Tag Archives: TPP-2012-10-

Where Mobility Meets Facility

TPP-2012-10-Where Mobility Meets FacilityBy Joachim Hauser

As the director of mobility for BMW, I am often asked, “Why did BMW, a German premium car manufacturer, become a Titanium Launch Partner of the United States-based Green Parking Council (GPC)?” There are many facets to the answer and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the thought process for readers of The Parking Professional magazine.

BMW has long taken responsibility for the environment, reducing carbon dioxide emissions of our cars; the company has been awarded the title of most sustainable car manufacturer in the world by J.D. Power for the past seven years. In addition to our dedication to sustainability, the U.S. market has historically been one of the largest and most important for BMW. With a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, S.C., we are also a U.S.-located car company.

The GPC is a 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to making parking facilities into more sustainable, environmentally responsible assets. GPC is dedicated to expanding green parking practices by developing open-source standards for the parking industry.

It is important to understand BMW’s plans for the future, especially with regard to sustainability and what that has to do with parking. When I participated in the first GPC Innovation Salon earlier this year, I told the audience that we at BMW see the GPC as the place where sustainable mobility meets sustainable facility.

BMW is proactively looking at urban markets where our customers are living in increasing numbers and, as such, we are engaged in the emerging field of mobility services. BMW Mobility Services is available for all customers—not only BMW drivers—who seek greater mobility in urban environments. Through our efforts, we see that major changes and trends in the future of global urban mobility and parking facilities in our cities are a very crucial part of this landscape.

As BMW sees itself first as a responsible mobility company, by necessity it also sees as its primary task active involvement in a complex and networked process of conducting future-oriented research for the benefit of all. BMW’s Institute for Mobility Research (IFMO) deals on an interdisciplinary basis with mobility in the broadest sense. In the framework of new international research, entitled Mobility Cultures in Megacities, IFMO focuses on mobility patterns in megacities worldwide.

Our IFMO research indicates that nearly 60 percent of all people worldwide now live in urban environments—megacities—and this number is steadily rising. Customers require more and more convenience and flexibility. This demand will be fulfilled by a new dimension of mobile connectivity and technological integration. Getting from point A to point B is something people today achieve through the help of a car and its on-board navigation or by using public transport. In parallel, smartphones are becoming the current general platform for a variety of apps designed to make mobility in the urban environment easier and more convenient.

The Future
In the coming years, the bandwidth of this mobile network will jump in dimensions never before imagined. This urban mobile connectivity is and will be the basis for a totally new generation of business models. We easily switch our phones from one wi-fi network to the next. Cars in the future will do this by working with the user to learn which businesses they patronize and automatically connecting with these services. Vehicles in the future will be an ever-growing part of this emerging intelligent mobility network.

As a result of growth, megacities will continue to experience greater governmental
regulations around sustainability and green policies. Mobility customers will have to adapt to these regulations and they will frequently do this by using the latest technologies and new urban mobile services.

Through further data collected at IFMO, we have seen changing behavioral patterns in the market and have determined, for example, that car use among young people has decreased dramatically in the U.S. We believe customer behaviors will continue to change and have already seen that customers are requiring more from their automobile and mobility providers, including convenience, fast service, and reliability. We want to respond to these changes now and in the future.

While the changes BMW has undergone and is undergoing are greater than I can share in this space, I can say that BMW and other car manufacturers are experiencing great evolution in the realm of sustainable mobility. Not long ago, a car manufacturer could develop and produce cars with a pure focus on driving pleasure and sell these cars as state-of-the-art, but now that is only part of the equation. In the immediate future, we will find it necessary to work within the framework and conditions of the urban centers where people live. To do this well, we must design and influence these very conditions to make greater mobility possible for our customers.

The desire to respond to what our customers need has led us to break free from the constraints of being purely a car manufacturer; BMW also strives to be the leading provider in the world for premium mobility and sustainability services.

In 2007 we founded “Project i” which focuses not only on offering automobiles for megacities, but also on the future of mobility. BMWi recently rolled out two premium mobility services: DriveNow, a car sharing program, and ParkNow, a parking space booking application. Both programs launched in the San Francisco area with more cities to follow in the near future.

Beginning in 2013, BMW will roll out the first megacity vehicles, the I-3 and I-8. The I-3 is entirely and purposefully designed for megacities: it is a pure electric car with a strong yet lightweight carbon fiber body produced in a very sustainable way. The I-8 is similar with a subtle hint of sports car. These urban vehicles will continue growing BMW’s mobility services.

In the future, we expect modern cars like these to move into green parking garages where people can charge their electric vehicles, drop or share their cars, or take other mobility services out of the facility. These exchanges will take place on smartphones and connected cars and will revolve around the green parking garage as the central hub for mobility in urban areas. Parking, therefore, is an essential and growing part of the game.

The Partnership
The GPC, like BMW, has taken initiative for recognizing and developing environmentally conscious, sustainable business practices. Parking locations such as the IPI Award of Excellence-winning Canopy Airport parking facility in Denver and Garage at Post Office Square in Boston are excellent practical examples of green parking, showing that sustainability and good business can be two sides of the same coin.

BMW benefits from its active participation in the GPC and GPC’s certified green garage program will also improve through exchanging knowledge and ideas. It is easy to see how in the future, concepts such as the ease of finding and getting to the parking spot while consuming the lowest amount of energy and reducing vehicle emissions could be a part of the green garage certification. Easily finding parking spaces and reducing the polluting search process is something we are interested in, and we believe this aligns GPC green garages with services such as ParkNow.

Similarly, the fact that the availability of EV-charging stations is an essential part of the emerging GPC Certified Green Garage certification program is important for BMW’s electric vehicles program. Electric premium car sharing is found in DriveNow in San Francisco and was developed with green parking principles in mind.

As a member of the GPC, BMW is very much committed to being a part of this movement. We look forward to bringing in our knowledge and experience as we continue to discuss how to make parking garages, not only more green, but also a more sustainable part of urban living.

Joachim Hauser is director of mobility services of BMW and a member of the Green Parking Council Board of Directors. He can be reached at Joachim.Hauser@bmw.de or 49.176.601.53534.

TPP-2012-10-Where Mobility Meets Facility

Set Adrift

TPP-2012-10-Set AdriftBy Jasper Mulder

With real estate at a premium, especially in crowded city centers, developing new parking lots and garages is becoming increasingly difficult. Obstacles to potential locations include financial viability, planning procedures, environmental considerations, and infrastructural implications. New solutions have to be found, and in the Netherlands, floating and mobile parking lots are one possibility.

Docklands International B.V., founded in 2005, has worked to changed the mindset from fighting against the water, to living with the water when it comes to new parking structures.

Innovations in floating foundations have made water a realistic option for building space for different purposes. This presents new temporary or permanent opportunities for fast and effective parking solutions wherever needed. In addition, planning procedures for temporary developments tend to be less complicated than for permanent parking facilities.

The Basics
The foundation of a floating parking structure consists of a concrete and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam sandwich with a lightweight floor. The building system for floating bases allows for on-shore construction and assembly of prefab components without a traditionally-required dry dock. An average floating car park of three stories requires 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) of water to stay afloat. The local fluctuations of the water level define the costs for the entrance and exit. There are extra procurements for sediment transport so they will never affect the water quality.

