are so many parking structures being heralded as architecturally significant. 2011 was the first time in memory that a parking garage (a parking garage!) was featured in Vanity Fair, and architecture and consumer publications are abuzz with news from all over the world of parking structures that add to their surrounding communities simply through beautiful design.

All of that, of course, makes it more challenging than ever to hold up specific structures as being the best of the best, but that’s exactly what the IPI Awards of Excellence competition does every year. This year is no different; winners were chosen from a large number of outstanding entries and stand as testament to creative, sustainable, outstanding design.

Since their inception in 1982, the Awards of Excellence have recognized excellence in hundreds of facilities and programs, spotlighting outstanding examples of parking design and operational creativity. This year’s winners were recognized at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz.

Award categories included architectural achievement; best design of parking facilities with fewer than and more than 800 spaces; best rehabilitation/restoration; innovation in parking operation or programs; and sustainable parking/transportation program or operations. This year, two new categories were added: best design/implementation of a surface parking lot, and sustainable parking and transportation (design) excellence. Winners were selected by IPI’s Awards of Excellence Committee, comprised of architects, parking corporations, and city, airport, and university officials.

The envelope please! Without further ado, we give you this year’s Awards of Excellence honorees.

Intermodal Transit Facility, City of Hillsboro, Ore.
Shared by hospital and university staff along with the public, the City of Hillsboro, Ore.’s Intermodal Transit Facility (ITF) incorporates sustainable features into a 260,000 square foot design that serves its different user groups beautifully.

The ITF provides free parking in the heart of a small suburban community; hospital and university staff park on the upper levels, while patients, daily commuters, and short-term parkers occupy the lower floors. The structure’s five stories also house retail space, an education center, and bicycle parking.

An innovative ground-floor bike station and 14 level II electric vehicle (EV) charging stations encourage community members to consider using alternative means of transportation. Energy-conserving LED light fixtures run off a 60kW rooftop solar array that generates enough power to run the facility on sunny days. A block-long pervious concrete alley conserves groundwater, and rainwater flows from parking levels into elegantly landscaped storm detention areas in the public plaza.

Truly an ITF, the facility was a joint project of the city, hospital, and university. It serves as a hub for commuters and nearby office workers, provides convenient access to the adjacent light rail commuter line and bus routes, and encourages residents to use alternative modes of transportation, alleviating congestion.

Duke University Research Drive Parking Garage, Durham, N.C.
Profiled in the May 2012 issue of The Parking Professional, the Research Drive Garage is the first single-use, stand-alone parking structure to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, where it earned 31 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) points. The 1,900-space, seven-story facility provides parking for Duke students, faculty, visitors, and patients.

This structure’s intuitive, functional design provides an exterior express ramp and flat floor plates with great flow capacity, unobstructed internal views, and enhanced security. Some entry/exit locations, identified by green growing walls, are used by students, staff, and faculty who take advantage of Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI). The second level is reserved for visitors using a pay-on-foot system and their own entry/exit. Space availability displays at the main entrance and on the ramps help navigate parkers to open spaces.

Architecturally, the garage blends well with the surrounding buildings and incorporates sustainable design with planted green walls and roof canopies. Mixing precast spandrel panels at the upper levels with terra cotta and stone on the lower levels provides a unique look to the property. Landscaped rain gardens offer both beauty and environmental benefits.

Open and bright stair and elevator towers are easily identified from their flat floor interiors, and the glass-backed elevators provide security on the exterior. Service lighting design was incorporated and concrete slabs’ undersides were painted white to provide light reflectivity. Beam sides and bottoms were painted to match the facility’s exterior facades and blend with the exterior architecture. The cast-in-place post-tensioned concrete structure contributes to the open feeling of the garage and provides a long service life with low maintenance.

573 Gerrard Street East, Zhong Hua Men ARCHWAY Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If you woke up from a nap in front of this building, you might wonder if you’d accidentally drifted out of Canada. That’s because you’d be looking at Toronto’s only traditional Chinese archway. How’s that for unique?

Originally opened in August 1984, the 43-space Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) surface parking facility formerly known as Carpark #146 was redeveloped to include the Zhong Hua Men archway, which acts as a gateway to Toronto’s East Chinatown.

The archway was constructed to symbolize Chinese contributions to Canada, and includes a tribute to the 17,000 workers who built the transnational railway. Far from being a run-of-the-mill parking facility, it functions as a catalyst to raise cultural and economic awareness, and encourage the area’s development.

University of Minnesota’s Bike Center and RFID Program,Minneapolis, Minn.
A few parking spaces and an unused parking ramp transit lobby used for storage for 15 years were given new life as the centerpiece of the University of Minnesota’s new bicycle program. With campus bike use at nearly 14 percent, the importance of bikes to the campus is undeniable.

The University Bike Center was constructed in a former transit waiting area of the university’s Oak Street Parking Ramp. Built in 1975, the ramp offered 702,000 square feet of space and 2,174 parking spaces.

