Tag Archives: TPP-2013-04-

How Can I Ever Thank You

TPP-2013-04-How Can I Ever Thank YouBy Rhonda Kissane, CAPP

In tight budget times, the norm has become “do more with less.” Employees are absorbing a larger workload, and usually doing it with no additional compensation. If you, like many, have experienced budget cuts and still have a smooth-running operation, it’s time to thank the people who help make it possible.

As a manager, it is important to recognize the fine job your employees are doing. A sincere “thank you” or verbal acknowledgement of employees will go a long way. People welcome a compliment or some sort of recognition when they perform a job of which they are proud. Even though they’ll frequently tell you thanks aren’t necessary, human nature means we all enjoy being recognized and thanked.

Depending on your organization’s policies and your budget, you can express your appreciation in many ways. Companies that manufacture products are able to reward their employees by offering the product they produce to their employees: Anheuser-Busch employees in St. Louis, Mo., are entitled to two free cases of beer each month. Exxon employees receive a 10 percent discount on the price of gas and a 15 percent discount on tires, batteries, and accessories for their vehicles.

This can translate to parking departments of larger companies that provide services to their customers—those services can be offered as compensation for a job well done. Delta Airlines gives employees and their spouses unlimited annual travel passes anywhere the airline flies. FedEx employees can fly free on the company’s planes or receive reduced rates on other airlines. Merle Norman Cosmetics in Los Angeles buys its female employees makeovers.

Some companies reward their employees in other ways. J.P. Morgan & Company in New York provides a free lunch to all of their 6,000 employees every day, while Ford
Motor Company and AT&T feature employees in their commercials.

Cultivating Joy
Other companies just want to keep their employees happy, so they create fun working environments. A few examples:

● To thank employees for their accomplishments, Dow Corning in Midland, Mich., hosts ice cream socials where the managers make sundaes for their employees.

● Wilson Learning Corporation in Minnesota gives each employee a Mickey Mouse watch after three months of employment as a reminder to always have fun while working. (At 10 years, workers receive gold Mickey watches.)

● Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, Calif., uses informal beer bursts in the afternoons to mark special events.

● Blanchard Training and Development in Escondido, Calif., has managers celebrate a Day of Excellence once a year, hosting interactive murder mysteries for fun. They also hire a hypnotist to entertain or bring in a masseuse to give shoulder and neck massages to their employees.

● Linda Miles & Associates, a seminar planning firm in Virginia Beach, Va., celebrates Happy Feet Day, when all employees are treated to pedicures.

● Southwest Airlines in Dallas hosts a Halloween costume contest, a Thanksgiving poem contest, and an annual chili cook-off.

● Advanta Corporation in Horsham, Pa., has senior managers dress up like chefs and cook hamburgers and hot dogs for their employees.

● The Walt Disney Company opens Disneyland one night during the Christmas holidays just for their employees and their families. The concession stand and rides are run by senior managers dressed in costume.

●   PlayFair in Berkeley, Calif., keeps the work environment fun by putting rubber fish in the water cooler, stapling Kleenex to potentially-stressful memos, gluing chocolate kisses to boring memos, having a casual dress days that include Hawaiian Day or Suspender Friday, or having a surprise picnic for their employees in the parking garage!

Bringing it Home
As a manager, I know the importance of keeping good staff members in my employ. It is essential for a successful parking operation to retain productive, courteous employees who know their jobs, are dependable and trustworthy, and aren’t afraid to go the extra mile. People want to go to jobs they enjoy, have fun while completing their duties, be fairly compensated, and receive acknowledgement when they do their job well.

All that is still true, but many of us have had reality checks in the budget department over the last few years. I work for a cash-strapped governmental agency, and my attempts to reward my employees cannot be lavish. Even though I work in a parking garage, I am forbidden to give away free parking, and had to come up with other options. Although some of the ideas I’m about to share seem corny, the message behind them is genuine.

First and foremost, it is important to personally congratulate the employee who is doing a wonderful job. It may not seem like a big deal, but this action shows that you are aware of what’s happening in your organization and appreciate when your staff members do a great job. If this is done publicly, it will also boost the morale of the other employees by showing that you care enough about your staff to take the time to acknowledge and thank them. This action will cost nothing, but reap many rewards.

When there is a situation in the workplace that needs attention, why not ask your employees for their input? A manager might not see things that a person who performs the actual task sees. It is always a good idea to get another perspective on things. An employee may feel empowered knowing his superiors are interested in his opinion, and that his input may have been used in the solution to a problem.

To work within my limited budget, I contacted other departments in my organization to see if promotional merchandise such as coffee mugs, water bottles, pens, or tee shirts were left over from previous events. I asked if the other departments would be willing to donate a few items to mine. Because many items were generic with only the county logo printed on them, this idea worked well. Coffee mugs with specific causes or departmental names listed on them were still appreciated, and I purchased bags of candy and filled the mugs with the sweet treats.