Floating parking lots are dynamic in terms of location and are easy to move to different places. Therefore, a floating car park could be a solution for events such as the Olympic Games, where the need for extra temporary parking places is dramatic. The possibility of moving a floating car park from location to location makes it a profitable option, especially near a large waterfront area.

City Applications
Urbanization and climate change put enormous pressure on the world’s growing cities. Of all the cities with populations of 1 million, 89 percent are on various forms of waterfronts. This can pose a serious problem for growth: cities have to build backward into the land when the waterfront gets crowded. In addition, rising water can take away real estate from already crowded metropolises.

The needs of a city can be answered with floating urban components such as islands for housing, offices, leisure, infrastructure, and parking lots. Configuration, location density, and function can be changed. This will lead to new economic opportunities, where governments can cost-effectively lease islands with flexible solutions, instead of investing in static developments. If every waterfront city was to expand by only 5 to 10 percent over urban waters, it would still bring enormous change in the flexibility and density of these cities

These dynamic developments, including floating apartment complexes, floating cruise terminals, floating parking lots, and even floating energy plants, will leave no scars after their lifespan.

In Practice: Maldives
The theories are being put into practice through a joint venture between the government of the Maldives and Dutch Docklands. This partnership will develop 80 million square feet of floating projects.

The Maldives is a popular tourist destination that is strategically located in the middle of emerging markets. There are bright blue skies, pristine seas, year-round sunshine, fresh ocean breezes, and fantastic snorkeling and diving lagoons. It is one of the world’s most exclusive holiday destinations with high occupancy figures and a very high percentage of returning visitors. The Maldives have a total land area of just 298 square kilometers (115 square miles), and the island’s natural beauty together with the lack of construction space make this destination premium priced among international real estate investors.

Currently in development is the Five Lagoons Property, which will include a floating 18-hole golf course, villas and townhomes, and floating private islands owners can customize with any development they choose. Of course, this will also include floating parking. The development is expected to begin sales this month with construction starting soon after.

A floating parking lot in Tokyo has become both a much-used amenity and a tourist attraction, with people driving the bridge to it just to say they’ve done it. Other cities have also begun exploring the concept. It’s an intriguing idea, and we’re looking forward to seeing if it becomes a trend in waterfront cities.

Jasper Mulder is general manager of Dutch Docklands Maldives. He can be reached at jaspermulder@dutchdocklands.com.

TPP-2012-10-Set Adrift

Diamond Outside the Ballpark

TPP-2012-10-Diamond Outside the BallparkBy Art Noriega

As is true near many major league baseball stadiums, community concerns about parking convenience and availability at the new Miami Marlins Park ran high before opening day this spring. Skepticism subsided quickly once the season was underway, thanks to advance research and planning by the Marlins organization and parking facility management by the Miami Parking Authority.

As baseball fans streamed into the gleaming new Miami Marlins ballpark for the season opener on April 4, they experienced the lavish features of the $515 million stadium in South Florida. Passing through the live entertainment in the art-dotted plaza, they enjoyed cuisine from an array of Latin-influenced food vendors, two 24-foot aquariums flanking home plate, and a colorful sculpture by artist Red Grooms that explodes with movement after every home run. Towering over it all was the facility’s signature element: a massive retractable roof that opened shortly before game time to reveal the moon and stars above.

The evening was the culmination of years of negotiation and planning by Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, and the Marlins organization. After many seasons of playing in Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, the Marlins sought to move to a new, purpose-built facility. Miami’s antiquated Orange Bowl stadium was demolished and construction of Marlins Park began in its place in 2009.

Starting with a clean slate gave planners the opportunity to think and rethink the use of the new stadium site. Whereas the old Orange Bowl had 70,000 seats and only 3,500 parking spaces, Marlins Park seats 37,000 fans and can accommodate 5,700 vehicles in four garages and six surface lots. Additional parking in the surrounding neighborhood and trolley-accessed lots accommodate demand during peak attendance.

The property’s four garages are designated for use by season ticket holders and all other prepaid parking customers. Planners gave strong consideration to wayfinding during the design process. Strategically located on the four corners of the site, each garage has a unique themed name (First Base, Home Plate, Third Base, and Center Field) and color scheme that is reflected in garage banners, flags, and signage.

Though there are no reserved spaces in the garages, each user is assigned to a specific garage to reduce traffic flow. Parking voucher colors correspond to the garage colors. Parking staff use handheld units to quickly verify parking vouchers upon entry, reducing congestion and facilitating egress at garage entrances.

The Miami Parking Authority worked closely with the Miami Police Department to design and standardize the traffic flow to each garage so prepaid parkers could easily learn the routes to their designated garages. Public transportation routes were designed to avoid vehicular traffic routes where possible.

The stadium’s four garages were developed specifically for special event parking, with broad ramps to accommodate heavy traffic flow both entering and exiting. Elevators and stairwells were designed to handle heavy foot traffic. On the ground level, 53,000 square feet of retail space fronts the major thoroughfares. At press time, the Miami Parking Authority was working with commercial real estate firm Terranova to identify restaurant and retail tenants to connect with the surrounding community and serve area residents year-round.

Under the revenue-sharing agreement, the city of Miami receives all income from retail space rentals as well as all non-game day parking infrastructure. The Marlins buy all of the garage spaces on days they play, and resell the spaces at higher rates.

As with any similar public-private undertaking, the project endured its share of controversy leading up to opening day. One lightning rod of criticism was a perception that the transportation and parking system designed to serve the park was inadequate. In response, the Marlins and Miami Parking Authority identified additional satellite parking locations and devised trolley routes to serve them. Miami-Dade Transit also bolstered the options available to patrons by creating a new shuttle service from a nearby Metrorail station.

Another concern came from residents of the Little Havana neighborhood, who began to voice their anxiety about game-day traffic jams and their own parking rights. These residents were accustomed to heavy traffic in the old Orange Bowl days and even profited by selling parking in their own front yards. Marlins Park hosts upwards of 81 home games per season (compared to eight to 10 football games per year at the Orange Bowl), as well as various special events all year. Residents faced having their streets cleared of all on-street parking on game days, and would be forced to move their own cars as part of that.

The Miami Parking Authority developed an intensive communications program to reach out to residents on a one-on-one basis, explain their parking options, and ensure that all affected residents were issued parking decals that enabled them to park in front of their own homes on non-game days and in designated lots on game days. Dozens of residents attended a community open house hosted by the authority to educate them about the parking system. All five local TV stations and several print publications covered the event.

The authority developed positive messages that emphasized progress towards addressing the communities’ concerns, and used social media channels that included Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to get those messages out. It then partnered with the Marlins to develop a special parking and transportation page on the team’s website that was regularly updated as new travel options became available.

All messaging encouraged fans to arrive early at the park to acquaint themselves with the property. Fans, to their credit, listened and healthy crowds arrived at the park up to two hours before game time. Community concerns about gridlock and chaos subsided after the first few games, and subsequent media coverage has rarely mentioned transportation or parking in anything but a positive light. Fans arrive happily at Marlins Park not just by auto, but by foot, bike, Metrorail, and trolley.

