Tag Archives: TPP-2014-03

Moving On Up

TPP-2014-03-Moving On UpBy Henry Wallmeyer

Does the International Parking Institute (IPI) take itself too seriously? Perhaps its recent move 40 miles north to Alexandria, Va., after 25 years in Fredericksburg was the ultimate practice-what-you-preach—after all, the association says that parking is about moving people forward.

Or was the motivation a famous quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” Maybe this is about IPI moving in great directions, both figuratively and literally.
The real reasons are much more practical, and the new office is proving a perfect match for IPI’s mission, members, and staff.

Behind the Move
Next to the federal government, the largest employer segment in the Washington, D.C., metro area is associations and not-for-profit organizations. Washington, D.C., has the largest concentration of professional associations in the country, but Alexandria, Va., is close behind in fourth place (New York and Chicago are two and three, respectively, on the list).

Moving to the Washington, D.C., metro area allowed IPI to rejoin its association colleagues in and near the city, improve its operational efficiencies, and boost its ability to serve its members. There were quite a number of reasons to relocate the
IPI headquarters; the primary ones were:

Community. IPI’s association partners (including the Urban Land Institute, International Downtown Association, National League of Cities, National Association of College and University Business Officers, American Institute of Architects, Building Owners and Managers Association International, and Institute of Transportation Engineers), government contacts (Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Security Administration, First Observer), attorneys, the design company of the award-winning The Parking Professional, and two key contractors are in the Washington, D.C., metro area. The people and organizations that IPI meets with to develop and sustain new initiatives, hold meetings, and build relationships with are in the D.C. metro area.

Professional Development. The association for association professionals, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and provides the specific training and educational opportunities that are most beneficial to IPI staff. By moving to the D.C. area, IPI is able to much more easily and less disruptively send staff to train with their peers.

Accessibility. Being in the D.C. metro area provides the proximity to three major airports and a train station that allows for much easier and cost-effective opportunities to have meetings of IPI committees, board, executive committee, and other workgroups. It also provides the opportunity for cheaper and more effective staff travel. In fact, IPI hosted three meetings during the first week in its new office that would not have been possible at the former location.

How Did it Happen?

At its October 2012 meeting, the IPI Board of Directors approved the move of the association from Fredericksburg to the Washington, D.C., metro area when the Fredericksburg lease expired.

From October 2012 to April 2013, IPI worked with commercial real estate firm Studley to identify the appropriate building in the appropriate location with regard to size, rent, amenities, space layout, safety, public transportation, and parking. During this time, IPI reviewed and/or toured more than 50 properties in Maryland and Virginia.

In January 2013, IPI interviewed three interior design firms and selected Millar + Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique design firm with expertise in commercial interior architecture, to transform IPI’s chosen space into its new office. After negations with numerous property owners and much deliberation, IPI selected office space at 1330 Braddock Place, Alexandria, last June.

The Office
Alexandria was recently featured in a Washington Post article covering its robust urbanization. The article described the northeastern part of Alexandria as becoming transit-oriented and walkable and being transformed by higher density, mixed-use development, and redevelopment. All of this development is financed primarily through private investment and is making the city more urban and urbane.

IPI’s headquarters is part of the four-building Braddock Metro Center campus, is steps from the Braddock Road Metrorail station and rail right-of-way, and nearby multifamily housing developers are rapidly revitalizing the neighborhood. Six new residential infill projects are under construction or soon will be. Together, they encompass more than 1,500 units and more than 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

On-premise amenities IPI staff and visitors will enjoy include a fitness center, café, outdoor seating, and a soon-to-be-built conference center that will enable IPI to host meetings in state-of-the-art facilities.

IPI’s new headquarters is served by Metro (the building is just one stop from Ronald Reagan National Airport); shuttle service to King Street in historic, waterfront Old Town Alexandria, Capital Bike Share, and of course parking. It is a five-minute drive to the airport and a 10-minute drive to downtown Washington, D.C.

Our Welcome Mat Is Out

Please come visit us, whether by car, bike, train, walking, or another means. We would love to show you the new space.

Henry Wallmeyer is a staff member with IPI and executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation. He can be reached at wallmeyer@actweb.org or 540.845.3146.

TPP-2014-03-Moving On Up

Smart Moves

TPP-2014-03-Smart MovesBy Eric Woods

The introduction of smart parking technology marks the biggest transformation in parking since the introduction of the first parking meters in Oklahoma City in 1935. Parking is being transformed by new technologies that are affecting operational efficiency and customer expectations. Even broader changes are being driven by new perspectives on the role of parking within cities. Faced with growing environmental and economic pressures on city transportation, cities are re-examining how and where parking is provided, seeking to provide a more balanced view of parking that better manages supply and demand. Enabled by new technologies, innovative approaches to parking are becoming one of the cornerstones of cities’ mobility strategies.