Occasionally, I buy pizza, hamburgers, tacos, submarine sandwiches, or a bucket of chicken for an in-office lunch for my staff. The parking operation always requires coverage in the attendant booths, so the entire staff cannot leave the premises at the same time to go out for a nice meal. Bringing lunch in allows for camaraderie and a small break from the daily routine. Depending on the number of staff members in your organization, this may be a relatively inexpensive show of appreciation.

Edible treats are always a winner. Sometimes, I purchase cases of soda and microwave popcorn for the break room, fill a candy dish in the parking office, provide doughnuts for a morning meeting, purchase bottled water, or bake cookies or cupcakes for staff members.

Small prizes are also fun. These can include lottery tickets, fast food restaurant gift cards, or tickets to a local movie theater. Discount warehouse stores such as Costco sell gift cards for movie tickets, ice cream cones, coffee drinks, fruit smoothies, candies, and other small treats for very reasonable prices.

Writing a letter to an employee acknowledging the great customer service provided or the action that went above and beyond can also be a terrific morale-booster. Be sure to forward a copy to your superiors and add a copy to the employee’s personnel file.
Your staff’s actions are a reflection of you, so this benefits you and the employee!

If you are able, offer to take the employee and a co-worker of his or her choice to lunch with you. It is a nice opportunity to get to know your employees a little bit better.

Personalize it when you can. A sleeve of golf balls and tees for the golfer, tennis balls for the tennis player, a baseball or baseball cap for the baseball player, a water bottle for the runner, fishing hooks and lures for the fisherman, or a new CD for the dancer might bring a smile to his/her face for not much outlay. A few paints or brushes for the artist, seeds or gardening tools for the gardener, spices or oils for the cook, some stickers or papers for the scrapbooker, yarn or knitting needles for the knitter, cards or dice for the gamer, a book or magazine/newspaper subscription for the reader, and other trinkets that match their interests can also go a long way.

You might also offer to do your employee’s least-favorite task for one day, or allow the employee to park in your reserved parking space for a week.

There are many other options that won’t break the bank, including balloons, fresh flowers, a potted plant, a DVD, a bottle of wine, an extended lunch hour or extra break, or just an old-fashioned thank-you note. Remember it’s the gesture of appreciation, not the cost of the reward, that counts.

Rhonda Kissane, CAPP, is administrative services officer with Sacramento County, Calif. She can be reached at kissaner@saccounty.net.

TPP-2013-04-How Can I Ever Thank You

Managing Moped Parking

TPP-2013-04-For Love of ParkingBy Patrick J. Kass, CAPP

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is located in downtown Madison and is home to 75,000 employees, students, and visitors on a daily basis. The campus has 13,000 parking spaces to meet its daily need. To support the access needs of the campus, a number of alternative transportation programs have been developed.

While having a limited number of parking spaces to meet demand is not unique for universities, one area that makes this campus unique is that virtually no vehicle parking is sold to students—of the 10,000 parking permits issued each year, only 300 are allocated for student use. Because students cannot bring vehicles onto campus, most live in student housing that is within walking or biking distance from the campus, and many use the city bus system to get to and from school.

A Rise in Moped Use
Wisconsin state statute defines a moped as any motorized vehicle with a combustion chamber of 50 ccs or less that has pedals. Motor scooters are defined the same way, except they do not have pedals. Both kinds of vehicles must be licensed by the state for use on public roads. The University of Wisconsin-Madison categorizes both of these vehicle types as mopeds for programmatic purposes.

Before 2003, the campus saw fewer than 50 mopeds per year and they were not a significant issue. However, that changed during the 2003-2004 school year. A special survey of mopeds on campus was conducted and it found there were approximately 680 mopeds parking on the campus each day. By 2006, more than 900 mopeds were on campus each day.

One might expect that the use of mopeds would be limited to the non-winter months in a northern climate like ours, but this was not the case. While the number of mopeds on campus did decline in the winter, there were still approximately 300 being used daily.

The reason for the sudden increase in the number of mopeds on campus was never pinpointed. Several theories were formulated, but the three that seemed most logical were that the mopeds allowed students greater freedom to choose where they lived, they provided a means for students to get to work and other activities, and they could be parked at the entrance just like bicycles.

Initial Solution
With the number of mopeds on campus continuing to grow and safety concerns being raised about their use, there were soon calls to manage moped parking. The big challenge in doing that was that Wisconsin state statute treated scooters and moped as bicycles when it came to parking regulations.

For the 2005-2006 school year, a new parking policy was put in place to manage the use of mopeds on campus. The policy consisted of:

  • Creating more than 1,000 designated moped parking stalls in 38 lots.
  • Requiring moped parking permits for on-campus parking from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Prohibiting mopeds from parking at bicycle racks.
  • Issuing warnings and citations to moped drivers who violated the rules.
  • Changing construction guidelines to include moped parking areas as part of all new capital construction projects.