Teamwork is as important in parking management as it is in baseball. Working together, the Miami Parking Authority, Miami-Dade County, and the City of Miami showed that that good planning and communication can overcome a tide of negative perceptions. Play ball!

Art Noriega is CEO of the Miami Parking Authority. He can be reached at anoriega@miamiparking.com or 305.579.4910.

TPP-2012-10-Diamond Outside the Ballpark

Reach the Beach

TPP-2012-10-Reach the BeachBy Ken Stewart

If you fly into San Juan, Puerto Rico for IPI’s Latin Parking Conference & Expo, Dec. 9-12 (latin.parking.org), from the north during daylight hours, the view from the plane will be of sandy beaches, high rise hotels, and condos. Just to the north of the city, you’ll have a spectacular view of El Castillo San Felipe del Morrow (El Morro), which is a 450-year-old Spanish fort at the entrance to San Juan Harbor.

Since explorer Ponce de Leon landed in San Juan around 1508, the island has been fought over and occupied several times. The U.S. wrestled it away from Spain in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, and today, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S.

Puerto Ricans carry U.S. passports and use American dollars as the only local currency. There are 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico, each having at least one U.S. Postal Service Zip code. The capital city of San Juan boasts a population of about 2 million people, which is almost half the island’s population of about 4 million people. The island is only 111 miles wide east to west and 39 miles long at the longest point north to south. It’s not the largest island in the Caribbean, but the tropical climate and the varied atmosphere lures thousands of tourists to the Island of Enchantment each year.

Visitors will find small towns and modern cities, pristine beaches, world-class resorts, old-world historic sites, and local art galleries to occupy their time. If shopping is on a vacation agenda, San Juan boasts the largest indoor mall in the Caribbean. Other retail outlets run from Wal-Mart to Gucci to small independent shops and outlet malls.

Puerto Rico reflects a proud culture of native-born locals who are passionate about their heritage and not shy about sharing their views on current events or political campaigns. You will find a jewel in the Caribbean when you visit Puerto Rico. What you might not easily find, though, is a parking space.

Some years ago, a study suggested that for every 40 registered vehicles in Puerto Rico, there is one public parking space. If you rent a car, you may find that the ratio feels more like 100 vehicles to each available space. As is true in many cities in Latin America, when parking time limits are not in place and enforced, the prime on-street parking spaces are usually occupied by employees working downtown.

Although principal streets in the larger cities are adequate for traffic and on-street parking, many are narrow and difficult to traverse in the best of conditions. Combine too many cars with too many people and the problem multiplies. Attempts to modernize and improve this have proven difficult. Outsiders may look at the traffic and parking conditions and criticize the way that many municipalities mostly fail to address the situation, but there are no easy answers to the parking issues here.

It’s Complicated
As mentioned earlier, there are far too many cars and far too few parking spaces, but the car-to-space ratio is just the tip of the iceberg. While there are a number of parking garages, many of them are often fully occupied. Almost since the first automobile rolled off the boat and onto the island, there has been no charge for parking on the street. Puerto Rico, like many Latin American countries, must deal with a culture that is bigger than the parking issue in every city and town on the island. That culture says, “I can park anywhere I can find an open space because the streets belong to the people.”

While most cities and towns have some active legislation on the books to govern on-street parking in urban areas, very few actually make parking a priority. Many standard parking codes exist but are mostly ignored. Motorists often park at will in yellow zones or in front of driveways, alley entrances, and bus stops. It’s not unusual to see a car parked alongside the curb on a major street blocking one of two travel lanes, causing cars to merge during rush hour. Obviously, this slows traffic and creates chaos, but no one seems to notice and motorists just seem to take it in stride. It is also not unusual to see cars parked facing the opposite direction of traffic.

Under varying circumstances, several entities can write parking code violations. The state police can write parking tickets almost anywhere and the Department of Transportation has an enforcement arm as well, but it’s the municipal police that are mostly tasked with parking enforcement. That said, the police are not encouraged to write those tickets.

To be fair, most municipalities are understaffed when it comes to their police forces and most officers do not want to write tickets, especially in small towns. Everybody knows everybody and the local merchants have a good story to tell. Some merchants often complain to police and elected officials that issuing parking tickets to residents will hurt their business. Some customers complain that they won’t return to shop in the downtown area for fear of receiving a citation. After all, the streets belong to the people!

Some merchants who are uneducated in the advantages of controlled parking turnover are often the first to complain about enforced parking time limits because they can no longer park their own cars in front of their businesses without being harassed by enforcement personnel writing tickets.

Political campaign planks have actually been based on whether parking fees will change and enforcement will be implemented or rescinded for on-street parking. It’s important to note that unemployment is high and median income is low. Many residents see paid on-street parking as another unwanted and unfair tax.

Another aspect of the parking issue is how citations will be processed, maintained, and tracked through the collection or adjudication process. Most municipalities don’t have the facility or personnel to implement a program even if they wanted to do it.

There is a process by which a municipality can enter into an agreement with the Department of Transportation to have the Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas (DTOP) try to process the data and deny renewal of auto licenses until payment is made. Unfortunately this is not a foolproof system.

Most municipalities would encounter various difficulties if attempting to issue and collect parking citations in the traditional methods employed in the U.S. Ticketing is a non-starter in Puerto Rico—it’s been tried and was a complete failure. The problem is that even though registered owners’ names and addresses were obtained from DTOP, nearly 80 percent of mailed notices were returned due to insufficient address information. Of the remaining 20 percent, almost none responded with payment.

Most residents believe that getting a municipal parking citation and having to pay that fine are two different issues. To hazard a guess, maybe 10 percent would actually end up paying that ticket. The average would be higher with tickets issued by the state police or DTOP.

While some cities do actually have booting and towing legislation on the books, most never enforce those laws, especially in an election year. Booting has been tried in some areas but there is no known legislation that addresses the issue of a motorist removing a boot from the car on the street or having the car towed to a location where the boot can be removed at his or her leisure. So far, it doesn’t appear that any city has addressed that issue.

Budgetary considerations certainly play a part in a municipality’s reluctance to implement an on-street parking program. However, the larger issue with city government is earmarking scarce city funds for a very unpopular program that would undoubtedly challenge a culture that has prevailed since the introduction of automobiles to the island.

There is some light at the end of the parking tunnel though. To date, several cities including San Juan have opted to implement a privatized on-street parking program using off-island expertise and investor capital. A few city governments have realized the need to turn over the parking in central business districts, but there are still implementation issues to be faced.

Fortunately, some city governments are beginning to recognize the need for a structured on-street program. At least one city can point to an increase in the tax base with the help of parking space turnover. One advantage is that in a time when budgets are tight and tax increases are unpopular, the idea of additional revenue is one whose time may have arrived.

Visitors who stay at one of the many-world class resorts or upscale hotels will find no problem with parking, as it is almost always part of the building itself. In this case, visitors expect valet parking and service with a smile, and they’re not disappointed. Puerto Rico is an island rich in culture and hundreds of traditions. When you visit enjoy the food, the customs, and the beaches…and the many taxis!