Navigant Research’s recent report, Smart Parking Systems, examines the evolution of smart parking technology and the smart parking system market, with a particular focus on on-street parking. In particular, the report explains how on-street parking is being transformed by the availability of real-time information on parking occupancy and parking rates and the effect that it may have on urban mobility. As part of our research, we talked to vendors, parking operators, city managers, and other stakeholders about their views on how the industry is evolving. The report forecasts that the market for smart parking systems will be worth more than $350 million by 2020, by which time there will be more than 950,000 on-street smart parking spaces worldwide.

What Is Smart Parking?

Smart parking can be considered a general label for a range of technology and customer service innovations that are transforming parking in the city environment. A more precise definition is: The use of advanced technologies for the efficient operation, monitoring, and management of parking within an urban mobility strategy.

Smart parking is made possible by a variety of technology innovations, including sensor technologies, wireless communications, smartphones, web applications, social media, and data analytics. Smart parking is also being shaped by changes in vehicle technologies (such as in-car navigation and in-car connectivity) and other innovations in urban technology and services.

At the core of the smart parking concept is the proposition that better information on parking availability, occupancy, and prices will provide benefits to citizens, businesses, and parking operators. The ability to access real-time parking data and analyze occupancy rates and usage patterns provides city managers with new insights that can help reduce congestion and improve traffic flows. Real-time information also opens up the opportunity for a more adaptive, demand response-based approach to parking. And dynamic pricing for parking allows cities to adjust rates to ensure that optimum levels of occupancy are achieved, reducing congestion and time and fuel wasted by drivers searching for parking.

Better parking information also allows parking managers to target resources for enforcement, reducing the cost of operation while increasing revenue. The flexibility offered by smart parking systems can help shift the emphasis from enforcement and penalties to improvements in meter payments and other fees.

Smart parking systems provide more tailored information services and flexible payment options for drivers. Using smartphones and in-car information systems, drivers can access real-time information and integrate it into their travel planning and navigation. Drivers then benefit from improved traffic management, easier parking, and reduced congestion.

Why Now?
The growing interest in smart parking systems is in part simply a reflection of the availability of advanced technologies that enable new types of custom service and operational management. However, the market is also being driven by changing attitudes toward parking in our cities.

New Thinking on Congestion

Probably the most important factor fueling interest in smart parking systems is the need to address the problems of congestion. The commonly referenced figure is that up to 30 percent of congestion in cities is caused by vehicles looking for a parking space. Studies of specific cities typically give figures ranging between 10 and 40 percent. Congestion has long been a problem in many cities, but its current effect on the economy, the environment, and the quality of life in our cities is receiving much more attention.

Congestion leads to increased fuel use and costs, additional air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, lost economic opportunity (in terms of consumers’ time or effect on merchants and other service providers), and general detriment to the quality of life in a city. Historically, the answer to concerns over congestion caused by lack of parking has been to increase the parking supply, but it is now widely recognized that simply providing more parking spaces will not solve—and in some ways contributes to—congestion levels.

Smart Cities and Smart Parking

Smart parking presents a prime opportunity for city leaders looking to develop smart city solutions. A communications network that has been installed to collect and transmit data from vehicle sensors can also be used to monitor and manage other aspects of the city environment. Along with the benefits for parking and traffic management, smart parking networks can provide the basic infrastructure for other smart city services, including environmental monitoring, traffic management, and smart streetlights. For example, air quality or noise sensors can be added to the network for little extra cost. Smart parking systems can act as a foundation technology for a broader range of smart city applications.

The Challenges
If smart parking is to become widely adopted, cities need to be convinced of the financial benefits and technical reliability of smart parking solutions when deployed at city scale.


Parking is, of course, an important (if often contentious) revenue source for many cities. On-street parking generates billions of dollars in revenue and profits for cities around the world in both meter fees and fines and penalties. In theory, this should make it easier for cities to invest in parking systems that further enhance that revenue potential. But many municipalities are still cautious about any capital investment, particularly in new technologies, and are often restricted in their ability to raise funds. For this reason, many will look at the introduction of smart parking as part of a broader change in the way parking services are delivered. Outsourcing the parking operation, for example, allows for new investment in technology and services while increasing revenue collection for the city. Another approach is to create a new public-private partnership (PPP) to manage parking, as in the ParkIndy PPP initiative between the city of Indianapolis and Xerox. Smart parking providers are also helping cities realize these benefits through leasing schemes, new service models, and finance support.