Along with the new parking polices, Transportation Services created a marketing plan to educate our community on the changes and help change behaviors. The department also partnered with campus police to produce a safety video that helped educate users on how mopeds should be driven on campus.

Continued Growth
Thanks in part to the improved infrastructure for mopeds, their use by students and employees continued to grow. By the 2010-2011 school year, the number of mopeds on campus every day reached 1,800. To meet this daily demand, Transportation Services created 1,780 spaces in 76 moped parking lots and increased the fee for a moped permit to $85 per year. Still, the department continued to receive complaints about conflicts between pedestrians, bicyclists, and moped drivers. It was also commonly held that many moped users were not just using their mopeds as a means to commute to and from the campus, but also to get around the campus itself.

To deal with that, Transportation Services partnered with the College of Engineering Traffic Operations and Safety Lab and conducted studies of moped use on campus. These focused on where moped owners lived relative to campus, occupancy of moped parking lots, intra-campus movement of mopeds, and safety.

Based on the initial survey, it was concluded that almost 50 percent of registered moped permit holders lived near the campus, with 20 percent living within three blocks. The study also determined that there had been a total of 96 reported traffic accidents involving mopeds, many of which were results of unsafe driving. Finally, the initial study indicated that mopeds may have been used as an intra-campus commuting option, but the sample size was not sufficient enough to draw valid conclusions.

The second portion of the study focused on surveying each moped parking lot throughout the day to determine intra-campus movement. A total of 40 parking lots were observed during the study, and 4,037 observations were made. This study found that approximately 42 percent of the mopeds on campus were parking in two or more different lots throughout the day. Thirty-three mopeds were observed parking in more than four different lots within a single day.

Change Management
The survey gave Transportation Services enough information to formulate changes to the moped program and encourage safer habits among drivers. Changing behavior that had become engrained among moped users was a huge challenge.

A series of public forums was held on campus to discuss moped parking and gather feedback from users on potential program changes. Information was also placed on the Transportation Services website (transportation.wisc.edu), and press releases were sent to the campus and local media outlets. Concerns raised at the forum ranged from a lack of ability to get from class to class without a moped to what drivers should do if an assigned parking lot was full when they arrived on campus.

Based on the feedback obtained from the forum, the new moped parking program was formalized. This consisted of creating a lot-specific moped parking permit program similar to that already used for vehicle parking. Each moped user would select one lot to be their primary parking area. Six all-access lots were designed around the perimeter of campus to allow limited mobility for moped users. Permit prices were increased to $120 per year, which was equal to the price of motorcycle parking permits. Waiting lists were created for each parking lot, and users had the opportunity to move to more centralized lots as space became available.

An extensive marketing effort was produced to educate all moped user on the changes. Transportation staff attended new-student orientation to talk about the ways mopeds could and could not be used on campus. Plans were made to have additional staffing in the moped parking lots at the start of the semester to help educate and enforce the changes to the program.

The Results
Thankfully, the plans and changes worked well. The total number of moped permits sold for the 2012-2013 school year was down 40 percent below preceding years to 1,100 permits. The wait list for all parking lots was cleared by October 2012. The average occupancy of the parking lots is currently 35 percent. Due to the drop in demand for moped parking, the number of moped parking lots was reduced to 58 that house 1,600 spaces. The parking lots that were removed from the moped program were those located close to building entrances or that forced drivers to go onto sidewalks to get to the lots.

Transportation Services is currently evaluating the demand for moped parking lots and plans to continue to reduce the supply of parking accordingly. All future moped parking spaces will be located along the terrace of a street between the roadway and sidewalk, in lots with dedicated drive aisles, or integrated into existing vehicle parking lots.

The response to the new program has been mixed. Users initially complained that we had reduced their ability to have mopeds on campus and feared they would no longer be able to make their classes. Once they better understood the program and realized they would be able to park in the same lot every day no matter when they came to campus, the complaints subsided.

Transportation Services has received many compliments from non-moped users since the program changes took effect. There are fewer mopeds seen driving around the campus and the perception is that the overall roadways and sidewalks are safer. There are still cases when mopeds are operated in an unsafe manner, but they are rare.

From a campus access and safety standpoint, the change in moped parking and use has allowed this transportation option to be a viable part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s parking program while substantially reducing conflicts with other drivers and safety issues.

Patrick J. Kass, CAPP, is director of transportation services, facilities planning and management, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He can be reached at pkass@fpm.wisc.edu or 608.265.3200.

TPP-2013-04-For Love of Parking

For Love of Parking

TPP-2013-04-For Love of Parking By Kim Fernandez

It’s not unusual to hear about people falling in love with old buildings. It’s why historic commissions exist, after all, and there are entire online communities dedicated to abandoned hospitals, homes, and schools that feature photos, commentary, and ponderings of what might become of them.

