Tag Archives: TPP-2013-12

Urban Parking as Economic Solution

TPP-2013-12-Urban Parking as Economic SolutionBy Andrew R. Long

The past generations have been ominous for many cities as urban sprawl, prompted by easier transportation and cheaper land outside of cities, has caused an increased population migration from urban to suburban areas. In the past decade, however, cities have seen a divergence from this trend. The younger generation, spurred by the idea of urban walkability, is eager to re-inhabit cities. Urban areas are gearing up for this wave of population by emphasizing multifamily property, considering highest and best use, and developing mass transit.

One factor that will stay constant throughout the infill of urban America is the importance of passenger vehicles and parking. Many cities are trying to figure out how to design and manage their parking infrastructures more efficiently. With urban revitalization efforts underway in many cities, the timing is opportune for instituting changes in parking infrastructure and transportation behavior.

It is projected that by the year 2050, 460 million people will live in the U.S. An increasing population translates into an increasing number of passenger cars. In 2012, there were approximately 300 million registered cars in the U.S.; that represents half of the world’s passenger cars. This number is sure to grow in the coming years as America continues to rebuild its infrastructure and as its economy rebounds. Because the supply of cars is due to increase, the demand for parking will likewise increase.

Just how important is parking? MIT Professor and author Eran Ben-Joseph, Ph.D., estimates there are 800 million surface parking spaces in the U.S. This translates into an area larger than Puerto Rico. For every passenger car in the U.S., there are eight nonresidential parking spaces in most urban areas, and in some cities as many as 30 spaces per car. In some urban cities, parking lots cover an entire third of the land area downtown. Annually, off-street parking costs three times more than on-street. Ultimately, parking is a dynamic aspect of urban development, as it involves the consideration of social, environmental, financial, economic, and developmental aspects.

Parking and Economic Development
During the urban sprawl movement, residential population wasn’t the only factor to relocate as businesses, jobs, and capital spilled out of the cities. Parking is directly correlated to economic development, as one open on-street parking space is valued at $20,000 per year in revenue to local businesses and the local government.

Ben-Joseph wrote in his book, Re-Thinking a Lot, “Generous parking requirements and low parking prices tend to discourage infill development and encourage sprawl. As a result, it tends to increase per capita vehicle ownership and use and reduces the viability of other modes such as walking, cycling and public transit.” (See the May 2012 issue of The Parking Professional.)

Adequate parking will increase the value of residential, retail, multifamily, and commercial property. Low-income housing could be affected by parking, because parking represents about 10 percent of typical building development costs and sometimes more, particularly for urban redevelopment. Generous residential parking requirements tend to reduce housing affordability. Parking is often seen as a problem for affordable housing, as it drives up cost for tenants and often forces the development to relocate to another location where land is cheaper but farther away from amenities such as public transit. These make parking a unique challenge for planners and developers.

The struggle many cities are facing is keeping a balanced ratio of population to parking spaces. As urban development grows, parking must also increase, but determining the appropriate amount is challenging as too little parking could inhibit further growth and too much is wasted area that could be used for other economic purposes. With each on-street spot valued at $20,000 per year in revenue to the local economy, keeping the balance is simple economics, but it creates a unique challenge for most cities.

San Francisco is experimenting with a revolutionary new way to manage on-street parking. By determining the population of each block and distributing parking spaces, and meters accordingly, the system SFpark is able to charge different rates at meters depending on demand, day of the week, and time of day. This system helps reduce traffic congestion, consumer waiting time, and emissions from vehicles while increasing the amount of open, on-street parking spaces available to consumers. Donald Shoup, Ph.D., of UCLA developed demand-based parking, which strives to maintain an 85 to 15 percent ratio of parked cars to vacant spaces. SFpark accomplishes this by setting variable prices at meters based on the demand for that particular area. By making these rates as well as traffic congestion available online and through any smartphone, SFpark enables citizens to decide whether they should walk, take public transit, or drive their own vehicles. Innovative, efficient systems such as this will continue to grow in popularity around the U.S. as the demand for improved urban parking increases.

Unique Solutions
Each kind of parking option presents a unique solution to the question of modern urban parking. Surface lots are the most common, consisting of paved asphalt or concrete with scattered planter beds and trees for minimal green space. A typical parking space is 8 to 10 feet wide and 18 to 20 feet long, which averages about 144 to 200 square feet per parking space. However, urban planners generally allow for 330 square feet per space in off-street parking.

Surface lots are popular because of their affordability in comparison to other parking structures. In 2012, a surface lot parking space cost an average of $4,500 to construct. They are also the easiest and quickest in terms of construction. The uses of a surface lot do not stop at parking, as many are used for local festivals, charity fundraisers, and local farmers markets.

Surface lots are not without their negative effects, however. One must keep in mind the opportunity cost of constructing a surface lot in an urban area; in most cases, this is the number of parking spaces given up by not constructing a parking structure or another building that could stimulate economic growth. Highest and best use of an area must also be considered, as a surface lot could be better used as a restaurant or other form of business that could generate tax revenue.

Asphalt parking lots must be repaved every 20 years, whereas a parking structure can last 50 years without major reconstruction. “A better parking lot might be covered with solar canopies so that it could produce energy while lowering heat. Or perhaps it would be surfaced with a permeable material like porous asphalt and planted with trees in rows like an apple orchard, so that it could sequester carbon and clean contaminated runoff,” writes Ben-Joseph. Surface lots are unique as they are some of the few places where pedestrians and cars can coexist. Ultimately, surface parking lots should be considered when there is a small demand for parking, if the cost of land is inexpensive, and if green methods can be implemented to increase their functionality.

Above-ground structural parking offers a vertical solution, allowing for more parking spaces per acre of urban land than surface lots, but at a higher cost. Structured parking requires more capital investment and longer construction times than surface lots. However, parking garages have more longevity than surface lots. For the average five-story, 145,000-square-foot parking garage, the estimated construction cost is $8.56 million. This means the construction cost for one structured parking space is $22,688.

Cost of maintenance must also be considered in parking garages; this could include cleaning crews, gate operators, and security. Parking structures must be equipped with proper ventilation, elevators, and fire escape routes.

Parking structures can be separate from or attached to the building which they serve. The “Texas-donut” style of parking structure—plain decks defined by surrounding buildings—allows for a more dense-built environment, while increasing the aesthetics of a development by essentially hiding the parking facility behind the façade of other structures. Texas-donut style also provides for a more secure parking garage than a traditional, on-street parking structure. Essentially, vehicles and pedestrians in a Texas-donut style facility will be subjected to less crime than a parking garage whose façade is open to the street. Ultimately, structured parking should be considered when demand for parking is high, and the cost of land is expensive.

Underground parking is the third and most expensive option for urban parking. The most costly aspect of sub-terrestrial parking is the excavation. Construction cost of one underground parking space is between $34,000 and $45,000. A two-story, 100,000-square-foot underground parking facility is estimated to cost $6.9 million.

Underground structures are more challenging from an engineering and geological standpoint. They must include ventilation, hydraulic pumps, and proper rainwater disposal. During Hurricane Sandy, an underground parking lot employee in New York City died due to the inadequate water disposal system and the rising floodwater. Nevertheless, one benefit of underground parking is the undisturbed aesthetics of the urban landscape, because the parking area is seemingly hidden.