Technology Maturity

The underlying technologies for smart parking are relatively mature and proven, if not at the scale we envision reaching over the next few years. Parking sensor installation is relatively simple, and suppliers typically claim to be able to deploy to a system running hundreds of spaces in one or two days, with another week or so needed for calibration and software deployment.

The biggest technical challenge is usually adapting the system to local conditions and integrating data and systems with existing city operations. For example, San Francisco’s SFpark project has had to work around the city’s famous hills and deal with an exceptional amount of underground and overground cabling that interferes with sensor communications. Meanwhile, one of the major considerations in Moscow is whether the system can withstand extreme cold and deep snow. Demands for accuracy and timeliness of data are likely to grow as more use is made of sensor intelligence for enforcement, payments, and in-car guidance.

Public and Business Resistance
Parking is a sensitive political issue for many city governments. Parking fee increases, the introduction of parking restrictions, or wider policy changes can cause storms of local protest. Business organizations and local retailers often have strong and divergent views on parking policy. Parking fees will rarely be welcomed by users, but many citizens see them as a necessity. Smart parking can provide more equitable and adaptive parking fees. One of the biggest questions for smart parking systems is whether they are overly complex solutions to a simple operation. This is particularly true in relation to the introduction of dynamic pricing for parking. Cities will have to gauge carefully how often prices can be changed and how acceptable this will be in different parts of the city. Changing prices on a monthly basis may be acceptable, but dynamic changes based on current conditions may only confuse and frustrate drivers.

The Next Phase
Smart parking systems are on the verge of a major breakthrough. The next two years will see an evolution from a small number of trials to large-scale rollouts, a broader range of pilots, and expansion into new countries and regions.

Suppliers need to convince cities of the robustness and flexibility of their solutions and the ability to both show a quick return on investment and provide a reliable service to parking managers and users. Building a set of large-scale deployment will lay the groundwork for additional city services, more use of data analytics, and the establishment of smart city networks. Smart parking has the potential to be the spearhead project for advanced smart city networks and applications. However, to realize that vision, the industry needs to show it can deliver reliable and cost-effective smart parking systems that are acceptable to city residents and visitors.

More information on the Navigant Research report, Smart Parking Systems, is available at navigantresearch.com/research/smart-­

Eric Woods is a research director at Navigant. He can be reached at eric.woods@navigant.com.

TPP-2014-03-Smart Moves

Building the Invisible Garage

TPP-2014-03-Building the Invisible GarageBY K. Vance Kelley, AIA

Tradition and modernity come together seamlessly at the Kansas Statehouse, where a 550-space underground parking garage has transformed the visitor and staff experience, while solving a host of logistical and practical parking concerns for the 140-year-old capitol.

“The most noticeable thing about this garage is that it’s not noticeable,” says Jim Rinner, vice president at JE Dunn Construction, Topeka, Kan., construction manager for the Kansas Statehouse preservation and restoration. “The entrance and exit ramps are visible, but otherwise, it’s buried underground, and the design is really integrated into the site. That was always the goal.”

In fact, it’s possible that a citizen driving along adjacent Eighth Street might not even notice the garage unless he was looking for a place to park. What drivers see is the prominent historic building, its ceremonial drive, and the attractive, tree-lined plaza. That’s how the Legislature wanted it to be, says Statehouse Architect Barry Greis.

Yet, the parking garage, designed by Treanor Architects, changed how the people of Kansas access their state capitol. Not only is it easier and safer to park, but visitors now approach the building via an attached central visitor’s center located underneath the building’s exterior grand staircase. It’s restored the building’s traditional north front door by funneling visitors into the reclaimed ground floor.

When master planning and design concepts for the renovation and restoration of the statehouse began in the early 2000s, a parking garage was not part of the plan. But with traffic congestion and parking at a premium during the legislative session, and a desire to more easily accommodate visitors to Topeka’s main tourist attraction, a solution needed to be found—a solution that could be achieved on a site that posed historic, logistic, and technical challenges. And because this was a public building, the state wanted a structure that was highly functional but not elaborate.

Historic Problems

Historically, a ceremonial drive has surrounded the statehouse. It was not unusual to see cars parked on the grass nearby. Parking was at a premium for decades, requiring the state to bag meters on surrounding streets and rent a nearby parking lot during the legislative session. Cars left parked alongside the building also posed potential safety and security concerns.

Research showed that in the 1950s, large surface parking lots were proposed. In 1973, it was proposed that parking be moved below grade; that was the option that this design team chose to build upon.