But a parking garage? Those in the industry might have a certain fondness for them and people who rely on them for car storage during work and leisure hours appreciate that they’re convenient, but love? Too strong a word, probably.

Meet George Bourekis. He’s a dentist who grew up in Spokane, Wash., and never left. He has a healthy practice, a wife and three daughters, and a life-long family friend named George Prekeges, who owned a parking garage. But not just any parking garage—Prekeges, or “Uncle George,” as Bourekis calls him, owned the City Ramp garage, which may well be the oldest continually-operating garage in the U.S. Built in 1928, it resembles a castle with points and a parapet across its roofline, ornate concrete spires, terra-cotta ornamentation, and a facade bejeweled with geometric designs. The City-County of Spokane Historic Preservation Office calls “one of the finest Art Deco designs in the city,” and it was considered the most modern ramp parking facility west of the Mississippi when it was built.

About eight years ago, Prekeges announced his retirement from parking and put the old garage up for sale. Engineers who inspected it recommended that it be demolished—it had fallen into disrepair and would take more effort than anyone thought it was worth to bring it back to life.

Anyone, that is, except Bourekis and his friend, Jack Heath, president of Washington Trust Bank. Heath’s father had parked in the City Ramp the banker’s entire childhood, and both men had fond memories of visiting the garage to see their dads downtown and of parking there to run errands with their families way back when.

When the two old friends heard the garage was likely to be torn down in favor of a flat lot, it didn’t take long for them to make up their minds what had to happen.

“We bought it,” Bourekis says, for $1.4 million. “I grew up going down there when I was little and spending time in that garage, and it’s a beautiful building. We didn’t want it torn down. Admittedly, it probably wasn’t the best financial decision, but we couldn’t bear to see it demolished.”
Bourekis, the dentist everybody in town knew, had fallen in love. With a parking garage.

The Renovation
The City Ramp was the brainchild of three downtown Spokane business owners who, in the mid-1920s, feared there wasn’t enough parking in the city to bring workers and visitors to their buildings. So they built a six-story garage like nothing anyone in town had ever seen, offering parking for 350 cars plus gas, maintenance, and valet services.

“Buildings didn’t have parking in them then,” says Bourekis. “And people didn’t have the real estate to make lots. So these guys got together and built a garage so their tenants and clients had a place to park and do business.”

By 2008, the old garage seemed well past its prime. “It was really dilapidated,” says Bourekis. “It needed a lot of care. It’s made of rebar and concrete, and moisture had gotten down into the concrete over so many years. The rebar was all rusted and it was spalling chunks of concrete. It was so badly worn that there were holes in the ramps in a couple of spots—someone laid metal plates over the holes so customers could still park there.”

Bourekis and Heath faced a decision: fix all the concrete, or tear down the building. First, they had to have the site inspected, as it had been used to change oil and such things in a time when disposing of chemicals meant pouring them on the ground.

“We thought we might have soil mitigation and other things to address,” Bourekis says. “Once we knew it wasn’t a Superfund site or anything like that, we felt better about it.” The local department of natural resources gave the pair a green light to renovate without any action on the land required, and they set about trying to find a concrete contractor—which was more difficult than they thought. No one was willing to set a price on a project whose scope wouldn’t be known until they could get down and see how much concrete and rebar needed to go.

“The bids were overwhelming and nobody could give us a firm answer,” Bourekis says. “Somebody said $6 million, someone else said $2 million, and because we really didn’t know what we’d have to do, we didn’t have the confidence to start on a handshake and say we’d talk more as we went.”

A solution finally became apparent. “Another kid we grew up with is a concrete subcontractor,” Bourekis says. “We worked with him to start cutting the concrete, checking underneath, and replacing what needed to go. We made the first one kind of a test cell, where we reconstructed that part and then used it as a template to go down the whole building. We made the steel forms, we did all of that.”

“We made a decision to save it and jumped in,” he says. “It was discouraging. There were frustrations everywhere, and it always is more expensive and takes more time than you think it should.”

They also worked hard to match the original concrete that could stay, along with paint colors and other materials; the goal was always to restore the garage back to its 1928 condition. Additionally, asphalt and asbestos were removed from the roof, which was retrofitted for parking. Boarded-up skylights were restored, new electric and plumbing was installed, and the original metal-framed windows were re-caulked and painted. The owners even went so far as to replace broken window panes with ribbed glass matching the vintage glass.

Anyone who’s ever renovated an old house knows that treasure lurks behind walls, and it’s not unusual to find artifacts from previous generations behind wood, plaster, or ductwork. The same, apparently, is true for parking garages.

“We found random things like old bottles and beer cans,” says Bourekis. “I don’t even know from when.” But a bigger treasure came from next door.