Rest assured, you will be warmly welcomed to the island when you arrive in December for the IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo, as will your ideas, feedback, and enthusiasm.

Ken Stewart is president of Clancy Urban Transit Solutions. He can be reached at ken@urbantransitsolutions.com or 787.200.7701.

TPP-2012-10-Reach the Beach

What Has Your Parking Deck Done for You Lately

TPP-2012-10-What Has Your Parking Deck Done for You LatelyBy Joey D. Rowland, PE and Thomas Carlson-Reddig, AIA, LEED AP

Parking decks were once considered necessary evils and relegated to secondary status in the minds of campus planners. While much attention was lavished on academic buildings and student unions, parking was shoved onto the outskirts of campus on undesired plots of land. Not anymore—campus planners now recognize the importance of parking in the master planning process.

College and university planners understand that the college campus is a dynamic and constantly changing environment. In the past, surface parking lots often accompanied academic buildings, creating sprawl and diminishing the overall collegiate experience. To address these problems, new buildings and green space began to replace parking lots, creating additional parking demand and a supply shortage. Parking structures came to the rescue by creating ample parking in a reasonable walking distance to the campus core. The problem with these early parking structures was that they were generally utilitarian, and little or no attention was paid to aesthetics or user concerns.

Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. College and university planners realize that parking decks can be integrated into the campus fabric, both aesthetically and functionally. Thanks to consultation between planners, architects, and parking designers, structures feature aesthetic treatments that create a gateway to the campus, feature details necessary for convenient parking and a good first impression, and use ground level space in the garage for user amenities such as coffee shops or newsstands. Transforming the parking structure from basic storage of vehicles to an active campus building has turned a necessary investment into a valuable asset.

Planning for Parking
We have noted a new approach in college and university planning in recent years. Parking structures are more often seen as an integral feature of in the planning and design of new campus buildings. Sector studies are often undertaken to properly plan for new academic buildings, parking facilities, green space, and pedestrian elements within a certain area of campus. These studies reveal the importance of building and parking deck placement and the interrelated effects on pedestrian movement and traffic patterns. These studies often have a positive influence on the success of a new development. One example is the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte.

Sector Planning at UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte has expanded greatly during the last 20 years and continues to grow at a rapid pace. In addition to having an overall master plan, the university has invested in sector plans that are more specific to particular areas. These plans study the relationships of existing and planned buildings in an area targeted for development. In addition to determining the best location for new academic buildings, these plans address traffic and roadways, parking facilities, pedestrian movements, and utility requirements. They are helpful in identifying costs and they carefully consider site issues as well as the overall goals and challenges of the campus.

A parking structure will most often be the largest building footprint in these distinct precincts, so its size, location, and scale are more thoroughly evaluated. One particularly successful sector plan was conducted for the immediate area around a new student union. Through this careful study, the 1,000-space parking deck was located to serve the student union effectively while preserving valuable land for a future recreation center and academic building. As UNC Charlotte Director of Campus Planning Peter Franz observed, “Setting the parking structure back a sufficient distance allowed flexibility for these future buildings, which were unknown at the time.” Without a sector study, it is likely the parking deck would have been more proximate to the student union, forcing those future buildings elsewhere.

Successful sector planning at the student union complex led to similar studies on other areas of campus. The north area sector study had to consider the effects of a future light rail stop on that part of campus. A sector plan for the Charlotte Research Institute, the technology and research area of campus, needed to consider a very large parking deck as it relates to new research buildings, a new football stadium, and a future conference center. The South Village sector plan was a complex study involving a new residence hall, dining facility, loop road, and green space for student activity along with a large parking structure that serves the area. In each of these sector plans, planning for parking played an important role in the process.

Planning for Scale
College and university parking decks are often quite large and can overwhelm a campus development if not carefully considered. There are ways to alleviate these problems through architectural treatment, but consideration of location and overall massing are critical. It is vitally important to consider the scale of nearby campus buildings when first evaluating the type of structure. Consideration of scale and proper context will help determine the number of levels and parking bays and, ultimately, the building size and appropriate location. Landscaping can also play a role in visually diminishing the mass of a parking structure.

Careful consideration of major vertical circulation elements can help address the scale of parking decks as well. Locating the stair and elevator core on the most public face not only brings people closer to their destinations, but helps create a more pedestrian scale. Parking decks are by nature utilitarian and can be repetitive looking, but stairs and elevator cores can be designed to bring an element of delight to the building and enhance the overall campus environment.

Planning for Non-Parking Functions
When properly planned, special uses can be integrated into the lower levels of parking decks. Bookstores, coffee shops, office space, or other uses can be incorporated quite easily, helping animate the building and bringing activity to the facilities. Integration of these smaller program areas can help address programmatic needs of college and university campuses while contributing to the deck aesthetics, helping it appear more integrated with the overall campus environment. Care should be taken, however, not to overdo it. Parking decks should be for the efficient storage of vehicles and a positive experience for the user. Too much space allocated for complex non-parking uses can have a negative effect on the functionality of the parking garage and can render the project not as successful as envisioned.

Architectural Treatment
One of most significant advances in modern parking deck design is the architectural treatment. In the past, parking structures were unabashedly straightforward in their appearance and were not shy about expressing their use and identity. A parking deck looked like a parking deck! While there still are many utilitarian parking structures, many are becoming so elaborate that they might not be easily identified as parking structures from the outside. Long horizontal openings are giving way to smaller punched openings that are more like those on academic buildings. Cornices and entablatures are being integrated into the facades to cap the parking decks and relate to the campus fabric. Rather than taking the modernist attitude of expressing a building primarily for what it is, architects are thinking more about the whole of the campus. This approach is echoed by Peter Franz: “Design that seeks to have the deck appear similar to a typical campus building while still having certain elements that identify it as a parking structure are important considerations.”

Use of Materials
As parking structures become more architecturally integrated into campuses, it is important that they share the same material palette of the campus buildings. Glass, brick, stone, and a plethora of metals have been introduced to parking decks to not only improve their overall aesthetics, but to better blend with the architectural campus fabric. Virtually anything is possible as long as the open air requirements for ventilation are not compromised. The integration of thin-set brick into precast concrete walls and spandrels has become more common, reducing the cost and time associated with hand-laid brick, stone, or other labor-intensive materials. Metalwork and glazing can be used in many ways, providing more than aesthetic appeal. Perforated metal can be used to provide shade and screen cars while still allowing free air flow. Green screens can be used for planting materials as a sustainable feature as well as an architectural element. On the top levels of parking decks (where no one likes to park), shade structures can be incorporated to entice better use. Solar panels can be placed on top of the shade structures, creating a source of energy for lighting or other garage functions.

User-Friendly Design
Perhaps the most overlooked but important element of parking deck design is the consideration of the human element. Traditionally, parking garages were designed to get the largest number of spaces for the lowest cost. That usually meant tighter parking geometrics, less maneuverability, lower quality lighting, confined stairs, etc. The predictable result was dissatisfaction with the facility and underuse. When the attitude about parking is one of a valued asset, acceptance and satisfaction from the user is of paramount importance. Enhanced architectural treatment, good lighting, comfortable turns, open stairs, and glass-backed elevators become not only good design practice, but institutional requirements.