The underground garage addition more than doubled the number of parking spaces available to statehouse staff and visitors. Parking is also now clearly delineated. The lowest level of the garage, which is reserved for 165 elected officials and their staff, is secured with key card access and barrier arms. The upper level offers 100 visitor spaces, additional nonsecured spaces for legislative staff, and 14 parking spaces for drivers with disabilities.

Inside the garage, a glass lobby with a concrete bas-relief impression of the statehouse dome is more than an artistic feature. As the most recognized and commented on portion of the project, it’s intentionally designed to grab attention, orient drivers to the space, and direct them to the elevator and stairs leading to the ground floor visitor center. Spanning both levels, the drum of the dome is visible on the lower level, and the dome itself is visible on the upper level. From the time a driver enters, it’s obvious where to go, where to park, and how to find the building entrance.

To create entrance and exit ramps that are visible from the street but still feel appropriate to the historic surrounds, concrete structures were faced with native Kansas cottonwood limestone from Chase County to echo the statehouse itself.

An Historic Site
Achieving a below-grade parking structure solved a lot of problems but also came with a host of significant site challenges, including breaking through three layers of limestone ledge and investigating rumors of an underground river. (No river was found, though construction did reveal a manageable amount of underground water running horizontally as it hit the ledges.)

Site parameters limited the physical space available. Bordered by the statehouse on the south and Eighth Street on the north, the garage had a finite footprint and needed to be just two stories to preserve the historic integrity of the area and keep costs under control. The entire structure also had to be designed to squeeze between a thick layer of ledge and the existing staircase entrance to the building.

The effect on the statehouse and the nearby buildings and streets was a major concern during excavation, says Jeff Combes, general superintendent of JE Dunn Construction. With vibration monitors inside and out, weekly checks on existing cracks within the building, and regular consults with the design team, the historic nature of the construction site was never far from mind.

Building underground also brought water concerns. During construction, core samples allowed the team to continually watch water levels, and pumps ran 24/7 to control any potential underground water situations. All equipment had to be removed when not in use. Banks of the excavation—just 20 feet from a major street—had to be stabilized and secured throughout to prevent collapse.

Locating the visitor center required the statehouse’s grand staircase to be disassembled, a concrete shell added underneath, and pieces reassembled around the new structure. A full five feet of soil was placed on top to create the street-level plaza—in essence, installing a giant green roof on the underground garage.

The Eighth Street site entrance was the only way in or out, whether for deliveries, removing debris, or any other access. From coordinating the building’s main electrical service to having limited space to stage work and store equipment, efficient scheduling became critical to ensure that work was perfectly synchronized.

The structure itself was equally challenging, using several thousand pounds of rebar and requiring special concrete forms to be built to achieve 12-inch wide exterior walls in a single pour. Architectural concrete in the design and necessary security measures added technical challenges, and unlike an above-grade garage, this one required full waterproofing inside and out.

Safety and Security

Security was a high priority in the garage design. The structure incorporated flexible assigned parking for elected officials, staff, and administrators as well as 100 public visitor spaces. The garage also needed to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To achieve both the security needed and the number of spaces desired, the garage uses a flat floor layout that provides access to the levels via speed ramps. There is no parking on the ramps. With this layout, the key code access and barrier arms controls that limit entrance to secure areas, and security systems within the garage, the facility can both restrict access as necessary and easily be closed for heightened security during special events or security alerts, says Jim Graveel of Walker Parking Consultants, the parking functional designer for the project.

“The parking footprint was limited by the selected site,” says Graveel. “Our target was 550 spaces underground. We were really working hard to get that done in two levels.”

As a public building, security and ease for visitors and staff are just as important as protecting elected officials, says Greis. “People here in Kansas aren’t used to parking underground, so lighting and security were important,” he says. “This was about reassuring people that they would be safe.” Along with plenty of lighting, ADA-compliant 8-foot-2-inch ceiling clearances that provide clear sight lines, and visible exit signage, the garage offers emergency call stations and security cameras monitored by Capitol Police. Clean air was also addressed through the addition of multiple-level fans with sensors that automatically regulate fan speeds to maintain safe carbon monoxide levels. A fire sprinkler system was installed throughout.

Such a complex project required an extraordinary amount of planning. Construction was completed in two phases beginning with the garage and future visitor center structure, which allowed the construction manager to pour concrete as soon as the excavation was completed. The second phase included the finish of the garage shell and mechanical system connections.