This beneficial attribute can also cause problems with the underground infrastructure of subways. The opportunity cost associated with underground parking is the immense amount of capital that could be spent on other aspects of the city. Underground facilities are mainly used in areas where land is expensive and capital reserves are high. Ultimately, this form of parking is not conducive for many urban areas, yet if a city places a high priority on maintaining aesthetic beauty, sub-terrestrial parking could be a beneficial option.

Mechanical stacking is the most modern form of urban parking available today. Essentially, a hydraulic system lifts cars into vertical slots, similar to a large-scale forklift at a home improvement store. Many European countries have experimented with this form of parking and believe it can revolutionize urban parking. However, each space is estimated to cost eight times the amount of one surface lot, which translates to $36,000.

This form of parking removes the component of human error when parking. It also eliminates the necessity of human design elements such as elevators, fire escapes, and ventilation. This allows for more dense parking, which means more urban area will be left open for development.

When compared to the other three forms, this style of parking requires the least amount of regular maintenance. Because these parking facilities are almost exclusively run by mechanical systems, there is essentially no crime. Conversely, the main hindrance to this form of parking is the cost of the technology; because of this, cities have been hesitant to commit to this form of urban parking.


The final aspect of parking that should be taken into consideration is that of ownership and control. Who should have ownership of a city’s parking services? Similarly, who should control them?

Typically, the local government retains ownership of most of its parking lots and facilities, and occasionally grants control to private companies. Most cities hire management companies to operate the facilities or create a parking authority that is a quasi-governmental unit to operate both off- and on-street parking operations. In 2008, Chicago made history by selling the ownership of all parking meters to a private corporation for a 75-year period for $1.15 billion. Chicago has come under criticism since then and its own Inspector General’s office determined after analysis they should have negotiated a shorter lease period as they left significant future earnings of $1.3 to $2.5 billion on the table. News headlines have called Chicago the poster child of everything that can go wrong with privatization. However, public-private partnerships allow local governments to blend the best of both worlds in which the government can ensure that citizens and taxpayers are best served in the long run while private investment can provide the influx of capital needed to build or maintain parking assets, driving economic development.

This revolutionary transition from public to private has not gone unnoticed by other cities. Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh have each conducted feasibility studies about the possibility of implementing similar parking systems. New York City and Cincinnati are in the process of leasing parking meters to a private entity. Parking authorities are another example of a unique solution to the question of urban parking in America.

Ultimately, parking plays and will continue to play an essential role in the revitalization of urban areas. Each form of parking structure has its own benefits and disadvantages. Similarly, each form of parking structure has its effect on the environment. Technology will surely weigh heavily into operation of parking facilities in the future. Each city in America is unique which means collaboration between planners, local government, and the public is essential to creating a sustainable parking system for each individual city. As governments face budget deficits and must leverage the assets of parking facilities, they will be forced to look at public-private partnerships. To cite the phrase, “If you build it they will come.” But without building and investing in parking facilities, they will not come. Parking drives economic development perhaps more than ever in today’s urban resurgence.

Andrew R. Long is a student at Virginia Tech majoring in building construction with a minor in green engineering. He can be reached at arl11@vt.edu

TPP-2013-12-Urban Parking as Economic Solution

Garage Gallery

TPP-2013-12-Lessons LearnedBy Erin Galat

In 2012, American Style Magazine named Jacksonville the 15th top city for art in the U.S. Since that time, the public art movement for this northeast Florida city has only grown stronger and picked up a broader selection of canvases along the way. Jacksonville recently welcomed a new addition to its public art collection: The Yates Parking Garage, a downtown, city-owned facility that is home to one of the city’s largest outdoor murals.

While public art isn’t a new concept, it’s had a large effect on Jacksonville, where many residents are beginning to realize that art isn’t always confined to a formal gallery. Parking garages, benches, bus stops, trash receptacles, and newspaper bins can all be transformed through art, which not only beautifies everyday functional items, but also creates a city’s identity and shapes its reputation. Paris’ Place du Tertre, Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, and Asheville, N.C.s River Arts District are all examples of placemaking as defined by artists and their work.

Many agree that Jacksonville is teeming with possible art canvases. The Yates Parking Garage murals have paved the way for large-scale murals to be realized.

Art in Public Places
The Yates Garage murals were commissioned by the City of Jacksonville’s Art in Public Places Program, which exists to provide responsible stewardship and maintenance of the city’s public art collection. Christie Holechek is the Art in Public Places Program director, and together with an appointed committee, manages the process of acquiring new works for the city’s public art collection.

Holechek believes many locals are starting to realize their communities can benefit greatly when the city invests in creators.

“Several of Jacksonville’s residents living and working in the urban core are enthusiastic that the city is leveraging its community assets to produce street murals on public buildings,” she says. “They claim that the city is overdue for arts integration, and many have witnessed other cities similar to Jacksonville showcase their artists better. Those cities are now thriving because of it.”

The Murals
In December 2012, the Art in Public Places committee issued a call to artists for mural design proposals. The committee’s selection panel was comprised of art and community professionals who were tasked with ranking each proposal on artistic excellence, sustainability, related artist experience, level of city engagement, and improvement of the pedestrian environment. The winning proposals were announced in February 2013 and the artists began work in June.

The first set of murals feature an abstract approach to honoring the St. Johns River, which is the city’s iconic waterway that runs directly through the downtown urban core. “Coruscating River,” by St. Augustine artists Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre of Milagros Art Collective, is best seen by drivers entering downtown from the Hart Bridge Expressway—a main thoroughfare carrying more than 50,000 motorists each day.

“Girl and Origami” is a symbolic creation from Neptune Beach artist Sean Mahan, meant to express the harmonious interaction between a girl and her environment. Mahan’s mural is designed to engage pedestrians at the street level and serve as a visual connector to accessible public parking.

Covering a 50-foot canvas is no small feat for artists, and there’s tremendous skill required in the meticulous scaling and proportion that’s used to transform the designs from their original proposal renderings. Each day, the artists painted for six to eight hours, all while strapped to a safety harness inside a cherry-picker lift platform. The murals were complete in just four weeks.

Despite the fast pace, Holechek explains that the Art in Public Places Program places the highest emphasis on sustainability and maintenance. For example, lighting units will illuminate the murals from the roof of the garage at night rather than at street level, greatly reducing the possibility of vandalism. Months before the first brush touched the stair tower “canvas,” the committee and artists agreed on the best choice of materials to maximize the murals’ sustainability. This included a thorough pressure washing, primer, and weather-resistant paint that included UV protection properties. The four murals are expected to thrive for seven years, when the first round of maintenance will be performed.

The sustainability of the materials on the parking garage play an even larger role: shaping Jacksonville’s identity.

“On highly-visible and accessible building façades, artists will create visual snapshots in the context of our city to produce public art that is sustainable and able to survive from one generation to the next. As a result, Jacksonville’s diverse culture and often-understated history will endure as lasting infrastructure, further shaping and showcasing the city’s identity well into the future,” Holechek says.

The Spark District
Despite the beautiful backdrop of the St. Johns River and a growing restaurant/bar scene, downtown Jacksonville has long combatted an unwelcome state of quiet inactivity on evenings and weekends, after its workforce of 55,000 leave their corporate office buildings and exit the area to commute to the suburbs. In response to this need for downtown revitalization, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville created a walkable, defined arts sector in the urban core called the Spark District, which will feature pedestrian-level arts experiences that will draw locals and visitors alike, ultimately growing the economic footprint.

