Tag Archives: TPP-2012-09-

Fostering an Engaged Community

TPP-2012-09-Fostering an Engaged CommunityBy Johnna Frosini, CAPP

Research shows that as public and private educational institutions compete
for quality students, engagement has become a crucial part of the formula for producing successful students. If institutions can provide an enriched learning and teaching environment, it follows that improved graduation and retention rates will be achieved. This adds value to the role of higher education in our states and regions.

Academic success leads to productive citizens, and we hope they’ll retain their ties with their universities and surrounding communities as their careers progress. If alumni feel the value of being connected to their colleges, the chances of giving and having a mutually beneficial future relationship with those institutions increase. Believe it or not, parking can play a role in this.

The College at Brockport
The State University of New York: College at Brockport, situated 20 minutes west of Rochester, N.Y., is a medium-sized, public liberal arts college. In recent decades, it has transformed itself by providing quality programs and instruction, and seeking a superior and diverse graduate and undergraduate student body. The college seeks national recognition as a comprehensive master’s institution that’s focused on student success. The administration at Brockport recognizes that success stems from engaged students, faculty, and staff, and seeks to achieve all of those through the four constructs of academic quality and engagement, co-curricular and support programs, learning environment and quality of place, and a culture of philanthropy and alumni connectedness.

Webster’s Dictionary defines engagement as “emotional involvement or commitment.” We consider it a participatory activity— a two-way commitment.

Engagement is tied to academic quality in the illustration, but the four constructs overlap to allow for its application in a variety of ways. This is where the service departments in higher education can play an important role. Engagement doesn’t start and end in the classroom, and there are great things that happen with intentional community and employee engagement throughout the university.

As participants in the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Brockport is provided with a snapshot of how undergraduates spend their time while in school and what they gain from attending. Identified factors that influence student successes are closely monitored, allowing for changes in strategic policies and practices with a focus on improving the student experience. Students learn more when they are actively involved in their education and have opportunities to apply what they are learning in a variety of real-life settings.

Engagement at Parking and Transportation Services
As with many parking departments on college and university campuses, Brockport’s Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) oversees a variety of ancillary services. In addition to administering all aspects of parking and lot maintenance, PTS has assumed the responsibility for all campus transportation services. As a first point of contact for the public, the Ray H. Conrad Welcome Center houses not only parking, but all shuttle, bike borrowing, and carsharing services. Additionally, staff is also responsible for special event parking and many driver assistance services such as lock-outs, jumps, and taking gas to people who’ve run out.

Financial constraints have limited the number of permanent staff, and PTS relies heavily on the support of student employees. While this is helpful in containing payroll expenses, more importantly, it provides work experience for our students. Student applicants go through an interview process and formal customer service and technical orientations, and are offered numerous opportunities to step into leadership roles. In addition to their regular duties of office work, cashiering, database reporting, parking and enforcement, and programming, many of our students are groomed to be student managers or campus ambassadors at college-wide events. Students also gain experience in grant research, marketing, bike repair (in coordination with a local bike shop), and program development.

To align with the college’s mission of student engagement, PTS made a conscious decision to expand service learning by reaching out to the academic division for support and assistance with various projects. Service learning helps enrich the student connection with the community while they are still in college. Through these collaborative relationships, we have added value to both our services and enriched the student experience.

The Parking Ninja Video
Our first creative collaborative experience was with several students who majored in communications. They were asked to help create and produce an educational video that could be showcased at student orientation events for a long time­—nothing too trendy or dated. Humor was used to put forth realistic parking expectations from the very start of a driver’s experience at Brockport. Watching a “Parking Ninja,” who is the main character in the video, new parents and students laugh while learning relevant information. Not only have the results been amazing, with significantly fewer citations at the beginning of this year as compared to past years, but the video has also helped change and soften our image. As an added bonus to the students’ experience creating the film, they earned college credit for their participation.

To see the video, go to YouTube.com and search “Brockport parking ninja.”

Environmental Awareness
In collaboration with the campus department of environmental service, we developed a shared student intern position. This intern had the responsibility of raising campus awareness about environmental issues and making suggestions for corrective measures. Specific to PTS, the student intern promoted alternatives to bringing a vehicle to campus and helped coordinate and promote the bike borrowing and carsharing programs. Reach has been extended to the larger community by providing assistance with the expansion of the community’s annual Walk! Bike! Brockport! event. Not only did this reduce the carbon footprint and educate the community, but it provided valuable public relations for our department.

Electronic Bicycle Administration
Arguably our most enriching relationship has been fostered with the department of computer science. Previously, the administration of our Fast Trax bike borrowing program was time consuming. All inventory tracking, membership recording, and bike use data entering was done manually and was in desperate need of greater efficiency. Students, under the direction of Professor Sandeep Mitra, developed a highly functional software system that met our needs.

This was a demanding project; according to Mitra, eight students spent about 235 hours each (1,880 total) in the development, testing, and customer interaction aspects of it. Thrilled with the outcome that would have taken us years to afford, the next phase would allow online registration of users and user access to their account, enabling them to monitor their rentals and charges.

One of the student developers involved in this project accepted a position as a developer with IBM and later told us, “I can honestly say that the Fast Trax application is what got me the job. Having real-world project experience and teamwork really sparked their interest and made it easy for me to impress them. The Fast Trax project was extremely valuable in my job hunting quest. It was the major factor that set me apart from other applicants. If possible, all computer science and specifically software development students should have the opportunity to participate in such a project. Being able to apply skills learned in previous classes into a working application for a real-world customer was extremely beneficial. This class provided vital insight into what to expect if you are looking to become a software developer in the real world.”

And Now the Challenge!
Brockport’s Parking and Transportation Services is committed to engagement and will continue to seek ways to provide our students with valuable experiences that will help them grow and be successful in their education, workplace, community and personal lives. There is no doubt we have prepared successful students and must continue to do so.

So the challenge is on. This has worked for us, and we encourage other parking leaders and managers to critically review their operations and find ways to engage students. Be part of the solution, engage, and be sure to share your successes!

Johnna Frosnini, CAPP, is administrator of parking and transportation services at The State University of New York: College at Brockport. She can be reached at jfrosini@brockport.edu or 585.395.7275.

TPP-2012-09-Fostering an Engaged Community

Light for All

TPP-2012-09-Light for AllBy Susan Pollay

This summer, the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Downtown Development Authority (DDA)
and the City of Ann Arbor held a party to celebrate the grand opening of the
new 711-space underground Library Lane parking structure. A disc jockey spun car-related tunes, a variety of vintage cars were on display, and the public was invited
to donate items for a time capsule.

Why all the festivities? Because this is one underground garage unlike any other. It’s naturally bright and light and inviting inside, and puts innovative green features to work even below grade. Four short years ago, it was just a concept waiting to take shape.