Paying close attention to the design of vehicular signage and graphics can also enhance the user experience. A common complaint is a lack of clarity on where to go once inside the deck. A clearly laid out parking deck complimented by thoughtful, well integrated graphics can help diminish confusion, enhance delight, and further promote the brand and identity of the institution.

Once parked, the pedestrian experience is an important design element. Patterns of pedestrian and vehicular movement are being more carefully investigated and designed, improving the user experience inside the parking deck and to and from the campus. For many, the parking deck can be the first and last experience that one can have on a campus and it is essential that experience be a positive one. It must be safe, feel clearly connected, and ideally be a richer experience, through landscape, lighting, signage, or other important amenities.

A near universal problem in colleges and universities is the consideration of parking. As campuses become more dense, the need for structured parking has created new challenges for campus planners and architects. With good planning, parking decks can be designed to fit in well with academic buildings and can be a positive experience for the user. Everyone appreciates convenient and close-in parking. With the guiding principal that a parking deck is an asset and not a liability, the question of “What has your parking deck done for you lately” can be answered with the resounding response, “A lot!”

Thomas Carlson-Reddig, AIA, LEED AP, is a studio principal with Little Diversified Architectural Consultants. He can be reached at tcarlson-reddig@littleonline.com or 704.561.8700

Joey D. Rowland, PE, is vice president and southeast regional manager for Carl Walker, Inc. He can be reached at JRowland@carlwalker.com or 704.527.0343.

TPP-2012-10-What Has Your Parking Deck Done for You Lately

City of Wonders

TPP-2012-10-City of WondersBy Mark Wright

Gehry is one of a small constellation of star architects who have arguably raised parking garage design to that ideal in Miami Beach, Fla.

“We are very lucky in Miami Beach, because we have a wealth of world-renowned designers and architects who have discovered new opportunities to showcase their talent,” says Mayor Matti Herrera Bower. “We even have one private parking garage designed to such distinctive architectural detail that it has hosted wedding receptions and wine tastings! It’s the wave of the future, and that’s what continues to make Miami Beach so trendy and unique.”

Examples of creative parking design in the city abound. Consider the 1111 Lincoln Road mixed-use parking and event space designed by Switzerland-based Herzog & de Meuron (see p. 16 in the October 2011 issue of The Parking Professional for more on this garage). Developer Robert Wennett literally calls this work of urban sculpture home; Herzog & de Meuron integrated a residence onto the top of the garage for him.

Miami-based Arquitectonica designed the Ballet Valet at 630 Collins Avenue in the 1990s. Informally dubbed the “Chia Pet garage” because of the distinctive outgrowth of foliage surrounding each of its five parking decks—described by the firm as “a vertical green zone and a monumental topiary”—the effect camouflages the building’s purpose as a parking facility.

The five-story, 500-space Park@420 garage, designed by Mexico City-based architect Enrique Norten’s firm TEN Arquitectos, opened last fall at 420 Lincoln Road in the Miami Beach architectural district. Part of a $40 million retail, office, and entertainment center anchored by an historic 1940s building, the top four stories of the garage are enclosed by perforated panels, making good on a city requirement that the surrounding neighborhood be shielded from any visible raw light sources such as headlights.

Los Angeles-based Gehry Partners LLP designed the Pennsylvania Avenue Parking Garage as part of the famed architect’s work with the New World Symphony. Opened in January 2011, the top five decks of the six-level, 550+ space facility are wrapped in woven metal mesh panels. LED lighting is integrated into the mesh, giving the façade a constantly changing cascade of color at night.

London-based Zaha Hadid Architects is designing the new city-owned Collins Park Garage. Construction of the project, which was initially projected to cost approximately $12.5 million, is reportedly scheduled to begin later this year. While the design was not final at press time, the initial concept shows five layers flowing around in asymmetrical figure-eight swirls and has been likened to a sun-whitened, wind-sculpted ecosystem for both cars and people.

Other local garages that explore the natural tension between taste and task include the seven-level, 654-space City Hall Annex designed by Chicago-based Perkins+Will that was completed in 2009; the planned 450-space Sunset Harbour garage being designed by Arquitectonica for a Scott Robbins Companies retail complex on Bay Road; and several robotic parking facilities of various sizes and designs.

A History of Iconic Design
Form and function have a symbiotic relationship, and Miami Beach has a long record of recognizing, leveraging, and cultivating that connection.

“Design is such a focal point of our city,” says William Cary, assistant planning director for the City of Miami Beach.

Beginning with the emergence of Mediterranean Revival and Art Deco as expressions of prosperity and optimism in the 1920s and 30s, diverse influences from multiple eras—the Great Depression, World War II, post-war modernism, trans-Atlantic ocean liners, the space age—have shaped the architectural history of Miami Beach along a continuum of design right up to the present day, says Cary.

“Miami Beach has probably the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world,” says Saul Frances, director of the City of Miami Beach Parking Department. “It has 10 historic districts and is proud and self-conscious about its aesthetics.”

Charles Urstadt, chair of the Miami Design Preservation League, credits the city for setting the design bar high. The planning board, design review board, and historic preservation board are “keenly aware of the architecture and often insist on the highest standards,” he says.

Urstadt adds, “There’s an understanding in the development community here that good architecture can pay off. When combined with retail, it can make a huge difference on the bottom line.”

Smart Business
While architects might yearn for timelessness, the yearnings of city leaders and developers are a bit more here-and-now. The combination of cutting-edge architectural design, renovated historic properties, a rich array of cultural, entertainment, and shopping opportunities, and sun-drenched beaches, fun dining, and a fabled nightlife make Miami Beach a vibrant and popular year-round destination for visitors from around the world.

“There’s a culture of design in Miami Beach that’s been consistent and they’ve stayed true to Art Deco,” says Miami Parking Authority CEO Art Noriega. “They’ve been at the forefront of changing the concept of what a garage looks like.”

Noriega also notes that a strong business case reinforces the design trend. “They’re in an environment where they have the economics to support it,” he says. “They can afford to be a little more cutting-edge, because they can charge more and they’ll get more people into those spaces.”

Outside of Miami Beach, parking design around the region tends more toward the pragmatic. Across Biscayne Bay in Miami and its neighboring jurisdictions, customers want accessibility and affordability, says Noriega. They might appreciate the artful design of iconic structures, but are more likely to steer their own wheels into the least expensive, most convenient parking spot available near their destination.

“These projects wouldn’t work at a suburban mall,” says Mark Santos, PE, vice president at Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc.’s Miami office.

Santos attributes the emergence of iconic garages in Miami Beach to the city’s own heritage and circumstances. “There’s kind of a gray area in the combination of art and architecture that’s local and site-specific down here,” he says.

High Demand
It’s fair to say that Miami Beach would not have such a crop of new garages absent a significant need for more parking.

“Miami Beach suffers from a lack of parking in areas that receive high volumes of visitors,” says Zaha Hadid. “It is a real obstacle for its residents at peak times. The city commissioned several studies for how to improve infrastructure and resident mobility. One of the conclusions was to provide additional parking both strategically and creatively.”