Holechek works hand-in-hand with the Cultural Council, and the Yates Garage murals intentionally fall into this jurisdiction and act as a gateway to the Spark District.

“Large in scale for the greatest impact, the four 50-foot Yates murals serve as one of four gateways leading into the Spark District, an arts district giving audiences a destination place at the city’s center to experience creative energy and vibrant streetscapes. Each gateway is intended to be highly visible and accessible to both pedestrians and vehicles at the street level,” Holechek says.

Public Reaction
Tiffany Manning served as the official photographer for the project. She frequented the mural site every couple of days at various times to capture images. She was pleased to see the positive response from pedestrians, drivers, and garage patrons.

“I thought it was really interesting during the times when I was out there documenting the traffic that drove by would always do a double take and I would find them staring at the wall instead of paying attention to the stoplight! Lots of smiles, lots of honks, and people just very excited about what was happening. People would yell encouragement out the window and talk about how great what the artists were doing was for downtown,” she says

Manning witnessed a consistent curiosity that became a mainstay for those in the immediate vicinity.

“There would be people who would come and check almost daily,” she explains. “The same group of office workers would come out and get an update on the progress. They were all so excited about what was being created right around the corner from their office. It did a little bit of spirit lifting, I think. And the general excitement level was pretty phenomenal.”

Best Practices
The Yates Parking Garage is a city-owned facility, so the partnership between the Art in Public Places team and the city’s parking department needed to be strong.

City of Jacksonville Public Parking Officer Jack Shad said the mural process was a positive experience for his staff. His advice for other parking professionals interested in incorporating public art into their facilities is to have multiple professionals evaluate the design submissions.

“I think the public process and the expertise that the Cultural Council brought to the selection really gave some credibility to the artwork, so it wasn’t just, ‘This is what the parking director likes,’” he says. “The best submissions were decided by a group of stakeholders and done very professionally.”

Shad believes the murals have obvious benefits for both the garage owner and garage customers.

“I’m hoping in the long run that these projects will increase our business a little bit,” he says. “To most people, all parking garages look alike, so if you can be the one that’s distinctive, it helps people remember where you are and you become a landmark. And, hopefully, that will lead to more people coming in. These types of projects give people a reason to go downtown and everybody benefits from that.”

Erin Galat is communications manager for the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. She can be reached at erin@culturalcouncil.org or 904.358.3600.

TPP-2013-12-Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

TPP-2013-12-Lessons LearnedBy Diane Confer, CAPP

What do you do when you have a large garage that’s nearly half empty despite rates that are already lower than other garages in the area? As parking professionals, isn’t our job to fully utilize our resources and keep garages at full occupancy to maximize our revenue and keep customers happy? Half-empty garages don’t accomp­lish any of that.

That’s exactly what the situation was at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Braeswood Garage. The 2,400-space garage opened in October 2008, and one year later, had about 62 percent occupancy. The cost to regular parkers was $100 per month, and actual revenue was close to 58 percent below budget; it was $76,495 below budget per month and without changes, would end up being about $918,000 below budget for the year. There was plenty of surface parking in the area and employees opted for those less expensive lots instead of parking in the garage. In short, there were more than 1,000 customers of those surface lots who were potential garage users. We had to market our garage and make it appealing to them. We found success in a surprising place, and learned some great lessons along the way.

Lesson 1: Know your Goal
Our goal was to increase use and occupancy of the Braeswood garage. When we started, occupancy lingered around 62 percent, leaving approximately 1,000 spaces available. Our goal was also to increase revenue to within 2 percent of the budget.
Learned: You will have to sell your idea to various groups before it can ever get implemented. Be able to articulate the goal and answer questions regarding its feasibility and longevity.

Lesson 2: Be Realistic
When the garage first opened to drivers, occupancy was low: our 2,400-car structure sat half-empty. Data showed that given excess supply, price drove occupancy. We had a few options for increasing use and revenue in the garage:

Restrict access to other locations. This was not feasible because several third-party companies provided parking very close by, and our employees could choose where they wanted to park.

Change to a lower, flat rate. We had already determined that the budget we created was needed to offset the principle and interest to build the garage. Lowering the rate to match that of the surface lots around us was not a financial possibility.

Tier the rate. We could make up for lower tiered rates with increased occupancy, which would help maximize our garage and provide opportunities for garage parking for all employees. Salary-based tiered parking is not a new concept; many academic institutions subscribe to this method across the country.

Learned: Be realistic in your desire to make changes. Outline various options and pros and cons; each can help in deciding the right course of action.

Lesson 3: Prepare an Analysis
We determined that a tiered rate might be the way to go for our garage. However, we needed to make sure that we could offer a lowest tier that was close to or less expensive than the rates offered by nearby surface lots. Analyses and forecasts were created to help make that determination as outlined in the decision tree above.

Learned: Once you determine your options, you have to decide which one works best for you. Preparing a process/decision analysis on the approach you want to take will help you determine if it is a realistic approach. It will allow you to see if the outcome will be favorable or just a lot of wasted time.

Lesson 4: Plan the Improvement
The first thing we did was talk to those in the parking industry who had or currently have tiered parking rates at their institutions and get their feedback. There were several and the reviews were mixed; most liked the idea but admitted it created extra work to keep the tiers accurate and make sure employees paid the right amount as their incomes increased.

Next, we had to get buy-in from upper management and various councils, including the diversity council, human resources, internal communications, parking and transportation advisory committee, executive management, and legal. All seemed to like the idea and wanted us to take it further. Human resources buy-in was a big step, as they would have to help us verify employee salary grades during our audits every year. They were willing and able.

Next, we had to get a feel from our customers if this was something they wanted. Several focus groups were held with customers of the Braeswood garage. Although there were some who said a gallon of milk costs the same no matter your income and parking should too, the overwhelming majority thought tiered rates was a great idea, including those who would pay the highest rate. We made a point to ensure that no customer’s rate would go up from where it started, and no one tier would subsidize another. Once we felt our customers were on board, we needed to get started.

We worked with human resources to create three garage rate band categories based on employee salary grade. Each rate band was assigned a percentage of spaces in the garage. When those assigned spaces were fully used, the specific rate band would be considered full and a wait list would be created. We did not need or want to know exact salaries—just salary grade based on title. We used the minimum salary as our guide and came up with the following tiered rates:

$100: Minimum salary grade above $70,000; no maximum number of spaces.

$85: Minimum salary grade between $40,000 and $70,000; maximum of 602 spaces.

$60: Minimum salary grade of less than $40,000; maximum of 1,300 spaces.

Revised budgets were created using the new rates. Although the proposed budget did not match the original, it was estimated that we would increase our annual revenue by at least $600,000.

Learned: Time and effort goes into this step. Communication is key. There will be several areas within your organization that will need to be aware, provide input, and possibly help make the implementation a success. And don’t forget the customers. You can have the best plan but if the customers are not interested, you could find yourself in a worse situation. Talk to other organizations that have implemented your idea and learn from them. Find out what went well and what to look out for. This can save you time and frustration.