After having success with transportation programs such as free bus passes for downtown employees and squeezing as much efficiency as they could from the public parking system, the DDA was challenged to find a way to meet growing demand for downtown parking. More than 2.7 million square feet of private development had been constructed since the last public parking structure was built in the early 1980s, and the DDA’s six structures regularly filled to capacity with patrons. It was clearly time to build a new public parking structure.

More Parking Needed
In early 2008, the DDA and Ann Arbor City Council determined that the city’s South Fifth Avenue parking lot, known to locals as the “Library Lot,” was a strategic site to add additional parking. It is located midway between the bustling Main Street and University of Michigan Central Campus areas, and immediately adjacent to the downtown library, which draws more than 600,000 people through its doors every year.

In an unusual move, it was decided that the new structure should be constructed underground to enable the ground level for future private development that would add jobs and residents to the downtown. The decision was also made to make a number of utility upgrades as part of this project, to further encourage development on this and other nearby surface parking lots.

The primary goals for this ambitious project were to: Maximize below grade parking.
Build a new east-west roadway to create a more pedestrian-friendly block.
Create a welcoming parking environment that avoided the stereotypical dark and dank below grade parking experience. Design for flexibility, including the future construction of a multistory building, the addition of a public plaza, and the ability to connect below ground to adjacent properties including the downtown library.

The DDA selected the design team of Carl Walker, Inc, Luckenbach/Ziegelman Architects, and construction manager The Christman Company (TCC), to meet these goals.

The structure’s 711 underground parking spaces are complemented by an additional 52 parking spaces on the surface parking lot and along the new roadway, which was named Library Lane. The three-bay parking structure includes two side-by-side flat parking bays and a single ramped bay for vertical circulation. The wide parking modules and generous end bays allow comfortable vehicle circulation throughout the facility.

Primary parking access is located off of Library Lane. To provide fast in-and-out options, an express entry lane is located directly off of Fifth Avenue, and an express exit lane accesses Division Street to the east.

To maximize parking space, the parking garage was constructed four levels below grade and extended beneath Fifth Avenue, which is a primary downtown roadway. The underground parking structure was built in an urban location, with complexities that included a tight site with adjacent buildings, granular soils, and construction below the water table. Those challenges were met through several systems:

A temporary earth retention system was required to retain the soil loads, resist adjacent building surcharge loading, and reduce dewatering volume requirements.

A mat foundation system was designed to support a 20-story building, and was more than 10 feet thick in some locations as a result. To complete the installation of the foundation system, de-watering to a depth of up to 15 feet below the static groundwater elevation was required.

To accommodate the project schedule, TCC completed one of the largest continuous urban concrete pours in Michigan, placing more
than 5,500 cubic yards of concrete during two days in February.

An Inviting Design
Traditional underground parking structures can be intimidating. Enclosed stair towers and elevators, structural elements that reduce visibility, artificial lighting, and a lack of visual landmarks to guide pedestrians to their destinations can make the parking experience uncomfortable. We knew we didn’t want that for our structure. Furthermore, non-traditional parking structure loads, such as a future 20-story building, roadway bridges at Fifth Avenue and Library Lane, and 60 feet of soil/building surcharge, limited design flexibility.

To promote a sense of safety and security, design features included open stairways, glass-backed elevators, structural bracing, daylighting provisions that project natural light to the lowest underground level, and a creative wayfinding system that guides users to their destinations.

One of our primary goals was to make this facility as comfortable and user-friendly as reasonably possible. To that end, design features include:

Open stairways. Egress stairs in below-grade parking structures are usually fully enclosed to meet building code requirements. To meet design openness objectives, fire separation curtains were used for egress stairs, while fully open non-egress stairs were created to welcome natural light all the way to the lowest floor of the parking structure.

Glass-backed elevators. To accommodate these fire-rated glass enclosures were installed at the elevators’ exterior wall.

Structural bracing. This was used in lieu of concrete shear walls to maximize visibility.

High ceiling heights and long-span construction. Combined with side-by-side flat parking bays, the high ceiling height and long-span construction provide a surprising sense of openness and improved visibility.

Lighting. Bright, uniform white lighting was supplemented by natural light where possible.

Other architectural features. These included curved stairs with interesting stainless handrail detailing and tile landing areas; creative, themed wayfinding to guide users to their destinations; tiled pedestrian walkways that are segregated from vehicular traffic to promote safety; “light canons” above the primary pedestrian walk that project natural light onto the walking path; abundant trees and landscaping at the street level; and architecturally interesting steel and glass canopies at street level vehicle and pedestrian entrances to the parking structure.

Sustainable Design Features
Sustainability influenced important construction and project features throughout the project. Christman re-used excavated sand, recycled asphalt from the demolished surface lot, and used steel rebar with high levels of recycled content. Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials were used, and highly durable materials such as stainless steel, high-quality concrete, and concrete waterproofing will reduce long-term repair and replacement costs. All of the stormwater that falls on the site will be detained (far in excess of requirements) and the facility has a stormwater detention tank on the lowest level to control discharge.

The structure opened with six electric vehicle car charging stations in preferred parking locations. Additional conduit runs throughout the deck so it will be easy to add more units according to future demand. The structure was named a Green Parking Demonstrator Site as a result.

One day, a new development will be built on top of the Library Lane structure. But even now, we have a lengthy list of downtown employees and residents who want monthly parking permits for the new structure. The adjacent downtown library is exploring the construction of a new building that might include features such as large meeting spaces and a small auditorium, which can now be supported by hundreds of new parking spaces. The Library Lane parking structure is already helping the DDA meet its mission of strengthening the downtown area and sparking new private investment.

Susan Pollay is executive director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. She can be reached spollay@a2dda.org or 734.994.6697.

TPP-2012-09-Light for All

Man vs Machine

TPP-2012-09-Man vs MachineBy Don Monahan, P.E.

Robotic parking structures, more commonly referred to as automated vehicle storage/retrieval
systems (AVSRS), are rapidly gaining momentum and popularity. Does an AVSRS garage
make sense for you?

The first two automated vehicle storage systems in the U.S. were completed in 2002 in Hoboken, N.J. (314 spaces) and Washington, D.C. (74 spaces). It took another five years before the third one was built in New York City’s Chinatown (67 spaces). However, hundreds of these garages have been built in Europe and Asia since the 1960s, and more recently, some very large automated garages (more than 1,000 spaces) have been built in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East. Since 2007, another 25 automated garages have been built or are under construction in the U.S. (see Table 1).

There are generally two types of AVSRS designs. One type consists of separate horizontal transport devices at each level and separate vertical lifts. A vehicle enters the transfer compartment and the patron vacates the stall and activates the storage process. A door opens on the side toward the storage vault and a motorized carrier slides under the vehicle and picks it up with arms that fold onto the wheels, or the car is on a pallet that is lifted slightly and removed from the compartment. The vehicle is then carried horizontally over to a lift platform and placed on the lift. The lift moves vertically to the desired storage level and the transport device carries the vehicle into the transport aisle and down to a storage space where it is deposited in a stall. The retrieval process works in the reverse order.