“Creatively” doesn’t mean merely putting a pretty face on a garage. Hadid adds, “In our work, we always look for ways to design buildings and structures that deliver more than just a single purpose or immediate function. The Collins Park Garage is a public parking garage and ground floor retail building within the Collins Park Area. A number of cultural buildings are located in the area and we aim to develop a parking structure that participates in and enhances the surrounding context by studying ways to link the area together to provide a unifying vision.”

Being bound on all sides by water also constrains the city’s options. With just 7.1 square miles of land, nature offers no additional space on which to locate more much-needed vehicle storage.

“I’ve always been a preservationist at heart,” says Bower. “But just because I like protecting world-class architecture of the past doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the creativity of the future. Miami Beach has always been on the forefront of design and architecture. With art and culture so integral to our identity, we’re forced to be innovative and creative like no other city. One thing that continues to be lacking in our city, however, is parking. Public/private partnerships have allowed for extraordinary creativity in designing our newest parking structures. They’re not a place to hide a car anymore; they have become complexes that showcase retail, restaurants, and events!”

Parking Redefined
“We’ve known the only way we can preserve our buildings is by making our parking garages not only non-overwhelming, but a compact, integral part of our design environment,” says Cary.

The city concluded that it’s important to look at parking garages in a different way in dense urban environments. They have to be well-designed and play more than their traditional functional role of simply storing cars.

“We have redefined the parking garage,” Cary says. “We made up our minds we would have vertical lots that are progressive and part of our architecture and culture and technology and time.”

The city also decided that including a highly interactive storefront area at the base of a garage would prevent it from looking like “a dark well of nothing,” as Cary puts it. So, it passed an ordinance requiring the ground floor of new garages to be active, habitable space, either residential or commercial.

Likewise, the city requires that levels above the first floor “have a design that’s stimulating and not just standard,” says Cary, removing the negative connotations some associate with more utilitarian garages. The resulting designs have generated significant media coverage, stoked debate, and added architectural heft to that Miami Beach brand.

“Who would have thought garages would be cutting-edge?” observes Urstadt. “They certainly dominate the cityscape and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be significant.”

Of course, artful development must nonetheless live within its means. The city balances its vision of architecturally significant garages with practical budget realities.

These designs “can drive your costs substantially,” says Frances, “and you have to value engineer things. (The city) wants to see the best project and best design possible with the dollars available.”

Mark Wright is a contributing editor to The Parking Professional. He can be reached at mark@wrightscontent.com.

TPP-2012-10-City of Wonders

First of its Kind

TPP-2012-10-First of its KindBy Jeonghoon Lee

Parking garage sites are very unique. They are located in the heart of the city where there is a high volume of traffic. However, how many of them are built and used properly?

When I first started designing the Herma Parking Building outside of Seoul, South Korea, I was shocked to find out about parking examples in the surrounding region. There was no parking structure that was functioning properly in the area. I carefully examined the reason and found one ultimate problem: money.

In Korea, parking garage sites are sold for relatively low prices as compared to commercial sites. Only 20 to 30 percent of the overall gross floor area is allowed for commercial purposes. Under these circumstances, it is realistically impossible to anticipate the return of investment from the parking lot, and the owner focuses on selling the retail suites that take that 20 to 30 percent of the property. The land price is low, but the business value is not guaranteed. Therefore, the focus of the project becomes how to lower the construction cost as much as possible, instead of the urban context of the area or the appearance of the building. The cheapest land and the cheapest building: these are the characteristics of parking garages in Korea.

These structures are disadvantageous for the residents in these urban centers as they have to face the buildings every day during their commutes, and the poorly-designed and constructed structures make the city look bleak. No matter how much they invest in decorating the retail suites, the overall exterior of the building is too ugly to overcome. There are three to four parking lot sites in the Jukjeon Residential Development Zone, but one of them is used as a used car showroom and another one is considered a slum that is not adding to the appearance of the area. The parking garage sites of suburban areas are not the centers of passenger facilities, but the symbols of extreme drawbacks of real estate sales.

Parking: A Fun Headache
Looking closer, parking garage sites are a headache for architects, but very fun at the same time. This is because the land is located in the center of traffic and surrounded by commercial facilities, which gives it the possibility to serve as a landmark. Also, various expressions are possible on the exterior surface, as parking garages do not need insulation finishes that residential construction requires. Various architectural materials and expressions can be tried to make a statement in terms of public value. Again, though, money is the issue. Would it be possible to propose a better plan that fits the budget and creates an appealing urban identity for residents? This question was the starting point of my design for the Herma Parking Building.

Retail Inside Parking, or Parking Inside Retail?
The lot proposed for the parking building in Jukjeon Residential Development Zone applies building coverage rate (90 percent) and floor area ratio (1,500 percent) that are different from the legal requirements for commercial lots (60 percent building coverage rate). In this case, the ratio of parking lot facilities to retail facilities should be 80 percent to 20 percent. To guarantee the basic feasibility within the range of given laws and regulations, the size of retail space on the first floor had to be maximized. At the same time, a terrace space was suggested for the front side that faces a river, to improve feasibility. To ensure efficient use of the terrace area, it was necessary to design a front façade to change the overall image of the parking garage that is not exposed to passengers.

Old parking garages were built with the addition of retail suites. My design took a different approach—to build a retail building with an attached parking structure. It was difficult even for the most popular brands with luxurious interiors to succeed in the old parking lot buildings because they were built to primarily serve as parking with some attached retail facilities.

Herma Parking Building created a totally inclusive design for the parking facility. In doing so, the slummy image of old parking lot buildings was eliminated and replaced with a parking garage attached to a well-designed retail facility that enhanced the overall value of the building and the land. By designing a parking building that does not look like a garage, the owner was able to acquire appealing retail suites to sell and the residents acquired a visually pleasing landmark for their town.

The Many Faces of the Garage
The exterior surface used plastic to create a partition that is closed against the city, yet delivers diversity by accepting or reflecting images under natural light. The polycabonate used for this project has five layers, with purple coating on the outside and white coating on the inside. The outside is finished with IR and UV coating to create the feel of glass or a reflective metal surface according to the angle of light.

At sunrise, the direct light makes the surface appear off-white, while the indirect light around noon displays pure purple. At sundown, the surface reflects the color of sunset and turns into a golden color. In the evening, it reflects the interior lighting and the neon signs of the surrounding buildings to create an exotic view. Its name—Herma—comes from Hermaphrodite and Hermes of the Greek and Roman mythologies, inspired by the diversity of the exterior surface.

Another characteristic of this building is that it used variable sizes of materials unlike most buildings that use uniformly sized exterior finishes. The 635 pieces of polycarbonate panels used are different by a few centimeters in size. Also, the stainless steel patterns consist of about 960 openings that are different in shape. The individual pieces processed by CNC plasma cutting at the factory were modulized and welded onsite to minimize errors. Each member was assembled one by one onsite to create a unique aesthetic that was not available with the ordinary panel system.

Public Value: The Mission of All Architects
The construction process was not a walk in the park. I needed tenacity and passion to complete a unique parking garage within the budget of ordinary parking garage. It took 11 months to complete this project, which had to be extremely economical. It was a realistic project, but I supervised the field workers every day, mingling and learning from them along the way. The building was not completed based on the drawings, but by the logic of field work and monetary shortage. We could not anticipate the date of completion because of the temperamental weather and poor environment. Every time the project was delayed, I had to deal with the petitions and complaints of the local people and settle the issue of additional cost with the contractors.