Lesson 5: Implement the Change
Parking worked with human resources to identify the salary grades of all the current customers in the garage. Once that was determined, we communicated new rates and effective dates with all customers. All were paying $100 and now some would pay $60 or $85. Changes were made in our system to identify their new rates while other changes were made in the accounting system to adjust payroll deductions accordingly. Once existing customers were taken care of, we worked with the internal communications department to offer the tiered rate to employees who parked elsewhere.

Learned: Make sure you give yourself enough time to adequately implement the change. Changing rates can be easy, but communication and making software and payroll deduction changes can take some time. Don’t cut yourself short when communicating the change and the effective date.

Lesson 6: Measure Improvements
Improvement was measured by comparing occupancy numbers before and after the new rate structure was implemented. After one month, we had 807 additional contracts in the garage and revenue had increased by $29,595. After six months of implementation, there was a 92 percent increase in occupancy and a 45 percent increase in revenue; a sample month is illustrated above.

Customer and client benefits included an increase of affordable parking options and closer parking that reduced commute times. MD Anderson benefits via satisfied employees who fill the garage and increased revenue. The tiered parking structure in this garage proved to be a success.

Three years after tiered pricing implementation, occupancy remains around 120 percent. Revenue is budgeted on the tiered system and we have remained within 2 percent of budget for the past three years. The biggest challenge to the tiered system is the salary audit done twice a year to confirm employee rate bands. Customers are still excited when they can get garage parking at $60 per month. We have since built a new garage and started off with the tiered rate.

Tiered pricing may not be for everyone, but it worked for us.

Diane Confer, CAPP, is manager of support services and transportation at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She can be reached at dconfer@mdanderson.org or 713.794.1866.

TPP-2013-12-Lessons Learned

Greening the Lot

TPP-2013-12-Greening the LotBy Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, LEED Green Associate

It’s an overcast day in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but that doesn’t stop dozens of parking professionals from boarding a shuttle bus to tour a recently upgraded sustainable parking operation. On the way, Green Parking Council (GPC) Executive Director Paul Wessel and Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM, vice president of strategic business planning and sustainability, Timothy Haahs & Associates, discuss the background of the Greening the Lot project. The brainchild of Brian McKelliget, City of Fort Lauderdale parking service manager, Wessel, and Yoka, Greening the Lot was hosted during the 2013 International Parking Institute (IPI) Conference & Expo by IPI, the GPC, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and Timothy Haahs & Associates.

The team embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to “green” one of its municipal parking lots, leading the way in exploring sustainability in surface parking. The collaboration sought to design and construct one of the greenest parking lots in existance as a demonstration site for best practices, new technology, and innovative strategies. The program redesigned and retrofitted the Orchid Lot, adjacent to City Hall, as the pilot site to showcase strategies and educate both parking professionals and the general public.

Exploring the Lot
As the shuttle bus approaches the parking lot, the clouds part and the sun shines as if to welcome us—a positive sign. The first thing that catches the attention of those on board is the aesthetically-pleasing fawn-hued surface lot coating. Applied by Street Bond, the coating was reported by McKelligett to have reduced the heat island effect of the lot by 40 percent. This particular coating has a solar reflectance index (SRI; it measures a surface’s ability to stay cool by reflecting solar radiation) of 35; compare that to typical asphalt, which has a SRI of zero. In addition to the coating, the operation installed two pervious parking spaces. It rained all morning the day of the Greening the Lot tour and was quite eye-opening to see the two dry pervious parking spaces only a few feet away from rainwater puddles accumulated in a neighboring impervious drive lane.

We gather around McKelligett as he explains that the Orchid Lot serves Fort Lauderdale City Hall and is in a prime location only a few blocks away from a bus station, giving it easy access to mass transit. Even the payment method is green, as the lot uses solar-powered IPS meters that integrate with pay-by-cell wireless technology provided by PayByPhone.

One benefit of greening a parking lot is simple aesthetics. The Orchid Lot is a beautiful location in which to park. The landscaping is visually pleasing while requiring minimal to no irrigation, thus conserving water resources. One of the best parts of the landscaping was a temporary corner pocket park. This parklet integrated nature into an urban environment, providing a picnic table and chairs that also gave the space another use that would make Eran Ben-Joseph, author of ReThinking a Lot, proud.

The lighting was retrofitted with an induction solution as well as an LED solution, both provided by ECO Parking Lights. These lighting modifications achieve a 35 to 50 percent reduction in energy use and will last four to six times longer than traditional lights. Conventional wisdom holds that more efficient lighting typically leads to a safer parking lot. And in general, greening a parking lot often leads to a higher sense of safety and security. A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania found that greening parking lots led to a decrease in crime, which helps nearby residents feel safer.

Also on display at the lot were electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by Carcharging, a bicycle sharing program by B-cycle, and three EVs—a Chevy Volt, a Nissan Leaf, and a Fisker Karma—provided by the Southeast Florida Clean Coalition. One attendee took one of the bike sharing bicycles out for a joy ride while others took turns getting their picture taken inside the Fisker Karma. The vendors were pleasant and professional, answering the many questions that the parking professionals brought to the table.

After touring the Orchid Lot, the next stop on the trip is to check out the city’s sustainable on-street initiatives. We all take different sustainable methods of transportation to a nearby on-street city block. One person chooses to bike, several take a solar-powered bus, some walk, and many carpool in one of the EVs.

I am fortunate to experience my first trip in a fully-electric vehicle: a Nissan Leaf owned by Carlos DeJesus, owner of Crown Electric. The first thing that stands out is how quiet the vehicle is. It starts with a push of a button and there is no typical start-up sound. The vehicle carries us smoothly to our destination while DeJesus gives us some background on the benefits of driving a fully-electric vehicle. “It’s so convenient. I just unplug and go,” says DeJesus.

We arrive at the demonstrator on-street site, and the closest parking spot is a small one that would require an excellent parallel parking job; it’s one I’d shy away from attempting. But DeJesus has no fear. EVs are smaller than their gasoline-powered counterparts, and with the help of the vehicle’s backup camera, parking is a cinch, demonstrating yet another benefit of driving an EV.

After we all arrive at the on-street city block, representatives from Streetline and IPS demonstrate street sensors and parking meter integration. Having read close to everything there is to read about street sensors, it is beneficial to actually see them in action. Parking Operations Supervisor Jeff Davis shares some background on the project while some of his staff provide additional enforcement demonstrations.

All in all, the parking professionals left delighted, having experiencing first-hand all of the various innovative green strategies and enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with like-minded professionals. “It was great to see the various aspects of greening incorporated into the surface parking lot in the city of Fort Lauderdale. Kudos to them for taking the initiative,” says Larry Cohen, CAPP, executive director, Lancaster Parking Authority.

IPI and the GPC will embark on a second “Greening the Lot” project at the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo, June 1-4, in Dallas. We look forward to building on the success of the first project and advancing our efforts!

Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, LEED Green Associate, is a general manager for Republic Parking System. He can be reached at imouw@republicparking.com or 502.574.1497.

TPP-2013-12-Greening the Lot

Along the Curb

TPP-2013-12-Along the CurbBy Clement Gibson, CAPP, and Doreen Szymanski

The city of Charlotte is reorganizing curb lane use in its uptown area and erecting newly-
designed signage that communicates the changes to motorists. Through an integrated approach for all of Charlotte’s uptown streets, curb lane users will discover a more uniform use pattern that communicates what is allowed and where. Charlotte’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) has implemented a pilot project on its main street—Tryon St.—that is considered successful.