The second type is called a stacker crane, which is a motorized device that runs horizontally on rails on the ground floor with the lift mechanism built into the same piece of equipment. All vertical and horizontal movements are accomplished with this single device.

Because multiple transport devices can be accommodated with the former system, it has more redundancy and more throughput capacity than the stacker crane system.

AVSRS garages are gaining a lot of attention mainly because they accommodate the same number of parking spaces in half the space of conventional ramp-access, self-park garages. This results in faster construction, so the AVSRS garage can be placed into service faster and generate revenue sooner. When the AVSRS garage is located underground (as when under a building), the savings in underground construction cost and improved efficiency of the automated garage can often offset the cost of the automated parking machinery (see Table 2).

An AVSRS garage can also offer a high degree of convenience that’s similar to automated valet parking. The vehicle is more secure in the unoccupied storage vault and less susceptible to damage, as it is parked by machines. Further, these garages can be built on sites that are too small for conventional parking structures; they occupy a much smaller footprint and allow more site area for higher and better use.

As Table 2 illustrates, the cost of an above-grade, ramp-access garage is generally less than that of an AVSRS garage, provided the site is large enough to design an above-grade, ramp-access garage at an efficiency of approximately 320 square feet per stall. As the garage efficiency approaches 450 square feet per stall—as is typical for a garage under a building—the cost of an AVSRS garage becomes much more competitive. If one is constructing a three- or four-level underground garage, it is possible with the increased efficiency of the AVSRS garage to save one or more levels. The lowest one or two levels of the underground garage are the most expensive, so the cost savings may be significant.

Note that the unit cost of the AVSRS building is slightly less than the conventional, ramp-access parking garage. This is because the AVSRS does not require mechanical ventilation as the vehicles are transported without their engines running. Also, minimal lighting is required in the unoccupied storage vault, less expensive industrial stairs can be provided, and pedestrian elevators are not required. Further, the height or depth of the AVSRS garage may be only 7 to 8 feet, compared to 10 to 11 feet for a conventional garage. Minimizing the depth is an important consideration in an underground garage where there are poor soil conditions and/or a high water table.

Operating cost is also an important consideration. Table 3 indicates the estimated operating cost per space for a minimum capacity parking structure of 200 cars with automated pay stations and no attendants.

The operating cost for the ramp access garage is based on Walker Parking Consultants’ survey of more than 150 parking structures in 20 states with a median size of 720 spaces, from 2001 to 2005. The operating costs for the AVSRS garage are based on estimated adjustments from the conventional garage operating cost, except for the maintenance cost and electric utility cost, which were obtained from two different AVSRS suppliers.

The electrical components for the automated machinery and the computer hardware and software have limited life expectancies. As new technology is developed, the original installation becomes outdated. A maintenance contract could include updating the hardware, software, and electrical components as technology improves.

Traffic Flow
The ability of the AVSRS garage to handle peak hour traffic flow is another consideration. The industry standard for maximum storage/retrieval time is 3.5 minutes from the entry/exit compartment to/from the farthest storage space. The number of transport devices and lifts must be sized to accommodate that requirement. The maximum storage/retrieval time for a four-level AVSRS garage with a capacity of up to 400 stalls with tandem parking is approximately 2.5 minutes. The average storage/retrieval time is less than two-thirds of the maximum time, resulting in an average service rate of 25 to 40 vehicles per hour per entry/exit compartment.
The number of entry/exit compartments should be sized so that the ratio of the two-way peak hour traffic volume to the aggregate average service rate of all entry/exit compartments is less than 0.7, to minimize vehicle queuing at each entry/exit.

Reliability of the AVSRS system is an important consideration. The AVSRS components include redundant devices to provide 99.96 percent reliability. If one motor is required to operate a transport device, two or more are provided. Multiple servers with backup emergency power are provided to improve reliability of the computer system. The system can be monitored remotely via the internet with a manual override feature to remotely correct minor issues. The programmable logic controllers (PLC) are the brains of the system. Each PLC has 98 percent reliability. When paired with another PLC, the reliability improves to 99.96 percent. Those redundant components make the AVSRS system very reliable.

Is an AVSRS garage right for you? Only you know the answer to that. But there’s no question that they are growing in popularity and becoming a viable option to consider.

Look for a case study on the City of West Hollywood, Calif.’s new automated garage in a future issue of The Parking Professional.

Don Monahan, P.E., is vice president of Walker Parking Consultants. He can be reached at Don.Monahan@walkerparking.com or 303.694.6622.

TPP-2012-09-Man vs Machine

Going Once Going Twice Sold

TPP-2012-09-Going Once Going Twice SoldBy Sheryl Boyd

Chapman University has used parking auctions to allocate a portion of its parking resources for the past four years. We initially implemented three separate auctions with plans to expand the system to include most core campus parking facilities. But before addressing our parking auctions, a little background information about Chapman University may be appropriate.

Chapman University is located in downtown Orange, Calif., adjacent to the historic downtown corridor. The university has approximately 3,400 parking spaces, 6,500 students, and a faculty/staff population of approximately 1,500. As on many college campuses, parking is a challenge. Keeping all our constituents parked on campus and not in front of neighbors’ homes or local businesses is difficult. So whatever parking plan the university adopts must discourage parking in the surrounding neighborhood.

Every fall semester, the university administers our Student Services Satisfaction Survey. The students rank campus services both on level of importance and how well they are satisfied with each. Parking typically ranks very high in importance but at the lower end of the scale in terms of satisfaction.

In 2005, Chapman built a two-level underground parking structure beneath the athletic field, which is centrally located among the main campus buildings. After this facility came online in 2006, student satisfaction with parking rated the highest it ever had since the inception of the survey. On a scale of one to five, parking was rated at more than four in terms of both importance and satisfaction; satisfaction before then was typically in the two to three range.

Students were able to arrive 10 minutes before class, find a parking space, and make it to class on time. That became the expectation. Even as our student, faculty, and staff populations (who all share the garage) grew, students still expected to find parking quickly.

Two years into the use of the facility, parking started to become challenging. Students sometimes circled 30 minutes waiting for desired spaces instead of parking one block away in the 725-space structure located behind the law school.

Chapman University President Jim Doti became determined to find a way to improve student satisfaction with parking using only the existing facilities. An economist by education and trade, he turned to the faculty of the Economic Science Institute (ESI) to come up with a way to provide improved parking access for those students who place a high value on close, convenient parking.

According to Professor David Porter, “We [ESI faculty] were approached by President Doti after there were complaints from both students and faculty about not being able to find parking in a reasonable amount of searching time at a close location.

Basically, there was a demand for convenient parking, but all spots in a lot were treated equally. President Doti knew of our extensive work on auctions and dynamic allocation systems and asked if we could create something for Chapman parking to help allocate convenient parking on campus.”