The new Bike Center opened in September 2011, in close proximity to 3,000 residence hall students and thousands of Academic Health Center employees. By repurposing existing space through renovation rather than building something new, the university was able to maximize space while meeting sustainability goals and maintaining its physical footprint.

The Bike Center offers many amenities that make bike commuting practical:
Professional and do-it-yourself repair ­services.
Retail store.
Secure card-accessed 24-hour bike parking.
Restrooms, showers, and clothing lockers.
RFID benefits center.
Electronic trip-planning kiosk.

The RFID solution consists of small tags affixed to registered users’ bicycles. RFID receivers installed at strategic locations wirelessly read and transmit the tag information to a server that’s accessible to users and university staff, allowing reliable verification of commuter trips that can then can be tied to incentives (for example, transportation option enhancements and healthcare discounts).

Because of the ramp’s centralized location and proximity to other alternative modes of transportation, the university expects to reap the benefits of reduced auto emissions and a healthier, more sustainable community.

Corcoran Parking Garage Restoration, Durham, N.C.
Located within the performing arts district of Durham, N.C., the Corcoran Parking Garage is a five-level, 1960s concrete garage that was renovated and re-imaged to better serve downtown venues. The process was anything but easy.

Engineers’ initial condition assessment revealed extensive concrete deterioration throughout the building, inadequate and confusing signage, water infiltration damage, and unsafe conditions that included lighting deficiencies and non-ADA compliance. The dilapidated garage was an eyesore in a flourishing downtown arts district.
Structural restoration work included widespread concrete and brick masonry façade repairs. A comprehensive waterproofing system enhanced long-term durability.

Parking operational improvements included uniform signage to improve wayfinding, accessibility upgrades for travel routes and stairwells, and LED light fixtures to improve public safety and appearance. The entire garage was also painted: each level was assigned a distinct color that was carried through to elevator lobbies to assist with level identification. Large, exterior fabric banners were installed at the top level of the garage that reflect seasonal art events happening downtown.

While that all sounds impressive already, the project had a sticky condition: due to high occupancy demands in the busy downtown district, the garage needed to remain in service throughout the restoration. Project engineers used a three-dimensional model to determine the optimal sequencing of level closures and scheduled the concrete demolition and repair work during off hours to minimize noise and vibration effects. They also implemented containment measures to minimize dust and abate hazardous materials.

Following restoration, the Corcoran Garage was able to double its previous parking rates.

Canopy Airport Parking, Denver, Colo.
Canopy Airport Parking serves Denver International Airport with 500 spaces of indoor valet parking, more than 1,000 spaces of covered self-park, and 2,700 spaces of open-air parking. The facility was created as a practical demonstration of the energy saving and environmentally responsible technologies that can be implemented in parking facilities, and is currently registered with the certification goal of LEED® Certified Gold.

Canopy was constructed using sustainable materials and processes, incorporating a number of technologies that were chosen because of their potential effect on energy consumption over the facility’s life; they contribute to a low carbon footprint and energy efficiency, and help mitigate the carbon output of its customers.

The story here is about more than just construction, however. People were also brought into the equation, and employees have adopted a commitment to “People—Planet—Profit.”

People: Provide quality service and facilities at an affordable price.
Planet: Use the most sustainable products and systems available to ensure environmental responsibility.
Profit: Preserve profitability.

Finally, Canopy is showcased to the community through its unique “Building that Teaches” program. In collaboration with the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado, the facility hosts field trips and teaching seminars that illustrate sustainable building and management practices that don’t compromise on service or the bottom line.

GEICO Garage, Orlando, Fla.
What’s the worst part of driving to a large event? If you said waiting to exit the parking garage, you are far from alone. The 1,876-space GEICO Garage has alleviated that with a structure that can be emptied in 30 minutes.

The operational system accommodates multiple forms of payment for event, permit, and hourly patrons and includes messaging to help users locate available parking. The user-friendly structure was designed with an emphasis on security, operator flexibility, and low maintenance.

The garage has eight levels, two entry/exits, and two intertwined express ramps that are located on one side to maximize flat bay parking adjacent to the destination. This creates clear pedestrian pathways and improves sight lines, user comfort, and wayfinding throughout the garage.

It goes beyond function, however, to become something of a work of art unto itself. The exterior is sheathed in perforated aluminum panels that echo the architecture of the nearby Events Center. By layering and changing textures, color, and scale, the façade acts as an animated skin and creates numerous framed vistas of the city. At night, movement inside the garage and the patterns of light shining through the façade further enhance this effect.

The streetscape includes colored paving and sidewalks, exterior lighting, tree grates, protective bollards, trash receptacles, pervious concrete, and landscaping that meets shade coverage requirements. The entry/exits are well defined and include international and variable messages.

Amenities and distinctive features include high efficiency lighting; a climate controlled pedestrian bridge; security and ticket collection; parking for 30 semi-trucks, buses, or media/broadcasting vehicles; a parking office; two data centers; broadcasting capabilities; a helicopter landing area; and an emergency generator. Additionally, the garage achieved LEED® Gold certification and was completed within budget.