Charlotte has seen significant growth the past two decades, with the population growing from 350,000 to 750,000. Since the reinstatement of metered parking in 1997, uptown land uses have changed significantly. Uptown Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing national metropolitan areas in the U.S., and the city’s uptown boasts more than 70,000 workers, more than 13,000 residents, 120 restaurants, and 50 nightspots. The city has a National Football League stadium, a National Basketball Association sports arena, several cultural venues, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and a AAA-class baseball park under construction, along with an urban park. The on-street parking system now has 1,200 metered public parking spaces that share curb space with other competing interests, and the system continues to improve and grow.

A Study is Born
Charlotte’s growth has generated additional demand for curb lane use, including commercial and passenger loading zones (i.e., delivery, valet, taxi services, and kiss and rides), and on-street parking spaces that attract uptown visitors. Over the years, as requests were made for changing curb uses, CDOT tried to become all things to all people, and as the saying goes, “please all, please none.” As motorists’ and elected officials’ complaints escalated and the city’s parking office noted increasing numbers of irate customers and parking citation appeals, city officials decided it was time to reevaluate one of its most valuable assets—the curb lane.

In the summer of 2011, CDOT issued a request for proposal for a curb lane management study. Subsequently, the city contracted with Kimley-Horn and Associates to evaluate existing uptown area curb lane uses, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the uptown experience for all users. The contractor was asked to be consistent with the city’s Center City Transportation Plan, which places a priority on the pedestrian experience.

In support of the study goals, street priorities were identified by type to
determine which curb lane uses should take precedence over others. Block face templates were created that standardized uses along the curb face to address motorist expectations while providing guidance for current and future changes. Staff was able to consolidate the many alternatives into one master template that provides sufficient flexibility to implement in almost all blocks. The template requires all loading to take place at block ends, with public parking located in the center section. However, when other uses are not needed in a block, public parking is permitted along the entire block.


Following the successful outcome of the signage preference survey, CDOT implemented the pilot project on Tryon Street, which had the most highly used curb lane in uptown. Testing the street could be the best of times or the worst of times. CDOT personnel felt confident that redistributing curb uses according to the template and installing new signage were steps that would guarantee a positive outcome.

The Curb Lane Management Study recommended removal of existing rush hour restrictions on Tryon Street. CDOT eagerly took advantage of the opportunity to remove those restrictions. This decision was also supported in the Center City Transportation Plan and by Charlotte’s uptown development agency, Charlotte Center City Partners.

On the positive side, CDOT knew:

  • If the signage worked on the most highly-used curb lanes uptown, it should work on all streets.
  • The process included the opportunity to locate appropriate areas and install the area’s first on-street accessible spaces.
  • Signage installation, meter removals and installations, and pavement markings would cost less than $20,000.

There were concerns too:

  • The Democratic National Convention was coming to Charlotte. Curb lane management changes had to be made quickly or deferred until after the massive event. It was everyone’s desire to have the work completed prior to the convention.
  • Charlotte is always touted by visitors as being a very clean city. The city’s Solid Waste Services Department is proud of its efforts along these lines, and expressed concerns about street cleaning and waste removal after the planned changes in parking regulations took place. In the past, they performed this work during the rush hour restrictions. However, they agreed to adjust their hours for the test.
  • City crews tried to minimize the installation of additional poles in granite curbing and tree wells, and it was essential to use existing poles for sign installation. This required an inventory of every pole on the street and its location.

City staff walked the nearly mile-long street numerous times to inventory poles and note existing uses, and determine future curb use allocation. That information translated into work orders, and the project was quickly implemented.

Measuring Success
One of CDOT’s challenges is measuring pilot project success. The goal to reduce motorist confusion about where and when parking is allowed is closely tied to parking sign messages. By removing rush hour restrictions, the most complicated and confusing signage was also eliminated. Ticketing statistics for sign violations have remained steady outside of what used to be the rush hour restricted areas. Also, with an improving economy there is an increase in visitors to Charlotte’s uptown. For CDOT staff, it is obvious that tickets and revenues provide a more solid data tool, but data that includes all influencing factors is difficult to obtain. Nevertheless, city staff has deemed the pilot project a success based on a more soft science: fewer complaints. In particular, there have been no complaints by elected officials, and with removal of the rush hour restrictions, fewer tickets and tows.

  • The city is now reallocating curb lane uses based on other uptown streets in a phased approach as funding is available. City staff also:
  • Evaluates streets in conjunction with development and adjust uses as dictated by those changes.
  • Evaluates and changes curb use as the city converts some streets from one-way to two-way operation (in particular around the new baseball park, which is under construction).
  • Reviews issues by citizen request and implements identified changes if doing so does not create additional confusion for motorists.

Charlotte has a bright future. It continues to be one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, and the city is intent on maintaining an uptown that is welcoming and inviting to all. The Curb Lane Management Study and its findings help ensure that we’ll meet those goals.

Doreen Szymanski is public service and communications division manager with the City of Charlotte. She can be reached at dszymanski@ci.charlotte.nc.us or 704.336.4293.

Clement Gibson, CAPP, is special programs manager with the City of Charlotte Department of Transportation. She can be reached at cgibson@ci.charlotte.nc.us or 704.336.4905.

TPP-2013-12-Along the Curb

Parking Space Invaders

TPP-2013-12-Parking Space InvadersBy Christopher Speers, CAPP

I have to admit right from the start that I did a double take when I received my first call in 2012 from the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP). They were inquiring about the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s interest in collaborating with BikePgh—the city’s main bicycle advocacy group—to build a bicycle station.

The pitch the PDP made surrounded what was known as Project Pop-Up: Downtown. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl launched the program in conjunction with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Department of City Planning, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, with a goal to activate and reinvigorate downtown Pittsburgh storefronts. “We’ve made it a priority to bring downtown back to life,” said the mayor. “New office tenants, residential properties, and the renovated Market Square are part of that vision. For retail, Project Pop Up Pittsburgh: Downtown is a great tool to inject life and energy into the downtown business district.”

Here’s how the program works: Local artists, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and other interested parties submit proposals to temporarily activate empty downtown Pittsburgh storefronts. Finalists are then invited to “pop” into downtown for limited engagements using grants of up to $10,000. Some notable projects include:

Dream Cream Ice Cream. More than just a great place for a scoop. A portion of designated flavor sales will be contributed to causes in exchange for community service by the recipients.

Boutique 208. A retail boutique featuring high-quality, handmade wares from local artisans. Also includes community workshops.

Robot Repairs. Is your robot experiencing technical difficulties? Consider visiting this place for a fix.

Symbiotic Collusion. A modern music initiative presenting visual and musical art concepts through installation, education, and performance. Performances include string quartets, bands, orchestras, and demonstrations.

Popping Up Parking
What exactly, you might ask, does all of this have to do with parking? To answer that, we’ll start with a little background on the PDP. The PDP’s mission includes, among other things, developing and advancing initiatives that foster economic vitality and improve downtown life. The PDP’s vision for the downtown Pittsburgh area is not solely focused on downtown, however. The group promotes the downtown area as essential not only to Pittsburghers, but to the entire region. Included in that vision is an understanding that, “Pittsburgh is essential to an efficient, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation system.”