Raising the Gavel
As the idea of a parking auction began to take shape, the university hired a parking consultant and formed a committee of campus stakeholders to evaluate its parking plan and find a way to integrate an auction system without affecting the surrounding neighborhood. In essence, the plan had to be appealing enough to attract participation.

We started working on what would become the C-Park auction system. A website and marketing materials were created to let students know the administration understood their frustration with parking and was formulating a plan to improve satisfaction.

The initial plan was to auction 60 reserved spaces across campus along with exclusive access to a centrally-located surface lot with 125 spaces. To manage the parking facilities, controlled access systems were installed at the garages and lots that would be included in the auction. Auctions would be open to commuter students, faculty, and staff.

Bidder Paddles
Once the initial auctions were established, the type of auction format to use had to be selected. Many students were familiar with purchasing items on eBay, so the whole auction concept was not foreign. Our consultant recommended a Dutch format, or falling price auction.

Porter says, “The reason we selected this auction format was three-fold. First, we used the descending price auction (prices starting high and going lower) because we needed to know the upper end of the demand curve, since winners choose their spot based on the order of the bid (when they stopped the price). Second, this auction does not require a participant to keep checking in for the price to see when they should drop out. With a descending price auction, you need to only go in when the price approaches what you wish to pay to opt in (or place an initial bid at the price you are willing to pay and if the auction price falls below that amount, you would be a winner). It requires less vigilance on the part of the bidder. Lastly, our lab experiments show that it has excellent allocation properties with those valuing spots the most being able to get them.”

Students enter their maximum bids as soon as the auction opens, but all auction winners pay the final bid cost for their spaces—the lower the bids on spaces or the fewer students bidding, the cheaper the final cost is for everyone. The bidding starts at $1,270 for a reserved space and drops from there. The first year, a reserved space went for $480 in addition to a $250 annual parking permit fee. The second year, a reserved space went for $350 in addition to the $280 annual parking permit fee. And last year, a reserved space went for $450 in addition to the $300 annual parking permit fee. We allow the market to determine the value of a reserved space.

For the exclusive access auction, where winners received exclusive access to a gated lot but not a specific spot, the price started at $275 and dropped from there. Spaces the first semester went for a no additional fee to get everyone acclimated. The next semester, access went for a $25 additional fee.

Hammer Down
Because we needed to auction off more permits than spaces due to fluctuating schedules of students, finding the proper number that leaves a reasonable expectation of finding a space without the lot sitting empty can be tricky. We have increased the number of permits available to win in access auctions each year to keep the lot at least 85 percent full.

Our challenge the first year was marketing and educating our community on why we were implementing the system, how to participate, and what exactly a Dutch auction was. The students who participated in the auction the first year and experienced an improved parking situation expressed great satisfaction with parking. Others on campus said the auction system seemed elitist, with those having the most resources able to purchase closer parking. To mitigate this, we applied for a temporary use permit to use a lot next to our film school as a low-cost parking lot. We have auctioned off access to this option for the past two years, using the Dutch auction format with the bid price starting at $50 and no additional annual permit fee. The final bid price is typically around $10 to $15, which gives faculty, staff, and commuter students a fairly convenient, low-cost parking option for an entire academic year.

Porter offers several suggestions for other schools that are interested in using parking auctions: “We learned quite a bit. First, no one reads email from Parking or Public Safety. Only when Public Safety put tables in front of [an underground parking structure] did commuter students learn about the auctions. Second, faculty sees parking as a right. As Don Shoup said, ‘If the university is an ivory tower, parking is its moat.’ Lastly, there is an intimate connection between parking and class schedules. More classes should be scheduled off-peak and prices for parking during peak times need to increase. There is a need for more dynamic pricing for parking if one is to use the current parking resources efficiently.“

Chapman will continue to use the auction system to allocate reserved spaces on campus. As our parking landscape changes over the next few years due to a heavy cycle of construction, we hope to see the value of reserved spaces increase.

Sheryl Boyd is supervisor of parking and transportation services at Chapman University. She can be reached at sboyd@chapman.edu or 714.997.6560.

TPP-2012-09-Going Once Going Twice Sold

Taxi Hydrant Zones

TPP-2012-09-Taxi Hydrant Zones By Troy McLeod

Like many large cities, Alberta, Canada’s Calgary has a high demand for on-street, short-stay public and taxi parking space.

Calgary’s taxi industry faced changing restrictions in 2010. Taxis were no longer allowed to wait for fares at the airport, but had to move to the downtown core. At that time, there were only 61 taxi stands in the area; because there was such limited parking space for taxis, the taxi industry requested additional stands downtown. At the same time, downtown businesses requested additional on-street public parking stalls for their customers.

Approximately 6,500 tickets are issued in the downtown area each year to owners of vehicles illegally parked at fire hydrants (unoccupied vehicles pose a risk by blocking access to hydrants during emergency situations). In 2010, an additional 295 tickets were issued for vehicles illegally parked in taxi stands. This indicated that Calgary motorists were less likely to park in taxi stands than blocking fire hydrants.

The City of Calgary transportation department worked with a number of key stakeholders to investigate alternatives for providing additional parking spaces for taxis in the downtown core. These stakeholders included the taxi industry, the fire department, downtown businesses and the Downtown Business Association, the Calgary Parking Authority, city council, City of Calgary Livery Transport Services, the police department, and other city departments.

Simply adding extra taxi stalls in downtown Calgary wasn’t an option, as it would have negatively affected the number of public parking spaces in the city. With an already limited supply of on-street parking in the downtown, another solution was needed.

The Taxi Hydrant
Zone Concept

After consulting with the key stakeholders, a proposal was put forward to allow taxis to use the existing spaces next to fire hydrants instead of earmarking more valuable on-street spaces for their exclusive use. These taxi hydrant zones would allow taxis to park in these stalls while the taxi driver was actively loading, unloading, or attending to the vehicle. Once those zones were established, the existing taxi stands throughout the area could be converted into short-stay public parking spaces.

Taxi hydrant zones provide several key benefits:
Provide greater public access to taxis throughout the downtown core. Taxi drivers provide a specialized mobility option that reduces overall vehicle use and parking demand. Having better access to taxis promotes an environment conducive to attracting, retaining, and nurturing businesses.

Make efficient use of street space. Fire hydrant space is infrequently used. More effective and integrated land use improves access for the public and business community.

Increase public parking space. Converting existing taxi stands into public parking spaces frees up space and provides additional on-street parking. This can improve access to businesses by increasing accessibility for customers and boosting ease of deliveries.

Reduce the need for taxis to drive in search of customers. Taxis don’t need to drive around city streets to maintain legal occupancy status within the downtown. Less driving time means air quality is enhanced as vehicle emissions are reduced.

Better protect fire hydrants from illegal parkers. As taxis must be attended, they can easily leave a taxi hydrant space during an emergency. With taxis occupying these spaces, it is less likely that other motorists will leave unoccupied vehicles parked in these spaces.