“The City Ramp is part of a block of attached buildings,” he explains. “There are a couple of other old buildings attached to it, and one day we got to go through those buildings. Inside one, we found an old parking rates sign from the City Ramp laying around.” The sign, along with historic photos of the building, is now on display inside the garage.

“We found an old safe too—that was pretty neat,” he says, laughing that, much to his chagrin, it was empty. “It’s still functioning and we put it to work to hold paperwork.”

Along the way, they found out they weren’t the only ones in town to have an affinity for the old garage.

“It’s a labor of love,” he says. “The community has been very responsive. We’ve had a couple of older ladies write us notes about how they lived in a farming community nearby and when they came into town, they’d always park at the City Ramp. They’d start there and go shopping all day with their mothers, and it’s a very fond memory for them now. We heard lots of those nostalgic kinds of stories.”

“We’re so close to it and we have so much skin in the game that we’re biased,” he says of the renovation, which is now about 90 percent complete. “We’ve gotten very good response from the community, though, and the city council officials tell us they’re very glad we’ve done this. Other old buildings in town have been torn down, and people are very complimentary and glad we made the effort to save this one.”

He, too, finds himself growing fonder and fonder of the old place. “I drove by it yesterday and there was a little graffiti on a pillar,” he says. “I about blew a gasket! I’ve got to learn to let that go, I guess, but it’s not going to be easy. After all the coating and the color-matching and everything else, somebody would spray paint my garage? I was going nuts.”

Longtime garage manager Lue Guardipee says employees and patrons still use the garage’s original Otis Passenger elevators with their sliding glass doors and brass accordion grates, and its Humphrey revolving man-lift.

“The building was not designed as an industrial warehouse building, but instead was planned to be architecturally compatible with Spoke’s downtown environment,” she says, adding that it looks more like a hotel than a garage. It originally cost $500,000 to build, including the cost of the land. Today, she says, it’s on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, the Washington State Heritage Register of Historic Places, and the National Register of Historic Places.

Bourekis hesitates a moment when he’s asked how much his labor-of-love renovation cost, and then answers. “Close to $4 million. Will we get a return on that in our lifetime? We hope to. That’s the goal. But I hope our children do if we don’t.”

The garage currently holds just more than 200 vehicles and is a popular destination for city residents, some of whom park blocks away from their offices just to walk through its historic floors. Bourekis is currently trying to learn more about the parking industry, now that the building he calls a “jewel box” is almost back to her original glory.

“If I learn more, maybe I’ll be able to put more money on the bottom line,” he says. “I have a lot to learn. But it’s fascinating. It’s fascinating and it’s necessary, and this one is more of an art piece than a parking garage. And I’m pretty attached to it.”

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

TPP-2013-04-For Love of Parking

On Abolishing Parking Citations

TPP-2013-04-On Abolishing Parking CitationsBy Anam Ardeshiri and Mansoureh Jeihani

Parking management is an essential part of transportation studies. The provision of sufficient parking spaces is vital to sustaining urban activities; parking shortages affect streets’ level of service and reduce mobility and safety. As parking professionals know, a noticeable percentage of cars need to cruise looking for street parking during rush hours, leading to increased travel time and frustration. Planning, community, and parking industry operators are quite aware of parking demand variations during the day, but the street parking supply system is not generally smart enough to fully respond to demand fluctuations. This imbalance can be one of the reasons behind the need for parking citations.
Street parking can be effectively managed by pricing policies that are similar to those used in commercial off-street parking. However, fees are traditionally collected by meters, which are not necessarily set for dynamic pricing.

What Is the Issue?
Parking violations are not foreseen in travel demand models and therefore counteract travel demand management strategies. Violations trigger such enforcement efforts as ticketing, towing, and/or booting. Parking citation statistics show that drivers of all types are exposed to and continue to receive parking citations indiscriminately, and that those citations may be perceived as unfair in some cases. A driver may stay only a few minutes past the pre-paid meter time and incur a $32 ticket.

It is likely that a user, on parking in a time-limited zone, is not aware of the required time to perform an activity. Motorists may be subject to luck as to whether or not they receive a ticket. The current system to collect parking fees appears imperfect and unfair, and it costs people either by forcing them to pay more for additional time to avoid a ticket, or with tickets when they return even a few minutes late.

Some parking meters operate in similar ways to their first predecessors, which were installed in Oklahoma City in 1935, and only accept coins, which worsens the dilemma. In the 21st century, the idea of using coins is passing, and it is predicted that paper money will be displaced by various types of electronic payments in future commerce. Technology should help solve parking problems for drivers and still raise revenue for cities.

Glancing through Baltimore City parking citation data magnifies the issue vividly: In 2011, nearly 130,000 tickets were issued at expired parking meters, grossing revenue of more than $3.5 million (data.baltimorecity.gov) in a city with approximately 620,000 residents. The parking citation issue is more critical in larger cities.