Can you see where this is going? They not only wanted us to help build a bike station, but they wanted to build the bike station inside one of our downtown garages as a permanent Project Pop-Up.

My mind wandered. Bikes, cars, bikes, cars. The Ghost of Parking Past pinched me hard and said, “You park cars, not bikes. Don’t do it! You can’t go green—you’re a parking garage, for heaven’s sake.” I pondered the idea, spoke with my executive director, Dave Onorato, CAPP, came to terms with my conscience, and then told the PDP I had the perfect location: the Third Avenue Garage.

In the heart of the downtown area and adjacent to the popular Market Square, this garage was among the only ones in town with non-revenue-generating space that sat right between the entrance and exit area. The area contained a small number of bike racks that accommodated 12 bikes. Upon visiting the location, the group decided it was perfect because of its central, prime location and immediate need for additional bicycle parking. It was time to figure out what to build.

Build It; Will They Come?

In an initial meeting, Scott Bricker and Eric Boerer of BikePgh intimated that they wanted to do something fun, provided, of course, that the Pittsburgh Parking Authority was willing to go along. Considering the age, look, and feel of some of the parking garages we operate, why not inject some fun? We were on board. They then proposed the theme of Space Invaders! We envisioned green two-wheeled pedal pushers invading space normally used by gas-chugging, carbon dioxide-emitting monsters. Perfect.

BikePgh suggested both a public section and a private, secured section. The free-use public component would include room for approximately 30 bicycles, a bike fix-it station, and colorful, durable plastic flooring that incorporated the Space Invaders theme. The preferred fenced-in section would include spaces to be sold to the public on a first-come, first-served basis at a rate of $100 per annual season.

Wait a second. We were going to charge money for the bicycle parking too? We’ll come back to that in a minute. The area would contain room for approximately 24 bicycles, lockers for storing gear, and a bench for cyclists to use for changing. Access to the secured area would be via a magnetically locked door opened through the use of a proximity badge.

Funding the bike station was a challenge from the start. As noted earlier, the initial grant available from the PDP through Project Pop-Up to BikePgh was only $10,000. Unfortunately, the project cost estimate was around $20,000. More partners and creativity were clearly necessary. These critical partners ending up contributing both funds and services to bring the project to fruition. A local architect donated her design services and also assisted employees of BikePGH and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority with the flooring installation. The bike racks, lockers, and bike fix-it station were also built and installed by the partners. PPA agreed to fund both the fencing and signage for the project (approximately $7,500). PSX Group, the authority’s parking revenue control equipment vendor, graciously agreed to provide the access system for the private area and subsequent tie-in to the Third Avenue garage revenue control system for tracking purposes (approximately $4,200).

Popped Up
In June 2013, Mayor Ravenstahl issued his press release on our project. “Providing cyclists with safe, secure parking for their bikes is another step forward in making Pittsburgh a world-class, bike-friendly city,” Ravenstahl said. “Project Pop Up: Downtown has made great strides in increasing downtown’s vibrancy and bringing more people into the heart of our city. This collaborative project will make shopping, dining, and entertainment amenities more accessible to cyclists as we continue to make Pittsburgh an even more livable city for everyone.”

In the release, Scott Bricker, BikePgh executive director, stated, “We’ve loved working on this project. Not only does it stay true to the spirit of the Mayor’s Project Pop Up program by taking an underutilized space and making it vibrant and interesting, it addresses a true need in the heart of downtown. The Third Avenue Bike Station shows off the city’s dedication to bike transportation and sustainability, while helping Pittsburghers save a few bucks and stay healthy.”

In July 2013, the Third Avenue BikePARK was launched to the public. The project increased the bicycle parking capacity at the location more than four-fold, from 12 to 54 spaces. The new public area space fills to capacity daily. Word of the new BikePark and the fix-it station amenity is also spreading through the cycling community. Reviews have all been positive. Subscriptions are beginning to come in for the preferred section as well.

What was once a non-revenue generating space is now capable of generating $2,400 annually. As a result of the success of the Third Avenue Bike Station, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority has already decided to earmark these revenues for the future expansion of its bicycle program to further its commitment to the Pittsburgh bicycle community.

The mission of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority has always included a dimension beyond the basic responsibility to provide and maintain spaces for vehicle parking throughout the city of Pittsburgh. It also includes supporting the efforts of city departments and groups such as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and BikePgh to ensure not only the economic progress of our region, but also mindfulness that parking doesn’t have to be just for cars.

Christopher Speers, CAPP, is director of parking services for the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh. He can be reached at cspeers@pittsburghparking.com or 412.560.2558.

TPP-2013-12-Parking Space Invaders

Mission Critical

TPP-2013-12-Mission Critical

Seth Goldman is founder and ­TeaEO of Honest Tea and co-author of Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently—and Succeeding. The bestselling graphic book tells the story of Goldman’s 15-year-old organic tea company and its growth from kitchen experiment to national brand sold in more than 100,000 stores. He is also co-founder of Bethesda Green, a sustainability initiative that has helped restaurants covert grease into biodiesel and diverted more than 200,000 lbs. of electronics from landfills. It is also Maryland’s first green incubator, hosting a dozen start-up companies.

Honest Tea, acquired by Coca-Cola in 2011, was founded on a mission to serve customers living a healthier, greener lifestyle. Consumers took to it, and the company’s 2010 revenue was $71.7 million. The book offers a guide for operating a mission-driven business—something Goldman says is critical to success. He recently talked with The Parking Professional about mission, business, and parking and transportation in a more sustainable world.

The Parking Professional:
The book offers a set of rules for the road, the first of which is to build something you believe in—have a mission and be driven by it. Why is that so important in business?

Seth Goldman: For us, it’s partly motivation. It helps everybody feel like they have a higher cause than just moving around cases of liquid. It’s also what helps us make meaningful differences to our customers. They have thousands of choices of what they can drink every day, and our mission helps us stand apart. It helps reinforce, from our perspective, that we know health and taste are two big drivers of what they buy. When we can reinforce not only ingredients and recipes but also healthy communities, we’re supporting that.

What’s the best way for an existing organization to develop a mission if they haven’t already?

SG: You’re really re-thinking the business. It’s easy for someone to say that our job is moving around packages of liquid, but that’s not what we get up every day thinking. Instead, we’re thinking about how we can help consumers move closer to the lives they want to be living, including their impact on the environment and their relationships with nature and they way they take care of themselves.

We help our customers do all of that in how we do business every day. The way we do that is by selling packages of liquid. From our perspective, though, it’s a higher calling than selling glass bottles of tea. You want to look at the big picture: what purpose do you have, what materials do you use, what ingredients, what names will you use, how are you sourcing what you need, and how do you think about the partners who could be important to develop relationships with—how will you connect with other businesses?

How do you trickle-down that mission to employees on the front line?

SG: That’s a great question. We talk a lot about having a mission in a bottle. We’d love to have more profits to give away to charity, but our real impact is with every product we sell and where we sell it. How is the daily experience people have with us? How do we build relationships that are meaningful?

One of the big things is how people interact with the people in your organization. Parking attendants are some of those people. Parking can be a source of frustration and tension, or it can be kind of a Starbucks experience, where people go in there and talk. There’s a community there. So how do you make parking a community experience instead of transactional and tense? Not many people speak favorably about their commuting experience. But what if those points of interaction are really pleasant?