Calgary’s Pilot Project
In May 2011, the city’s transportation department provided a report to the city council about implementing a taxi hydrant zone pilot program. Councilmembers approved the report and the pilot project was launched in June 2011, with 52 newly-established taxi hydrant zones opening in the downtown core.

Occupancy surveys were conducted over the next several months to determine how often the newly marked zones were occupied by taxis. The surveys indicated that taxis were using the new zones. Higher occupancy rates were achieved in certain areas of the downtown core than others, as the zones proved more popular close to hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The pilot project achieved its overall goal of providing additional parking and waiting areas for taxis in the downtown core without taking up paid parking space.

The taxi industry carefully complied with the rules of the new zones by ensuring that taxis were not left unattended in taxi hydrant zones. No tickets were issued under the new Unattended Taxi in Taxi Hydrant Zone Bylaw that governed the program. Happily, there was a 37 percent decrease in the number of tickets issued to illegally parked taxis in 2011 over the previous year.

Since implementing the zones, fire hydrants have been better protected from illegal parking. Within six months of implementing the program, 484 fewer tickets were issued to vehicles parked next to fire hydrants than in the same time a year prior. The Calgary Parking Authority expects this number to double by the end of 2012.

In March 2012, a report was provided to the city council that outlined the success of the pilot. A recommendation has been made to expand the taxi hydrant zone program to other areas near the downtown core.

Expanding to Other Cities
As a growing city, Calgary requires innovative parking solutions to ensure access to its citizens and businesses. The taxi hydrant zone project provided additional taxi waiting areas without sacrificing valuable on-street public parking spaces.
Other municipalities facing a high demand for on-street, short-stay public, and taxi parking space can benefit from the taxi hydrant zone concept as successfully demonstrated in Calgary.

Troy McLeod is the general manager of the Calgary Parking Authority. He can be reached at troy.mcleod@calgaryparking.com or 403.537.7010.

TPP-2012-09-Taxi Hydrant Zones

Degrees of Hilarity

TPP-2012-09-Degrees of Hilarity

THINK YOU’VE HEARD SOME GREAT STORIES from people trying to talk their way
out of tickets and fines? (We’re partial to those featured in the June issue of The Parking Professional.) Wait until you hear the best ones from higher education.

Late summer and early fall mean one big thing to parking professionals on college and university campuses: the return of hoards of students. Lines for permits, clogged online systems, telephones that seem to ring off the hook, and masses
of unpermitted cars flooding lots on move-in day can be nothing short of headache-inducing.

And then, there are the excuses. “The dog ate my homework” has nothing on some of the stories parking professionals hear from students (and the occasional professor) whose cars have been ticketed or booted. Here, we present the best ones sent in by readers of The Parking Professional.
Happy back-to-school, and enjoy!

Two years ago, we began requiring all students to use our online college portal to order permits that would then be mailed out. In each of the last two years, I received a call from a senior citizen taking a non-credit class, asking for a waiver from this policy. She wanted to order her parking permit over the phone instead of online. Her reason: she could not see well enough to order it on the computer.
Mark Pace
Parking and
Transportation Manager
Montgomery College

he was red with fury. His argument was
that we shouldn’t have caught him doing what he was doing, so he didn’t get far with us. He loudly announced that he was going to pay, and slammed a $10 bill on the counter.

But before he took his hand off of it, an idea dawned on him. He snatched the bill away and said “I’ll be right back!”

An hour later, he returned with a bag. Dumping the contents on the table with a triumphant smile, he said “Here’s your payment. Have fun counting it!”

Twenty rolls of pennies thundered onto the countertop. I lined up the rolls, counted to 20, and rolled them into my cash box. At that second, he realized his revenge should have involved taking the pennies out of the rolls.
John Thomas
Parking & Transportation Services
University of Iowa

One day, one of our parking enforcement officers (PEOs) was out writing citations when he saw a student jump out of her car and start pounding on the roof of the vehicle. He slowly walked over to her and asked if everything was alright or if he could help her with anything. She said, “I can’t get my car alarm to turn off, and I didn’t even do anything to make it turn on in the first place!”

The PEO did not hear a car alarm so he asked what alarm she was talking about. She said, “The one going off right now! That loud alarm, can’t you hear it!?” He told her, that no, he did not hear a car alarm. A minute later, the noise stopped and the student said, “There! See it stopped now!”

Our PEO said, “You mean that siren?” You see, in our city they always test the emergency sirens at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.” She looked at him again and said, “No! That was my car alarm! I swear it goes off every month for no reason!”
Elena Morten
Parking Enforcement Supervisor
The University of Texas at Dallas

Several years ago, a student’s vehicle was booted for receiving a specified number of parking tickets. Upon discovering the boot that evening, the student deflated his tire and was able to slip the claw-style boot off his rim. He ditched the boot in the woods behind the lot in which he was parked, and then called our police department (which provides motorist assistance) to fill up his tire. An unsuspecting officer showed up, filled the tire, and the student drove off. We still give the student credit for his ingenuity, but the police officer has yet to live that one down.
Bart Neu
Manager of Parking and Transportation Services University of North Carolina Wilmington

The most outrageous excuse I heard while working at Rutgers University came from a student who wanted handicap parking. His disability was acne. He actually had a physician write a note that said he was being treated for acne and therefore needed handicap parking. Luckily my office personnel questioned the note and contacted the university physician because she could not read what the young man’s doctor had written. Needless to say the student did not get handicap parking, and we formed a mobility review committee, led by the university physician, for all handicap parking requests.
Kim Jackson, CAPP
Director, Parking and Transportation Services
Princeton University

DAN SEVERN, OUR ASSISTANT MANAGER OF PARKING SERVICES, received the following note from a student who was issued a citation for not having a permit:
“Hi there. My truck was recently broken into by thieves who tried to steal my stereo. In the process of their feeble attempt, the thief failed to notice my pet ferret, Abraham Stinkin, was in the car. Upon entry via a smashed window, the thief was attacked by my loyal companion, Abraham. Somehow amidst the broken glass, ferret fur, blood, and stupidity, my rearview mirror was broken. But my ferret and stereo remained safe and unharmed. My rearview mirror remains broken so upon arrival of my spankin’ new night permit, I could only place it on my dash. On my way to the rec center that unfortunate day, I had to swerve to dodge a stray flock of house cats. When dodging those poor creatures I guess my permit must’ve slid off the dash and onto my passenger floorboards where I and your wonderful employee failed to notice it.”
June A. Broughton
Marketing Manager, Transportation Services
Texas A&M University

I fail to see how my illegal parking, which is proved by the pictures enclosed, warrants a parking ticket.

The time on the ticket is very iffy. I know it says 3:52 but the 4:00 bell had already rung in my head.

I had lost my new decal, so I decided to use my old decal just in case it would work.