Proposed Plan
We propose that parking meters be programmed to accept bank cards and calculate fees based on the exact parking period used. This process differs from the current system, which charges for an estimated time at the beginning of the parking period. Meters that only take coins should be upgraded to electronic fee collector machines. A minimum fee would be assigned for every vehicle that desires to park, for instance, $1 as a ground fee. Beyond this minimum fee, the driver would be charged for his or her exact usage time. The fee is calculated by applying a progressive hourly rate and is debited from the account associated with a card that was swiped earlier. The account remains open during the parking period, and concludes by confirming an exit command in a fashion much like that used in some parking garages. The fee is fair because it is based on the exact amount of time a driver uses the facility. In this method, there is no point of concern about the parking expiration time at the beginning of one’s time parked. Based on the current parking assets, the basic steps of proposed plan are framed here:

Proposed procedure for
parking fee collection

To ensure that turnover is not compromised and spots are not occupied for too long, the hourly rate is designed to rise progressively. The longer a vehicle is parked in a high-demand area, the higher the rate will be as time progresses. Our pricing scheme depends on the demand pattern, time of day, and potential special events. If the rate is $2 per hour in an existing two-hour limited zone, $4 per hour (for instance) can be set for the second two-hour period, and so on for the hours that follow. A fee catalog may be available to users on the meter’s screen.

This approach dismisses current parking time limits and manages turnover with efficient pricing. The progressive pricing scheme can do away with parking tickets due to expired meter time and recoup citation revenue. It may be prudent to program each receipt to expire at midnight. Also, there should be a minimum card balance (e.g. $50) for a cardholder to be permitted to park in the zone. A 10-minute delay now may cost only $1 and not $32.

Plan’s Benefits
The proposed meter pricing system eliminates parking citations, facilitates traffic that keeps moving, promotes businesses, and finances suppliers.

There is no need to invest in a specific device or additional features (e.g. camera or sensor) with this method.

The inexpensive technology to resolve this issue does not need to be invented. It is available and in use around the world to streamline fee collections of all kinds.

The idea is implementable and can be extended to most medium and large cities that have a high demand for downtown street parking.

Envisioned Limitations

Practical requirements of the plan should be addressed to ensure implementation that will mitigate the prompt need for law enforcement. A typical violation that should be controlled by ticketing is terminating the meter session prior to the user’s exit. A barcode on the receipt can verify the termination of a parking session more securely than swiping the card a second time. Inserting the receipt into the meter at the end of the parking session confirms the vehicle’s tag and account information. Therefore, every time there is no receipt on the dash, the vehicle can be subject to enforcement. Parking attendants simply check for a valid receipt, including date, tag number, and barcode, on the parked vehicle’s dash to ensure that the vehicle is in the loop. Neglecting to insert the receipt at exit time could lead to charging the account for the rest of the day. However, there are still some limitations in applying the proposed procedure. The requirement of a bank card is the major one; paper bills and coins are impractical in the proposed system. The plan still necessitates enforcement and requires patrolling by parking attendants.

A Preliminary Economic Analysis
One of the important factors in parking demand analysis is users’ willingness to pay parking fees when the rate is not static. Economic evaluation is based on the net social welfare, which is the difference between the social benefit and cost of a policy. According to the economic efficiency rule, to socially justify a transportation policy, the net social welfare should not decrease. In the case of static pricing for street parking in congested high-demand areas, if those users who benefit more do not have to pay more for it, demand for fixed facilities will increase. Equalizing the on-street meter fee to the off-street price has proved to minimize the socially wasteful parking search cost. Introducing variable parking rates due to demand fluctuations is both fair and economically efficient.

A preliminary economic evaluation of investment for the proposed method is not based on profitability, but on social welfare.

The key proposition of the proposed method is that the price increases with additional parking time. The rate is hourly but charges are minute-based. Considering that consumers are exempt from paying meter violation fees, consumers’ surplus will not reduce by charging a variable rate.

It may be argued that a city’s revenue will decrease because of the loss of fees from citations. However, the city can benefit from escalating rates. Nevertheless, with solely social welfare improvement, it is legitimate to advance this kind of fee collection system. If the current charges for each limit double incrementally, the new meter revenue will equal current total revenue (meter plus citation), assuming reasonable parking durations. Citizens would be more satisfied with the fair amount for using urban facilities.

Demand for parking, turnover, and parking duration are controlled by efficient pricing in the proposed model rather than by enforcement. It would be very costly for consumers to stay in a parking spot for a long time. It also features subsidy-free pricing, in which a group of users (the ones who are ticketed) do not pay for all other users and each user pays a fair parking fee. Although the implementation of such pricing policies may appear challenging to cities, similar to the remarkable precedent example of E-ZPass, this novel idea can efficiently qualify for the urban street parking fee collection.