When the curtain finally opened after a long time, the neighborhood people and the workers let go of their doubts and started talking about the power and value of architecture. The field workers told me that they were proud to be a part of this project. This was the first time I thought much about the power and authenticity of architecture. Although it was a mere parking garage, it recreated the identity of the city and conveyed the pride of those who created an alternative for the urban architecture.

In Korea, architects are generally considered home sellers who build mass-produced homes. I personally believe that architecture creates urban culture and discourse and manifests contemporary philosophy through space. Through this project, I wanted to show that parking garages can serve as a major landmarks that define the city.

The project, initially planned to take five months, took 11 months to complete. Last winter was particularly snowy. The project was suspended for days several times because of the money issues and the strange weather.

A parking garage is a low-cost project in Korea. No one wants to pay a lot for it. It is a strange project carried out by an owner who wants to make a profit with minimal investment and a contractor who makes a low bid for inevitable reasons.

I challenged this convention to make a beautiful garage happen. I was courageous because I was ignorant of the reality. There are so many things that architects should do in this country. They cannot make what they envision without pointing out every little detail even though they provide everything in drawing. This garage embodies what architecture is to me.

Jeonghoon Lee is owner of JOHO Architecture. He can be reached at kccamus@gmail.com.

TPP-2012-10-First of its Kind


TPP-2012-10-POPBy Kim Fernandez

Rina Cutler, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for transportation found herself stuck in traffic one day in 2009. There’s only so much one can do in such a situation, and once the obligatory radio station switching, dashboard dusting, and finger examining is finished, scanning the landscape helps fill the time.

The scene from her car that morning was the parking garage at Philadelphia International Airport, which fronts I-95. Creeping along in traffic, the deputy mayor had what people call an “ah-ha moment.”

“We’ve been told this is the largest above-ground parking structure in the world,” says the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Director of Communications Jenn McCreary. “And she’s looking at this big structure and it struck her that it would be nice, instead of looking at this wall of concrete, if people could see a beautiful piece of art.”

Three years later, that’s exactly what everyone from the highway admires. Thanks to a partnership between the Mural Arts Program and the city’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the garage was wrapped with the world’s second-largest mural, depicting city residents dancing against a dramatic black background.

“We look at this art as a gateway to Philadelphia,” says McCreary. “You’re welcomed to the city from different points, and when you’re landing here, you’re greeted by this piece of art.”

It took two years to create the mural and four months to install it, and engaged professional and amateur dancers from the city and more than 1,000 volunteers who helped paint the art and participate in a massive dance party in the garage to dedicate it. It’s become a city landmark and something of a wonder in the art world, and is part of a larger trend of cities and municipalities welcoming garages as not only necessary for transportation, but also giant canvases to beautify the landscape.

How Philly Moves
McCreary says photographer Jacques-Jean Tiziou photographed nearly 175 dancers in everything from ballet tutus to traditional Native American robes. “We had professionals, amateurs, small children, grandmothers,” she says. “Over the course of about six weeks, he did photo shoots with all of them and then ultimately selected the images that appear on the mural.”

After that, a team of five professional muralists set up shop in vacant retail space that was donated to the project by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust. Over the course of nine months, the artists painted the 1,504 panels of parachute fabric that would become the final mural.

“We had community paint days, too,” says McCreary. The public was invited to visit the makeshift studio on several weekends to pick up their brushes and become part of the project, and more than 1,000 people took the city up on the offer and jumped in.

“People from the area and visitors to the area could come in and help paint the pieces,” she says. “They gridded out parts of it like a giant paint-by-number, and anybody could come down and dive in and feel like they were part of this iconic piece of art.”

After that, workers spent four months stretching the fabric and adhering it to the exterior walls of the garage, covering 85,000 square feet with the panels and sealing them with acrylic gel.

The airport happily jumped into the project as well, dedicating space inside to a permanent exhibition about the mural. There, visitors can watch videos about the making of the piece and see some of the photographs that didn’t make it into the final design.

“People love it,” says McCreary. “It’s something new. It’s something fun.”

Farther south, in Clearwater, Fla., city residents have for years identified a municipal parking garage by its exterior murals of birds.

“The garage sits across the street from the police station and the fire station headquarters,” says Christopher Hubbard, cultural affairs specialist for the city.
“It was constructed about 15 years ago, and there were windows built into it to fill with artwork. At the time, we were running an artist in residence program, and Roger
Bansemer was chosen to be the lead artist for that project.”

Bansemer created a dozen double-sided paintings of local birds on weather-treated pressurized boards, and those were installed into the garage’s windows. Since then, they’ve become a popular local landmark.

“We have wayfinding for downtown that was created when our downtown district went through a rehabilitation,” says Hubbard. “We wanted a new perspective on what our downtown should be, and we used the birds on our wayfinding map.” Today, he says, people identify the garage to visitors by its birds.

“The county bike trail runs right past the garage, and the birds have become an icon of that section of the trail,” he says. “That’s how people know they’re in Clearwater—they see the birds. If you talk to people about what they see downtown, they’ll tell you about the architecture and the artwork.”

The panels are flipped regularly so they weather evenly, and all of them were rehabilitated last year to bring them back to their original vibrancy.

Other Florida artists are also jumping into the fray. In December 2010, Fort Myers celebrated the dedication of its Parallel Park art project that encompasses 30,000 square feet on the Lee County Justice Center parking garage. Commissioned by Lee County and the City of Fort Myers through the city’s public art program, the series of Marylyn Dintenfass murals depicts geometric shapes on a huge scale, and was part of the city’s public art requirement for private developers.

“If developers build within Fort Myers limits, they have to comply with this public art ordinance,” says Florida Association of Public Art Professionals Board Member Barbara Hill, who spearheaded the project. “The architect thought if he brought in his in-house designer to put a pattern of some kind on panels on the garage, that would suffice as the public art component. I was the city’s public art consultant at the time, and I said no.”

She led a search for an artist and ultimately chose painter Dintenfass, who created her patterns on huge sheets of Kevlar material.

“We brought in a fine artist to work on what was supposed to be a simple design element,” says Hill. “It turned out to be so much more as a result.” To date, the piece has been the subject of a book and at least one exhibition, and was recognized by the Americans for the Arts annual public art awards.

Those who’ve installed public art on parking garages say that while it’s worth the effort, transforming exterior concrete walls into something beautiful isn’t exactly simple.

“Kevlar withstands the elements beautifully, but it’s a mesh,” says Hill. “Half of the fabric isn’t there. You have to really saturate the fabric with ink to make a visual impact. We took what was originally specified by the architect and actually doubled the resolution.” The Kevlar was then coated with an archival material to protect the piece.

“One of the biggest things we talk about in the public art community is the lifespan of artwork,” says Hubbard. “No matter how you cut the pie, it’s art that’s outside. The paint will fade. Things will get scratched. You have to be very foresighted in the maintenance that you do.” His program sets aside 10 percent of the original cost of each piece of art for future maintenance, and still says, “No matter how much you put into it, this kind of piece will not last forever.”