My wife uses a parking garage every day at work. We have this very colorful car (pictured on cover)—it’s painted in sort of a multicolored way and very distinct. She has a parking pass and uses the same garage every day for months at a time. So one day, she’d had to switch to another car and when she got our car back, she forgot her parking pass. She went to the garage, and the attendant had seen her for years in that same, very distinctive car—she knew my wife was a regular parker. She said, “I can’t let you in without a pass—you have to pay the $20 fee.” She was embarrassed and it was a clear case of an employee not being empowered. She said, “If my boss comes in here and sees your car without a pass, I’ll get in trouble.”

That seemed harsh to us. So instead, let your employees make decisions based on their relationships with their customers. Think about what your employees get out of their work. Nobody wants to feel like they’re just checking a box every day. They want to be encouraged and empowered to build those relationships.

TPP: You write that companies shouldn’t aim for 10 percent improvement. Instead, you say, they should “make it radically different and better.” Why is that a better business practice?

SG: That’s mostly talking to someone launching a new product or company. As a challenger brand, you have to bring out something really new. Things are so competitive that you have to be dramatically better and different. If you’re a new entrant and your competition charges $20 per day, you can’t just charge $18 per day. That’s not enough. Ideally, you don’t compete on price. You find another way to make the experience positive. Offer a car location finder or some other element that makes the experience better.

I fly out of Baltimore a lot and when I go to the airport, I always use express parking. They bring you to the terminal from your car and when you return, they take you right back to your car—you give them your space number and that’s exactly where they go. I can’t understand why more people don’t use that service. It’s kind of hard to have a negative experience when you’re picked up from and delivered directly back to your car and the price is right. Waiting is an issue, I think, but it’s interesting—people still go to the daily garage [attached to the terminal]. I guess when you’re coming back from a long trip, the last thing you want to have to remember is where you parked [in a remote lot].

TPP: You say that people should understand the other party’s perspective to be successful and that “when you put yourself in their position, it isn’t what you would do wearing their shoes but what they would do wearing your shoes.” Why the shift in thinking there?

SG: It’s all about understanding your consumer when it comes to businesses and brands and experiences. It’s not driven by the management. It’s driven by what customers want, and sometimes they don’t even know what they want. You have to figure out what their needs are and how you’re going to respond.

Let’s be honest: sometimes parking garages can feel like unpleasant places to go. I’m an outdoors guy and garages are underground and it’s very easy to have them feel subterranean. It’s a challenging environment. So how do you make that a positive experience?

Well, it can be the little things. There’s a garage in Boston, near Logan Airport, where the different levels of the garage are named for different things in their community. It’s geography and sports teams and things like that. It makes that garage a little more community-friendly. There’s local pride there. Someone is putting some thought and effort into this. That’s where you get rid of that conveyor belt feeling. That makes a difference.

TPP: You write that leaders need to take care of their family, personal, and spiritual health to be successful. Why is that important? How do you encourage it throughout an organization?

It’s all about energy and what you bring to things not just as a leader, but in terms of how you infuse energy to other people. If people have a sense you want to be there and you’re excited about what you’re doing, they’ll pick up on those cues themselves. If your people feel like you’re exhausted, they’ll pick up on that too. Create the right energy for yourself and your people and work on having a balance. You need to invest in that. Sometimes it means getting up a little earlier—I can either sleep in until 6:30 or I can get up at 5 and exercise. That hour and a half I might lose in sleep pays off in having energy throughout the day from my workout. I can sleep more, but then I won’t have the right energy. I can exercise and then when I sleep, I sleep well because I’m tired. I can fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed!

We have a wellness program in place and we encourage our employees to take their own actions—take care of their health, set goals—and we celebrate accomplishments and milestones. We make a big deal of meeting goals that are set at the beginning of the year. It’s not like if you don’t hit your goal, you’re punished at all. But we do celebrate the people who make theirs.

TPP: You write about delegating, and say not to delegate in the beginning of a business and not to delegate the important stuff. How do you know what you can delegate, and attract the right people so it works?

SG: You have to empower people as you grow. You can delegate when you have great people. That means that you can’t really delegate hiring. If there are great people reporting to you, you can develop the comfort level you need. I have a great CFO, so I don’t have to see the books every day.

Our company attracts people of a certain mindset. It’s pretty easy in our organization to understand what we do and why, and people get it. Within a few weeks, they’re either energized and they fit in or they’re not. As a company, we pay attention to that.

TPP: You’re known as a biking and a bike-to-work advocate. Space for bikes and facilities for bikers are a trend in the parking industry. How can our business make biking and alternate transportation easier for customers, and from your perspective, why does that make good business sense?

SG: I can’t tell you how important that is. When I started working, there was a garage in the building and the company subsidized parking for people who drove. I remember thinking that people who biked were doing better things for the environment at a much lower cost, so why wasn’t that subsidized?

Having a few bike racks in the garage, and even better if there’s a shower or facility for bikers, is huge. It’s a service you offer to the people in that building and it makes biking to work much easier.

Of the commuters who come into a building, I think the ones who bike or walk are happier about their commute. It’s not a chore, but an indulgence. It’s exercise, so they’re getting energized on their way to work, and it’s better for the organization to feel like their workplace supports them. Having a place to park bikes is a huge workplace enhancement and can spark great loyalty.

If I’m working somewhere and I have to leave work, I want to be able to get my bike from a rack. I’d like it protected from the outdoors, and I’d love to be able to stow my stuff and take my bike home without any problems. If I come in and I’m sweaty, I want a place to change and maybe a place to hang a wet towel and my clothes so they don’t get all mildewy. Forward-thinking people are looking for it.

TPP-2013-12-Mission Critical

By the Parking Industry, for the Parking Industry

TPP-2013-12-By the Parking Industry, for the Parking IndustryBy Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the first joint meeting of the boards of directors of the International Parking Institute (IPI) and the Green Parking Council (GPC), which became an affiliate and the “sustainability arm” of IPI last summer. Our recent meeting of the minds inspired both organizations, especially with regard to the new Green Garage Certification program.

When I first met with GPC leaders more than two years ago, we had a lively and challenging discussion about whether a specific certification program should be developed for parking structures. At that time, we had applied for building certification under the United States Green Building Council’s LEED New Construction Rating System. The Green Globes program was also applying its rating system to garages. Multiple applicable frameworks existed, so why re-invent the wheel?


Ultimately, the GPC, its certification committee, and more than 200 volunteers and subject matter expert reviewers uncovered the why:

Retrofits. Existing rating systems may cover the design of new parking or mixed-use structures, but they do not apply to existing parking structures. Our parking infrastructure was designed to last upwards of 40 years—how would we address these structures? Sustainability measures should not be limited to new designs; people, planet, and profit benefit when we retrofit existing buildings.

Parking structures are a unique building type. The new program addresses opportunities specific to parking that other systems do not, not only from a design standpoint, but from the perspective of both programs and operations. These opportunities, which are unique to parking structures, are now captured and integrated in a comprehensive system that applies to our industry.