Mansoureh Jeihani is an associate professor in the department of transportation and urban infrastructure Studies at Morgan State University. She can be reached at mansoureh.jeihani@morgan.edu.

Anam Ardeshiri is a doctorate candidate in the department of transportation and urban infrastructure Studies at Morgan State University. He can be reached at anard1@morgan.edu.

TPP-2013-04-On Abolishing Parking Citations



We often ask our friends and family to save us a place in line to purchase tickets at a concert venue, to get into a theatre, or for in-store promotions. Not as common but certainly a practice that occurs on a daily basis is a similar attempt to save parking spaces for friends or relatives.

One of the most common ways to do this is to have a person physically stand in an on- or off-street municipal or commercial public parking space to block a vehicle from parking in the space until their friend’s or family member’s vehicle arrives. The practice of trying to save a parking space is not without peril. None of the state or local jurisdictions surveyed has a law or ordinance prohibiting a person from attempting to save or reserve a parking space by standing it.

Recently, in separate incidents at a university parking lot in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cartersville, Ga., women stood in parking spaces to reserve them for drivers who were circling the parking lot. In both incidents, drivers of third-party vehicles wanted to park in the available spaces. Both women refused to vacate the spaces and were struck. The drivers of both vehicles were charged with either assault with a weapon (the car) or aggravated assault.

The Wal-Mart case is significant because the entire episode was captured by a parking lot security camera. The driver in this case was operating a Lexus SUV and drove into the 17-year-old woman attempting to save the space for her friend who had recently given birth. The operator of the SUV was a Cartersville, Ga., School Board member, who resigned after the video was aired and was charged.
These cases are not isolated. Two reported cases in New York, both involving women as the victims, included one being hit in the shins by a vehicle and one having her foot run over and being punched in the face hard enough to induce a coma.

Using Objects
Another common space-saving scenario occurs in areas that are subject to significant snowfalls. In these cases, a chair, garbage can, traffic cone, or other object is placed in an on-street parking space that has been cleared of snow by a local resident. In Boston, it is a time-honored practice for residents to shovel out parking spaces and claim them, sometimes for the entire winter. City of Boston ordinances do allow an individual who has cleared an on-street parking space of snow during a snow emergency to reserve the parking space for up to 48 hours.

The tradition of saving a parking space after a snowfall is sufficiently common in Pittsburgh that the term “Pittsburgh Parking Chair” has entered the lexicon and been shortened to “Parking Chair;” it can be found documented on Wikipedia. Although the city officially does not support the practice and states that anyone has a right to claim any available space, it also does not sanction persons who attempt to reserve parking spaces with barricades.

Other cities, such as Washington, D.C., and New York, expressly prohibit the practice of reserving on-street parking spaces using barricades or other objects or devices. In these cities, the reserving object is removed and the responsible parties are ticketed. In New York City, the penalty for barricading a municipal parking space is up to $2,000.

IPI members who provide on- and off-street public parking spaces should examine state laws and local ordinances to determine if reserving parking spaces is prohibited or allowed under certain circumstances. Members should also determine if there is a need to promulgate their own rules and regulations regarding the practice.

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



TPP-2013-04-EVs EVERYWHEREBy David Sandalow and Levi Tillemann, Ph.D.

For the U.S. parking industry, the question of electric vehicles (EVs) is not if they’ll come, but how soon? The answer is now.

The U.S. is already the world’s leading market for electric vehicles. In fact, EV sales in the U.S. tripled in 2012; Americans purchased more than 50,000 of them. They have won critical acclaim with awards such as Consumer Reports’ highest customer satisfaction vehicle (Chevy Volt), 2011 World Car of the Year (Nissan Leaf), and 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year (Tesla Model S). As EV sales grow, these cars will change the shape of America’s transportation and parking system.

This new age of transportation presents both an opportunity and a challenge for members of the International Parking Institute (IPI). Offering EV charging has the potential to draw new customers and profits. At the same time, new business models may need to be developed.

In recognition of this, the Department of Energy (DOE) is working with IPI to prepare America’s parking facilities for a growing EV population. DOE has launched a partnership called the Workplace Charging Challenge with an impressive group of industry leaders, including IPI, Google, Verizon, 3M, and Siemens, to help give EV owners the ability to charge at work (for more information, visit energy.gov/articles/ev-everywhere-charges-workplace). IPI is also developing a best practices manual on installing and operating EV charging stations. DOE and IPI are promoting cost-saving measures, such as planning for EV charging during new parking construction when ducting is economical and efficient to install. By thinking ahead and integrating charging elements into new construction, IPI members may be able to avoid expensive retrofits and deploy future charging stations at a fraction of the cost of installing systems later.