I parked in somebody’s reserved space because I did not want to park in a $250 handicapped space. I should really be commended for making the better choice, shouldn’t I?

I guess I just wasn’t thinking when I parked in that reserved lot in front of the Brain Institute.

The ticket says I was parked on the grass, but I most definitely was not on the grass. I was on the dirt that used to be grass before all of the illegally parked cars parked there and wore out the grass.

I work at the Center for Exercise Science, and I parked in the service drive because it is too far to walk from the parking lot.

I couldn’t find any place to park legally, so I decided to follow the example set by other illegally parked cars.

I temporarily parked briefly outside my dorm momentarily for just a few minutes really quickly, and I wasn’t even there very long.

I know I put three quarters into the meter but only got $.75 worth of parking. What a rip!

This ticket is unfair because I was at the parking office paying $360 for other parking tickets when I received this one. What else could I have done?

The suction cups on my decal were pretty dirty, so my decal fell off. In fact, my whole truck is pretty dirty. Anyway, now the only things clean on my truck are the suction cups, so it won’t happen again.

My car was parked in front of my dorm because it was having a bathroom emergency.

I am a physician in the College of Medicine and will gladly pay your fine when you pay me my billing rate of $200 an hour. Since I drove around for 25 minutes looking for a place to park, you owe me $83. Subtract what I owe you from what you owe me, and send me a check for the difference.

I was rotated to night shift. I plead sleep deprivation and night blindness, as I was too tired to read and truly did not notice the sign that restricted use of that space.

My ex-wife is the sole owner of this car now. Impound it, please. Personally, I would find it amusing if you did. She has a university permit, you know where she works, and it would be easy enough to find.
Scott Fox
Director, Transportation & Parking Services
University of Florida

Several years ago, we discovered that a booted vehicle was gone. Somehow the driver got the boot off and left our campus. Several weeks later, we found the same vehicle on campus again and put two boots on it to keep it in place.

Our police department found the driver and brought him to the station. During the investigation, the driver vehemently denied removing the boot. His only explanation was that his friends must have removed the boot to mess with him.

The police officer checked his friends out, and they denied removing the boot. The driver kept insisting that he did not remove the boot. When the police officer asked for another explanation on how the boot was removed, he responded, “An angel must have removed it”.

As far-fetched as this explanation seemed, two weeks later the boot was found on campus, thrown up on the grass near one of our parking garages. The lock was still in place, the clamp was still tight and the extra cable we install with the boot was still in place. So I think, “An angel must have done it.”
Charles O. Smith, MABS
Parking Enforcement Manager
The University of Texas at Austin

Our school colors here at Arkansas State University are red and black. It was my first day on the job as the operations manager for parking services. I wanted to get a feel for how the officers perform their duties, so I tagged along. One of the officers wrote a citation for a truck parked in a fire lane. As we were working an area just a short distance from where this citation was written, a young man walked up to us and asked why he received that citation. We explained to the young man that he was parked in a fire lane and gave him his options. As he started to walk away, he turned back to us and said he thought that all those red curbs were just for school spirit. During the past six years, I have never heard this again.
Kirk Hicks
Parking Services Operations Manager
Arkansas State University

You can always tell what year a law student is by their reaction to a parking ticket. First-year law students think parking tickets are unconstitutional; second-year law students argue that parking tickets violate state law; and third-year law students realize they’re about to make a lot of money and just pay the fine.
John Thomas
Parking & Transportation Services
University of Iowa

I WAS DIRECTOR of parking and transit services at the University of Nebraska, and my son was a student there. He called me one day toward the end of the semester and said, “Dad, I have a lot of tickets. Can you help me out with them?”

I said, “No son—because of my position, you are probably the last person I could help out.”

Two weeks later I received another call from my son and he said, “Dad, my truck just got towed. Can you help me out and get me my truck back?” Again I said, “No son. As I have told you, I can’t just up and do favors for you.”

A few days later he called to tell me he was tired of hassling with parking and sold his truck. He purchased a bicycle so he wouldn’t get into trouble and get tickets. Because he was a resident student I thought that sounded reasonable.

The very next day I received another call from him. “Dad, do you have $50 I can borrow?”

“Sure,” I said, “What do you need it for?”

“Well” he said, “I have to pay a ticket that I just received for riding my bicycle on the sidewalk.”

The poor kid couldn’t catch a break. The story doesn’t end there though. He finally called me when classes got out for the summer a few weeks later and said, “Dad, I am really tired of people telling me what I can and cannot do, and especially bossing me around.”

I asked him what he intended on doing about that. He said, “I’ve already done it. I’ve joined the Navy.”
Tad McDowell, CAPP
Director, Parking and Transportation Services
University of Nevada Las Vegas

I received a small box full of pennies in the mail as payment for a $25 parking citation. After laughing at what it cost in postage for the customer to mail the box, I took the entire thing and dumped it into the coin counting machine. After a few seconds it read $24.99. After recounting a few times, I posted payment of $24.99 and sent the customer a bill for $0.01.
Jim Sayre, CAPP
Parking & Transportation Services
University of Iowa

A contractor was on campus working on a building project. He arrived to work as usual and parked within the project construction fencing. At the end of the workday, he arrived back at his vehicle to discover a $70 parking ticket for parking on the landscaping. During the day, the fencing around the project had been removed and his vehicle was left sitting in front of the building on the lawn. He appealed the ticket and, frankly, we thought it was such a good story, his ticket was waived!
Susan Austen
Director, Parking & Transportation Services
University of Calgary

Once while I was working at the counter, a dad who happened to be a high school principal came in and asked for a copy of all of the tickets his daughter accrued during the fall semester. I complied. It took awhile—she had nearly $300 in tickets. When I asked what he was thinking of doing with all of those tickets, he replied “I am wrapping them up and putting them under the Christmas tree.” That got a big smile out of me.
Carol Leinhauser
Parking & Transportation Services
University of Iowa

TPP-2012-09-Degrees of Hilarity

America’s Parking Lot

TPP-2012-09-America's Parking LotBy Kim Fernandez

filmmaker Jonny Mars was tending bar in Texas in 2006 and talking smack with a longtime customer about football. The trash-talk wasn’t about the game itself, though. It was about the best way to watch.

“I’d never been to a game at Texas Stadium,” says Mars of the Dallas Cowboys’ home. “I think football is easier to watch and follow on TV. I was tending bar and one of my regulars came in and told me I wasn’t doing it right, and that
I had to go to a game. But I also had to get there four hours early and tailgate.”

They made a bet, bought tickets for a game, got there early, and wandered around the parking lot filled with revelers. After about two hours, Mars’ buddy introduced him to the locally infamous Gate 6 Tailgaters, with their $10,000 grilling trailer and their booming chants and cheers and the traditions they’d stuck to over some 18 years tailgating together—every home game, every season.