A parking industry-specific approach can transform our industry. All green building ratings systems aim to increase cleaner energy sources, energy efficiency, and multiple modes of transportation while decreasing carbon emissions, pollution, waste, and of course, life cycle cost. The development and implementation of a rating system designed specifically for parking structures can most rapidly strengthen and coalesce the movement towards greater sustainability in our industry.

The certification standard is now in a critical period of development and evaluation. We have progressed the standard to the public comment and beta period. These two steps, designed to refine and improve the standard, are happening simultaneously. The standard is available via free download on the GPC’s website (greenparkingcouncil.org/certification) and is ready for your comment.

Get your red pen out—we want to gather your expertise, experience, and feedback on the beta version of the system. We are also benchmarking the system against at least 30 of the greenest garages in the U.S. to gauge not only the garages’ performance against the standard, but the standard’s performance against a portfolio of built projects. These garages include some LEED-­certified structures as well as those that have not yet been recognized under any standard. The comment and benchmarking processes will be finalized and this valuable input will be used to calibrate the rating system before the launch of the first formal version of the Certified Green Garage standard. We will launch the first version to market in 2014.

We recognize that the triple bottom line is essential to the definition and application of sustainability. People, planet, and profit must be carefully considered and measured in the decision-making process. For long-term sustainability to take root, the return on investment must be realized within an operational timeframe. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, and I am confident that IPI, GPC, and our industry are well-equipped and ready to take parking and sustainability to the next level.

Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM, is vice president and parking specialist at Timothy Haahs & Associates and co-chair of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. She can be reached at ryoka@timhaahs.com or 484.342.0200.

TPP-2013-12-By the Parking Industry, for the Parking Industry

Time Bandit, or To Catch a Thief

TPP-2013-12-Time Bandit, or To Catch a ThiefBy Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP

Technology has made it easier for employers to track the performance and location of their field employees using GPS locators embedded in company vehicles, cell phones, and tablets issued to employees in the ordinary course of business. In the June 2011 The Parking Professional, I examined the ability of a municipal government employer to track electronic communication such as cell phone use, text messaging, email, and web searches, of employees during working hours. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government employer could, under reasonable circumstances, monitor workplace electronic devices and discipline employees for abusive nonessential use.

A recent New York Superior Court case, Cunningham v N.Y. State Department of Labor, examined whether a government employer could place a GPS tracking device on an employee’s private vehicle to determine whether the employee was submitting false time sheets.

The Case
Cunningham was a long-time employee of the New York Department of Labor. His employer suspected him of falsifying his time sheets and attendance records. Cunningham was required to report his work-related arrival and departure times and destinations when using his personal vehicle. His work-related activities were monitored by a state investigator in 2008 and he was disciplined for breaches in conduct and record keeping that resulted in a two-month suspension without pay.

Following that, the department suspected that Cunningham was again falsifying his time sheets and attendance records and those of his secretary. The matter was referred to the state inspector general’s office for handling; they decided to attach a GPS device to Cunningham’s personal car without his knowledge or a warrant for a little more than a month, including evenings, weekends, and a family vacation.

The GPS and other surveillance techniques revealed that Cunningham was again falsely reporting his work hours, absences, and the time sheets of his secretary. He also falsely reported that they were engaged in work-related activities while he was at her apartment and when they were supposed to be at a business conference.

The department filed a second disciplinary action against Cunningham in 2008 seeking his termination of employment on 11 counts of official misconduct. A hearing officer found Cunningham guilty of all 11 counts and granted the request for his discharge.

The New York chapter of the ACLU filed a complaint on behalf of Cunningham, who argued that the placement of the GPS device on weekends and while he was on an employer-approved family vacation constituted an unreasonable search and seizure of evidence.

The Decision
The court agreed that the 24-hour GPS surveillance was excessive. The court stated that it would not ordinarily exclude all the evidence collected, but only the evidence collected outside the reasonable timeframe of employment. But it also ruled that “because of the GPS device capacity to permit constant, relentless tracking of anything … where the employer doesn’t make a reasonable effort to avoid tracking an employee outside of business hours, the search as a whole must be considered unreasonable.” “That conclusion … requires suppression of the GPS evidence” and four counts of misconduct against Cunningham.

The lesson to be learned from the Cunningham decision is that a GPS device may be installed without the permission of an employee on his personal vehicle used for a business purpose, but it must be shut off or removed after work hours, on the weekend (if the employee is off-duty), and during employee vacation or sick and personal days, if reasonably possible.

Justice prevailed and Cunningham was discharged from Department of Labor employment based on the remaining seven counts of misconduct supported by EZ-Pass records, personal interviews, and the IG investigator reports, which were not suppressed by the court.

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

TPP-2013-12-Time Bandit, or To Catch a Thief

Integrating Innovation

TPP-2013-12-Integrating InnovationBy Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM

We consultants have another big and bold year ahead of us. I don’t mean the next big project we land or the next big conference (such as the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas, June 1-4). Although these are undoubtedly at the top of our collective mind, we have other pressing matters to attend to as well.

I often speak about sustainability and integrating sustainable choices into our work and our daily lives. If sustainability is seen as an additive rather than a necessity, it can be viewed as costing more money, time, and aggravation. If sustainability is seen as integral—even if it costs more money, time, and aggravation—it becomes part of the natural ebb and flow of what we do every day. It is an essential element of a successful enterprise. Clearly, the integrated approach will be more successful in achieving the measurable goals we set.

The same case can be made with innovation and research.

The Committee
IPI’s Consultants Committee is engaged in the effort to convince stakeholders that Parking Matters®, to elevate the parking profession and the specialized fields in which we operate. One of our goals as a committee is to maintain and expand our firms’ competitive edge as well as IPI’s competitive edge as the single-most effective association in the parking industry. To be on the cutting edge of innovation requires new research, publications, and dissemination to related industries and the public. We can view this research as additive and “extra” even if it is clearly articulated in our goals and objectives (as a firm, a committee, or an organization).

But we can be more effective and powerful than that if we view innovation and research as integral and critically important to elevating the industry.

The Consultants Committee has made great strides and contributions to date. The IPI/NPA joint publication on sustainability and parking is nearly complete; many on the committee served as authors, reviewers, or both. The Consultants Corner, our monthly column in this magazine, includes contributions from leaders in the parking industry, shedding light and insight on a wide range of subject areas. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, we are developing Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Guidelines. The Green Parking Council’s Certified Green Garage Program, now in the pilot or beta phase, is, in significant part, the product of the consultant community’s dedication to the drafting, revision, and implementation of the new standard. And that all happened in just the last two years!

We are fortunate to have a robust committee with amazing technical expertise and knowledge, along with a new committee structure and format; we will use those assets to the fullest, taking an integrated approach to research and innovation. We are currently formulating an inaugural program around a structured series of white papers that will generate both new research and industry publications to harness the expertise and enthusiasm of both the committee and the entire consultant (and parking) community. We are actively creating lasting connections and synergies as a committee to technology, education, sustainability, and state and regional committee efforts, to name a few.

So we have a big year ahead of us and some serious objectives to achieve. I know the committee (and community) stands ready to get it all done, and do it well. If there is one thing consultants do well, it is work, and work hard.

As always, we are here to tackle your toughest questions—please bring them on!

Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM, is vice president and parking specialist at Timothy Haahs & Associates and co-chair of IPI’s Consultants Committee. She can be reached at ryoka@timhaahs.com or 484.342.0200.

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