Growing the Market
Why do we want to encourage EVs? Today, 93 percent of our transportation fuel comes from petroleum, with far-reaching consequences for our country’s national security, economy, and environment. Although America’s petroleum imports have fallen in recent years, we still import about 45 percent of our oil, sending more than $1 billion overseas every day. As a society, our dependence on oil leaves us vulnerable to geopolitical crisis, exposes us to economic risks of volatile oil prices, and leads to local air pollution.

EVs can run on electricity from any number of sources (including sun, wind, and hydroelectric power). If it can be turned into electricity, it can fuel an EV. They are quiet and cheap to operate—the cost to fuel a vehicle with electricity is generally equivalent to about $1 per gallon of gasoline.

Readers of The Parking Professional likely know that cars spend about 96 percent of their time parked. Much of that is at the office during the day, as people attend meetings, answer emails, and word process. If the average EV driver plugs in on arriving at work in the morning, they may be able to substantially extend the distance they can drive on electricity.

The parking sector is uniquely positioned to enable common sense solutions to the current limitations of electric vehicles. While we make progress on building batteries that are cheaper and store more energy, workplace and destination charging can draw in customers and demonstrate a company’s commitment to sustainability.

The U.S. is at a turning point with our energy system. Robust leadership from the parking industry can help accelerate EV deployment and bring the benefits of these vehicles to our communities.

The Department of Energy wants to partner with leaders in America’s parking industry to pave the way for the future of our energy transition.

For more information on EV Everywhere, IPI’s role in this effort, and how your operation can participate, contact Henry Wallmeyer IPI’s deputy director, at wallmeyer@parking.org.

Levi Tillemann, Ph.D., is special advisor for policy and international affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

David Sandalow is the U.S. acting undersecretary for energy.


The Real Value of Parking

TPP-2013-04-The Real Value of ParkingBy Jim Zullo, CAPP

As most people who read The Parking Professional understand, being a parking professional is a particularly unique experience. We have all faced the blank stares of family members, former classmates, and even people on the street when they hear of our chosen career path for the first time.

Most people don’t grasp that there is an entire industry dedicated to where we park our cars, let alone a major annual conference with thousands of attendees coming together to learn even more about the latest and greatest trends, technologies, strategies, and advances in parking. However, once we enthusiastically explain the many different elements of parking that people take for granted (and the industry’s economic value), they start to understand. That’s when most of us reconfirm our passion for this industry.

The one thing people in any line of work can relate to is economics. In his renowned planning book, Edge City, author Joel Garreau states,“Parking has been the key determinant of human life since at least the seventh century B.C.” He goes on to say, “The pivot of urbanity and civilization is still, as it turns out, parking.”

We, of course, understand that parking and economic development go hand-in-hand, and that effective parking planning and management are critical to the free flow of traffic, public safety, business success, residential quality of life, and the health and vibrancy of our cities and towns. However, I think most of us would agree that a significant portion of parking in communities and municipalities remains under-used.

Several years ago, when the real estate market was booming and municipal coffers were relatively full, it may not have been as important for communities to maximize their parking assets. During the past five years, however, it has become imperative that municipal leaders understand the economic development potential well-managed parking systems offer their communities. There are many examples across the country of well-run parking systems that serve as key components to the economic development of their communities. Many of us have had the good fortune to work with these parking organizations and we recognize that these communities have a distinct advantage as the trends of smart growth, transit-oriented development, and revitalization move forward post-recession.

When municipal parking is well-managed and operated to maximize its value, the associated revenues become indispensable to funding various initiatives and improvements that support economic development. They can fund streetscape improvements and maintenance, security, repairs to existing parking infrastructure, and new parking facilities. They provide meaningful community services and infrastructure improvements and make a town more desirable to residents, retailers, investors, and developers. The well-managed parking system and investment of parking revenues illustrate to developers and potential private sector partners that the municipality is proactive, dynamic, and willing to be a partner in economic and urban development.

To the greatest extent possible, municipal parking assets should be managed as a single responsibility center. A dedicated parking department can concentrate necessary resources and support on issues such as pricing, technology, enforcement, maintenance, and planning for new facilities. Further, it is important that municipal leaders afford parking department staff opportunities to increase their knowledge of the latest and most effective parking technologies, operations, and management trends so they are continually exposed to ideas that will improve their parking systems and ultimately reap significant economic development rewards.

Every parking space in an urban community or downtown center is essential real estate that must be effectively used to support economic growth. What is this real estate worth in your town? Is it managed in a way that best supports local businesses and residents? Is its value appropriately priced to generate revenue to support initiatives, improvements, land banking, and development to contribute to economic vitality?

As we all come together next month for IPI’s annual gathering of parking professionals, we have a great opportunity to generate and share the ideas that will have positive effects on our communities. When this is accomplished, our work as parking professionals is truly at its best.

Jim Zullo, CAPP, is vice president of Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc., and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at jzullo@timhaahs.com or 484.342.0200.

TPP-2013-04-The Real Value of Parking