“You can use materials that are incredibly durable and long-lasting,” says Hill. “Go into any major subway system. You’ll see art that was done almost 100 years ago.”

Her project’s Kevlar panels were possible because, she says, they were part of the original construction budget for the garage. That kind of planning makes public art installation easier.

“The dilemma of a lot of people who are not only building garages but other structures as well is that they can’t afford to hire an artist,” she says. “But if an architect and an artist are brought in at the very early design phase and able to collaborate, a lot of the materials the artist will use can be worked into the construction budget. It doesn’t cost a lot more than if you’re going to install a stucco wall.”

Some developers find creative ways around the cost. In Raleigh, N.C., delays on a new building that was supposed to wrap around the Convention Center parking garage left a stark concrete wall in the middle of the city. Developer Empire Properties solved the problem by asking design students at nearby North Carolina State University to enter submissions for art to temporarily cover the garage.

“We worked with the county to extend our development agreement,” says Empire spokesman Andrew Stewart. “In exchange, we agreed we’d pay for these banners to cover the parking deck.”

Thirty teams of students entered the competition, and “The Balloon Boys” were chosen to create massive banners with their fantasy illustration that incorporates mythical aquatic creatures with people and machines in flight over 20,000 square feet.

The final product has proven so popular that the county library system has jumped in, hosting a series of events for children about the murals. “The whole county is interacting with this,” says Stewart. “We wanted to have a piece of artwork that was suitable for adults, children, and families. The point was to solve a problem with the parking deck and give the area something really unique. Having this on that deck has become so much more.”

Other agree, and say the benefits to beautifying their garages go far beyond what they anticipated.

“A lot of parking garages are being done in fresh ways, both nationally and internationally,” says Hill. “When ours first went up with these beautiful colors that were so vivid, people kept going up to it thinking it was the city’s art museum. It looked for all the world like a museum, with this beautiful exterior, and they realized it was a parking garage. It’s pretty spectacular and we definitely transformed the environment.”

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



TPP-2012-10-ReconnectingBy Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

Reconnecting! Reconnecting. Reconnecting? It’s one word with three different potential interpretations. The first way implies excitement. The second implies a statement of fact, and the third implies uncertainty, as in to what or with whom am I reconnecting and why?

Reconnecting in the workplace seems to have been harder and harder to achieve over the years, for myriad reasons. The first of these is that human beings are social by nature and not designed to live in isolation. Second, long before generational issues in the workplace reared their heads, there was an unspoken contract between employers and employees that was built upon the notion that one’s word was their bond. Third, paraphrasing former Emerson CEO Chuck Knight, any organization can purchase assets, but only people create value.

There are a number of reasons—or excuses—as to why reconnecting in the workplace has seemed challenging: organizational growth, an era of excess, and technology (surprise!). As organizations have grown, we have gotten further and further away from each other both mentally and physically. The era of excess that began in the 1980s and continued for more than 20 years made people focus on themselves. We are now paying a large cost for that. Additionally, technology ensnares us 24/7, meaning there is very little time to talk over the fence, which used to be a common form of communication between neighbors.

If these are some of the issues with reconnecting, how do we regain the ability to reconnect? First, building upon Knight’s statement, we have to treat people as if they matter (because, of course, they do). This begins with the age-old idea of respect: showing people why they should respect you and showing that you respect them. Once we have this done, we need to provide people with opportunities to like us. I believe that no matter how much a person respects you, your ability to really cement yourself in their minds still depends on whether or not they can connect or identify with you on other levels.

Second, and this is tough, we need to remain aware that people are different and that this is a good thing. Great things come from recognizing and benefitting from differences in people. While this may sound like diversity and inclusion to some and affirmative action to others, it’s actually just plain reality.

Third, we cannot be afraid to share who we are and what makes us who we are because that allows us to build mutually beneficial relationships and advocates in the workplace.

None of us is an island and none of us has gotten to where we are today purely by our own efforts. There are always people who will like and dislike you, but better they should like you for who you are than dislike you for who you are not. To the extent that we share openly and honestly who we are, we build advocates who not only advance our causes to others, but also encourage open dialogue around our workplaces. This ensures the well-being of the people who make our organizations what they are and, more importantly, the great institutions they can and must be.

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


Staying Green

TPP-2012-10-Parking and IdlingBy Michelle Wendler, AIA

In this column, I offer maintenance suggestions for two common green features that either are or may soon be part of your parking structure. Proper planning and maintenance will make and keep these systems excellent life cycle choices for your facility.

Photovoltaic Solar Systems
An advantage (and disadvantage) of these systems is they tend to be out of sight, out of mind. You either have a power purchase agreement that requires the owner to maintain the system, or you own the system and need to maintain it yourself. Your maintenance checklist, courtesy the California Energy Commission Guide to Photovoltaic System Design and Installation, should include:

Wash the photovoltaic array (the collection of photovoltaic panels connected together in modules that face the sun) when there is a noticeable buildup of soiling deposits, during the cool of the day. Your installer should provide maintenance information to define when and how to do this.

Periodically inspect the system to make sure all wiring and supports stay intact. An electrical technician may be needed.

On a sunny day near noon around March 21 and September 21 each year, review the output of the system (assuming the array is clean) to see if the performance of the system is close to the previous year. Maintain a log of these readings to identify if the system’s performance is consistent or declining too rapidly, which may signify a system problem.

You also need to plan for system replacement. The two critical parts of the system are the inverter and the photovoltaic array.

The solar inverter performs the conversion of the variable DC output of the photovoltaic module(s) into a clean current that is applied directly to the commercial electrical grid. Most inverters will come with a five-to-10 year warranty but will last 15 to 20 years.

The warranty on most photovoltaic modules is 20 to 25 years. They can last upwards of 30 years. Over time, the output of the panels will begin to go down.

Bio-Retention Areas
A bio-retention area is a depressed area with porous backfill under a vegetated surface. These areas often have an under-drain to encourage filtration and infiltration. Bio-retention areas provide groundwater recharge, pollutant removal, and runoff detention. These features are commonly found in parking lot areas and can be used around parking structures to filter the runoff from the lot or top deck.

Bio-retention removes stormwater pollutants such as hydrocarbons and heavy metals through physical and biological processes.

Bio-retention areas require landscaping maintenance, including measuring to ensure the area is functioning properly. They often initially require intense maintenance but need less over time as plants mature. In many cases, maintenance tasks can be completed by a landscaping contractor. Landscaping maintenance requirements can be less resource intensive and therefore less expensive to maintain than areas such as elevated landscaped islands in parking areas.

At installation, the design team should provide you with information about how long you should expect to see standing water prior to it filtering in the ground. After large rain events, monitor that the system is not holding water longer than you anticipate.

The good news is there are no moving parts in this system. You should plan to replace the top two inches of soil every 15 years and budget for some replanting.

As you can see, the requirements for ongoing maintenance and long-term replacement planning are not extensive for these systems, making them good life cycle choices.

Michelle Wendler, AIA, is principal/architect with Watry Design and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. She can be reached at mwendler@watrydesign.com or 408.392.7900.

TPP-2012-10-Parking and Idling