TPP-2012-07-Shining Examples

On Leadership

TPP-2012-07-On LeadershipBy Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

You might have read the headline above and wondered, “What is Julius up to now?” After all, leadership is debated repeatedly from the halls of academia to boardrooms near and far. With this as a backdrop, why am I even asking a question about leadership? Haven’t we had enough?

I am glad you asked, and the short answer is yes, we have had enough…and no, we have not had enough. Before you get really confused, let me explain. Each year, there are more than 2,000 books written on the topic of leadership. If you go to any search engine and type in “books on leadership,” you will get a response that varies from 1 million to 2.26 million hits or more. What this tells me is that no one has cornered the market on being able to identify a single construct that fits the issue of leadership in a way that it makes it easily accessible. Many of us are seeking a way to make it relevant and actionable for ourselves and the stakeholders with whom we interact in our personal and professional lives.

This conundrum is sort of like the questions of whether the terms leaders and managers are synonymous, or if leaders are born or made. My reply to these old idioms is that I don’t know, but one thing is certain: there is always room for improvement. To add more fuel to the fire, let me share with you what I see as an inherent part of the discussion on leadership that is sorely missing from the landscape.

First, take a look at any newspaper—print or electronic (and yes, print versions do still exist)—and in almost every one, you will see a rampant abandonment of leadership and ethics at nearly every level of society. Recently, JPMorgan Chase reported a loss of $3 billion related to investments that had a higher risk level and were not scrutinized properly. We have also heard about some potential impropriety surrounding the initial public offering of Facebook stock, and that its founder and the lead financial institution may have omitted or misrepresented material information about the social networking leader’s business ahead of its IPO. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.

What’s Missing
So what is one single thing that I believe has been overlooked in the discussion on leadership? Courage. Let me say it again: courage. For me, courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is the recognition that fear exists, and the willingness to do what is needed, in keeping with our best morals and motives, to overcome it. We do this not only for ourselves, but for the people we serve and others who depend on leaders to exercise their duties in a manner that looks out for the well-being of others. When I think of courageous leadership, I think of three simple words: Service to others.

Displaying courageous leadership in the face of pressure (real or perceived) is not easy. However, nothing worthwhile comes easily, and anything worth having is worth working for. Hard work is a requirement. Anything less subjects our organization, members of our team, and ultimately us personally, to the possibility of ruin.

Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR, is founder and principal of the mpr group. He can be reached at jrhodes@mprgroup.info or 773.548.8037.

TPP-2012-07-On Leadership

NYC Embraces EVs

TPP-2012-07-NYC Embraces EVsBy Guillermo Leiva

New York City made headlines last year when it invested in a fleet of Chevy Volt electric cars for its police department, assigning them to traffic control throughout the city. Our parking officers are also exploring where electric vehicles might fit in.

“New York City is where the future comes to audition” is a phrase historically used by New York City mayors and the unofficial motto of the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC-DOT’s) Bureau of Parking. From historical groundbreaking initiatives such as variable pricing and commercial vehicle parking windows, through our current enabling of credit payment capabilities at 86,000 on-street spaces and the testing of video and in-ground occupancy sensors in unmarked stalls, the bureau makes good on its motto.

We try new technologies and new things on a massive scale. Last fall, the “audition” included testing whether the all-electric eStar commercial vehicle was practical in our meter collection fleet (50 vans). If you’ve not yet seen one, eStar vehicles are trucks that can handle payloads of up to 5,100 pounds and cruise up to 100 miles on a charge. Designed and built by Navistar thanks to a $39 million federal grant, eStar trucks emit no carbon into the atmosphere, use no gas or oil, and are billed as being recyclable. They’re also very quiet, which makes them attractive in urban areas such as New York, where they can be used early in the morning or late at night without disturbing residents.

After initial review, we determined that the eStar could work for our parking division if properly customized. Carpenters from DOT’s bridge repair division completed these changes to meet bureau specifications. These changes included an ergonomic layout and an 80-canister payload.

Another customization was the vehicle’s smart charger, which was installed by DOT’s street light electricians. This allowed a completely drained battery pack to recharge in only eight hours using a 220V power source. While each full charge provides a range of 80 to 100 miles, we needed to test this in our operations.

Based on concerns regarding the eStar’s real world working range, we limited its initial deployment to assignments close to the meter collection facility. After a month without any fuel/charge range problems and some additional operator training, we expanded its territory. Because we didn’t yet fully understand the vehicle’s capabilities, we deployed escort vehicles for a while.

At the end of the day, our test period was deemed successful. The eStar is now part of the bureau of parking’s routine collection schedule, which involves collecting from 218 muni-meters (NYC speak for multi-space meters) or 4,277 spaces throughout all five boroughs.

While we’re happy with what we’ve seen so far, this audition isn’t yet complete. We still need to install air conditioning to see if this vehicle is the star it claims to be!

Guillermo Leiva is the assistant commissioner, NYC DOT—Bureau of Parking, and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at gleiva@dot.nyc.gov or 718.786.7300.

TPP-2012-07-NYC Embraces EVs