Mars felt something inside him stir. He knew the stadium was scheduled for demolition and that things would have to change for these guys. Just like that, because of a barroom bet, the next five years of his life were decided.

“I’d been to tailgates before,” he says. “But I saw 30 or 40 years of traditions that had blossomed in that parking lot. My hair stood up on end. I had never seen anything like this, and I was blown away. The fact that it was going to go away was an inherent conflict. I decided right then to document the last season and a half.”

The independent film, “America’s Parking Lot,” was conceived. Mars knew he had a great story to tell with the group of 30-plus tailgaters who’d not missed a game together since 1988. But he didn’t foresee the turn that would earn critical acclaim and give a movie about a parking lot a solid audience at film festivals and a chance for widespread distribution.

Making a Movie
Cy Ditmore makes a living selling computer equipment and software to school districts. But his real life is out in the parking lot during football season. It’s his mega trailer the Gate 6 Tailgaters feast from before every home game, and he’s the guy who secured them the same spot for every game years ago. The film focuses on him and tailgating partner Stan “Tiger” Shults over four years in the parking lot.

The Cowboys know Ditmore and the media knows him; he’s been sought out many times for interviews before big games. But he wasn’t sure what to make of a film director when Mars first asked if he could make a movie about the tailgate.

“He was very nice about it,” says Ditmore of Mars. “He came up and said this fascinated him, and that he made movies. I kind of went, ‘Sure, whatever,’ but the next game came and lo and behold, he showed up again.”

This year marks—as he puts it—Ditmore’s “24th year with the Cowboys.” He wasn’t so sure a movie about tailgating had a real market, but he and Shults agreed to be filmed and went about their business when Mars showed up with cameras. Things were going along swimmingly when a bomb dropped that changed just about everything.

In 2007, the Cowboys announced that season ticket holders would have to purchase “personal seat licenses” (PSLs), at a cost of up to $150,000 on top of their actual ticket prices. On top of that, rumors started flying that there would be no tailgating allowed at the new stadium. For Ditmore, Shults, and their tight-knit crew, it was devastating.

“There’s not a lot at stake in America that’s life or death,” says Mars. “Most of us don’t have those worries or those fears. That doesn’t mean you can’t experience loss. This decision was tragic to those guys. This was ripping apart a family.”

“Everybody was upset,” says Mars. “No one wanted to leave that parking lot. Some of those guys had been in the same spaces for 30 years.”

“America’s Parking Lot” takes an in-depth look at what those decisions meant for run-of-the-mill fans, breaking down the cost of football and what rising costs and prices have meant for working-class families who want to go to games. The film follows the Gate 6 Tailgaters through the last game at Texas Stadium and into the first two seasons at the new Cowboys Stadium, when Ditmore and Shults were assigned parking spaces at almost exact opposite ends of the huge campus (they, happily, were reunited with the rest of their regular crew in one lot after the first season thanks to Ditmore’s intervention with team management). It also shows the neighborhood that forms in the hours before football games, out in the parking lot.

“People joke about it, but this is a family,” says Ditmore. “One of the guys who hooked up with us after we moved to Cowboys Stadium has become one of my dearest friends—him and his wife and his beautiful family. They are moving today to Minnesota for a job. I was depressed all day yesterday, and I’ve delayed calling him today. We’ve all been through births and deaths and weddings, and people in our little neighborhood have passed away. It’s a very close-knit group.”

Mars says that’s the part that made his hair stand up on end during his first visit in 2006, even before there was drama over PSLs and parking lot restrictions. The community that had been born in that lot, he says, was the original story he planned to tell.

“People take painstaking care to re-create their living rooms in the middle of that parking lot,” he says. “There’s a lot of effort that goes into those La-Z-Boys and big-screen TVs I’ve seen refrigerators out there. The only thing I haven’t seen is a washer and dryer.”

He’d never put a lot of thought into the tailgating phenomenon before his first Cowboys game, but says now that it makes perfect sense.

“People want to be out there,” he says. “The parking lot gives you a surface, but there are no walls. It’s indicative of American culture—we spend too much time behind closed doors in front of computers. I know I never have the opportunity to get out as much as I want. Latching on to these people in parking lots is a way to connect with people. It’s funny how connected we are electronically, but how disconnected we are physically. These parking lots, you can bring your family out there. There’s so much room.”

Ditmore agrees. “This started out in the very beginning with you opening your trunk and getting out a cooler full of beverages and maybe a bucket of chicken or something,” he says. “The first couple of years after Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys, the city of Irving had a no-open-flame policy. You couldn’t cook at the stadium, so you had to bring food you’d made the night before. It was very simple.”

Ditmore was assigned to Gate 6 after his first two years of regular tailgating. Soon after, the rules changed.

“Jerry Jones went to the Irving City Council and said he wanted his fans to be able to tailgate. He got the ordinance changed. And we started meeting people a little here and four cars away, and it grew. Has it gotten out of hand? Probably, but I enjoy doing it. We have a faithful group of people.”

Mars says he felt bonded to them over their dedication.

“These guys pour an incredible amount of time and money into tailgating. It will never give anything back to them in economic value. It’s an endless black hole,” he says.

That said, he understands. “They get emotional value out of it,” he continues. “They get these relationships. I wanted to build a mirror for those guys and try to understand what tailgating meant to them. This was clearly a family, whether they were related to the people next to them or not.”

At the Credits
By the end of filming in 2010, the Gate 6 Tailgaters had settled into their new home in Lot 4 of Cowboys Stadium. Ditmore says they now get about 25 guests who come to games just to tailgate and never enter the stadium.

“My trailer has satellite TV,” he says. “They sit in the lot and watch the game and watch over our stuff. And then some of the guys you’d have to shoot to keep out of that stadium.” All seems well, but that doesn’t mean they don’t miss their old home.

“I miss Texas Stadium,” he says. “I don’t miss the physical building so much, but I had 20 years of experience over there. I spent 20 years in that parking lot, and it’s not just tailgating. It’s my friends and my family there.”

He still won’t watch video of the stadium’s implosion, turning his head away at film viewings and other events when it’s on the screen. And he still leads the Gate 6 Tailgaters, who still go by that name.

“That’s what we’re known as,” he says. “That’s what the Cowboys know us as. The Dallas Cowboys didn’t change their name to the Irving Cowboys when they moved. I put a note out to our email group thinking there would be pressure to change the name, and I didn’t get one piece of positive feedback about that. We are who we are.”

The film opened in Dallas to rave reviews earlier this year. Mars says he’s signed on with a distributor to distribute it by video on demand in November and streaming after that. At press time, he was in talks with a major network to air it in early 2013, and planning an 11-city viewing tour in Texas.

“The film has exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways,” he says. “I thought we’d be going into that parking lot and selling DVDs out of my trunk. I knew someone would want to see it.”

And for his part, the independent filmmaker says his view of watching football has changed, but his opinion of that stadium parking lot has been turned upside down.

“It’s funny how a space becomes a home without walls,” he says. “It doesn’t need walls. It doesn’t need roofs. It’s an open space. It’s a parking lot. But these guys bring the walls and the roof with them. It’s a foundation, and that’s a metaphor for a parking lot. It’s a solid surface that this group of people used as a foundation to create a home.”

For more information, visit www.AmericasParking

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

TPP-2012-09-America’s Parking Lot

Between the Lines

TPP-2012-09-Between the LinesBy Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP

Conventional wisdom says the first rule of parking in an off-street parking facility is: park your car within the lines of the marked parking stall. However this was recently found not to necessarily be true. In Gilmore vs. Maryland, the Maryland Court of Appeals literally gave a convicted drug felon a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Gilmore parked in the private lot of a liquor store that was under surveillance by the police in a high drug trafficking area. He backed his car into a parking stall straddling the line, thus occupying two parking spaces, and then entered the liquor store. Gilmore’s parking activity was observed by a police officer on surveillance duty. The officer waited 10 minutes for Gilmore to exit the liquor store and then confronted him, asking why he’d parked that way.

Gilmore said he wasn’t aware that he had parked over the line. The officer requested his driver’s license and vehicle registration, which were handed over. While running the driver’s credentials check, the officer observed that Gilmore kept putting his hands in his pockets. Based on Gilmore’s body language and fearing for his safety, the officer asked if he had a weapon. Gilmore stated he had a knife in his jacket pocket.

The officer patted down Gilmore, intending to temporarily hold the knife. On its way out of a pocket, the knife hooked a clear plastic bag containing a leafy substance. A field test confirmed the substance was marijuana. Gilmore was arrested and a more thorough search resulted in the discovery of another bag of marijuana and 16 bags of crack cocaine.

Prior to trial, Gilmore’s attorney filed a motion attempting to have the drug evidence thrown out as a result of an unlawful search. The attorney argued that straddling the line in a parking lot was not a municipal or state parking violation, and if it was, it did not constitute a motor vehicle stop that allowed a search. The trial judge denied the motion. Gilmore went to trial, and was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Gilmore appealed his conviction to the Appeals Court and again argued that the stop and search by the police officer for a non-enforceable parking violation was unconstitutional. A review revealed that the officer testified that he could not specify any municipal ordinance or state traffic law that prohibited parking over the line in a parking lot. The officer testified that in the police academy he was taught that taking up two parking spaces was a parking violation. He further testified that taking two parking spaces was illegal and the same as double parking. The trial transcript confirmed that Gilmore’s attorney argued that neither city ordinances nor Maryland code prohibited parking in more than one spot.

The appeals prosecutor argued that Maryland Statute 21-1003(a) states, “a person may not park a vehicle at any other place where parking is prohibited by an official sign.” The appeals prosecutor argued that the stall line marking a parking space constituted an official parking sign.

The court rejected the appeals prosecutor’s argument that Gilmore disregarded a parking sign and was lawfully detained for a parking violation. It also noted that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to distinguish what type of traffic violation is an appropriate reason to stop and search an individual or their vehicle. But the court ruled, “The officer who detained Gilmore in the parking lot did so under the mistaken belief that there was a statutory authority which made it illegal to park one’s vehicle straddling a line on the pavement… Because a lawful detention cannot be predicated upon a mistake of law, the evidence obtained during the ensuing encounter should be suppressed.” Gilmore’s drug conviction was reversed and he was released from prison.

IPI members need to check their rules, regulations, ordinances, and state statutes to be certain that parking over the line or taking two parking spaces is, in fact, an enumerated enforceable parking offense.

Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP, is the principle of Bier Associates. He can be reached at lenbier@optonline.net or 732.828.8864.

TPP-2012-09-Between the Lines

On Parking Discussions and Innovation

TPP-2012-09-On Parking Discussions and InnovationBy Joseph P. Sciulli

Highway Administration’s white paper, Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing: A Primer (see p. 46 in that issue), which was presented at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo. The paper’s stated purpose is to “encourage discussion and innovation within the parking field.” We welcome this input, as discussion and innovation have been significant hallmarks of the parking industry for a long time.

The International Parking Institute (IPI) was founded in 1962 precisely so parking professionals could come together, share ideas, and advance the industry. This strong tradition of professional dialogue is confirmed by the many state and regional parking associations and the growth of parking organizations, conferences, and publications worldwide.

Many who read this are of an age to appreciate how our industry changed with the introduction of computerized ticket processing systems, electronic meters, handheld ticketwriters, and pay-on-foot machines. However, the relatively recent introduction of cell phone/smartphone, remote sensing, and new lighting technologies may indeed be the biggest changes to the industry yet.

Why and how parking managers choose to apply these new technologies to improve customer convenience and enhance parking and traffic management in the future will certainly benefit from professional exchanges and consulting input early in the process. This will help to avoid mistakes, pitfalls, and unintended consequences down the road.

For instance, cell phone payment technology provides the ability to extend on-street parking durations, but is curb turnover truly served as a result? Likewise, could pricing on-street parking to achieve a desired occupancy rate ultimately be counterproductive to merchants, who desire convenient and economically priced short-term parking for their customers? Also, while directed enforcement focusing on high-violation areas is another new possibility, would its practice divert attention to an underlying problem of improperly regulated streets?

In light of the above cautions, and as our industry continues to apply emerging technologies (as it always has), I invite on-street parking managers to consider the following questions and suggestions before applying any new technology:

Do you know your parking activity indicators? Are you spending enough time in the field? Have you dedicated staff to collecting and analyzing parking activity, ticket processing, and collection data? Have you actually collected parking data yourself, even the old fashioned way—with paper and pencil? These indicators are the blood pressure, pulse, and temperature of your parking management program.

Once you can answer ”yes” to the above questions, determine which indicators to use before implementing something new. If you lack knowledge of your system’s performance before implementation, how will you know the true value and effectiveness of a new technology?

If you think defining success as achieving a desired meter occupancy rate is sufficient, you’re wrong. Parking turnover and duration indicators are equally important, and the percent of optimum meter turnover is essential.

Are you measuring parking safety and service zone performance in your data collection process? These indicators expose the public safety and economic development conditions (for better or worse) affected by your program.

Never forget: any one indicator examined apart from the others does not tell the whole story. Assessing each indicator in light of the others and versus industry norms will never steer you wrong.

Never confuse measures of operational efficiency (tickers per officer and capture rates) with those of program effectiveness (turnover, compliance, and availability).

Finally, listen to your parking customers! They could know more about their parking problems and possible solutions than you think.

For more information on parking industry norms and data collection, refer to Chapter 4, Parking Surveys of IPI’s Parking 101—A Parking Primer.

Joseph P. Sciulli is vice president and senior operations consultant, CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc., and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at joseph.sciulli@chancemanagement.com or 215.564.6464.

TPP-2012-09-On Parking Discussions and Innovation