The garage was a complex, innovative solution to a number of site challenges, and the design-assist approach to construction management was key to its success because the process allowed for design solutions to be thoroughly thought out and discussed from the start, with all of their cost and building ramifications. “Integrated project management is a buzzword today in construction. This is the process we were using then,” says Rinner.

The design team had its work cut out for it, with the goal to blend a modern garage into a well-used, public historic site with limited space. Construction managers also had much to accomplish, from safe excavation and sequencing the work to addressing the technical challenges of various mechanical systems and working with unique concrete structures. The 100+-year-old urban property also meant troubleshooting problems, such as rerouting and upgrading old electrical systems running through the site and repairing a leaky sanitary sewer system.

The results have been worth it. The underground garage has been well-received by the public and those who work or do business on site. Not only has the longtime parking challenge been solved, but the solution fit perfectly into the state’s master plan for preserving and restoring the iconic capitol, and became the first phase of that effort. The addition also offered a few bonuses, such as additional operations space, loading/delivery areas for housekeeping and maintenance operations, and a new visitor center.

While there may still be a hunt for parking on busy days, the garage has vastly improved access to the Kansas Statehouse, says Greis. With tours of the restored copper dome slated to re-open in 2014, the statehouse expects to see 60,000 visitors in the next year.

K. Vance Kelley, AIA, is a principal in Treanor Architects Historic Preservation studio. He can be reached at vkelley@treanorarchitects.com.

TPP-2014-03-Building the Invisible Garage

Lighting It Up

TPP-2014-03-Lighting It Up
By Antonio Giacobbe

Lighting has a dramatic effect on how a parking facility is perceived. The right design creates an atmosphere that welcomes, creates an enhanced sense of security, and invites guests to return. In short, it ensures continued revenue. At the same time, smart lighting strategies can significantly lower energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Quality lighting delivers multiple benefits to a parking facility:

  • Improves visibility, which increases the safety of pedestrians and vehicles as they enter, park, and exit the facility.
  • Brings in more cars, whose drivers enter thanks to illuminated wayfinding and signage.
  • Strengthens the image and facility’s standing as a destination when the exterior is lighted as a branded point of entry.
  • Gives peace of mind to patrons.
  • Deters vandalism and crime with active occupancy sensing and responsive lighting.
  • Delivers cost savings through reduced energy use and lighting maintenance.

All that is true, but the bottom line is often the deciding factor for facility improvements. A lighting upgrade can save a facility a significant portion of current operating costs, but the cost to install a new lighting system can sometimes induce sticker shock. Savvy facility managers consider the total cost of ownership, which is not only how much a lighting system costs initially but also how much it saves over its lifetime when compared to the existing system.

The ongoing cost of maintaining the average lighting system is derived from four factors:

  • Material costs: the cost of replacement lamps or power supplies.
  • Labor costs: the cost to replace lamps and/or clean the luminaires.
  • Energy costs: the cost of energy consumed to operate the luminaires.
  • Recycling costs: the cost of removal and disposal of spent lamps in an environmentally-responsible manner.

The initial cost of a lighting system is small compared to the cost of the energy needed to operate it, and it is not unusual for new LED lighting systems to see a positive return on investment in less than three years. “Lighting represents an incredible opportunity for innovation and environmental improvement in the parking industry. Long-life LED lighting solutions can help property owners reduce the environmental impact of their facilities,” says Paul Wessel, executive director of the Green Parking Council, an affiliate of IPI.

Often the energy-savings conversation—which is important—is what drives lighting upgrades in parking facilities, but there are additional benefits that can bring more cars off the streets and inside to park. Current recommended practice highlights the importance of uniformity, color rendering, and other lighting quality metrics. Vertical illumination helps reveal faces and raises the sense of comfort in a facility. Controls further reduce energy consumption, while also tailoring the light levels to the use of the facility. All of these factors constitute quality lighting for parking facilities.

The perfect parking garage luminaire needs to distribute light far to the sides without creating a bright pool directly beneath the fixture. LED luminaires that take advantage of multi-chip optics do this, achieving outstanding uniformity. The resulting light eliminates dark spots, so guests can perceive the entire deck of a garage. One word of warning is that glare can be a risk with some LED luminaires. High angles of light used for broad coverage can create uncomfortable glare for drivers and pedestrians. Careful optical control can address these issues. The best option is to evaluate LED luminaire samples before installing them throughout a facility.

The color rendering index (CRI) of light is a measurement of how well that light source displays color. Color quality is important in wayfinding because it helps visitors identify their vehicles in a multi-colored row of cars. Older technologies were common because of their energy-efficiency ratings, but the sacrifice of color rendering made it hard to distinguish between cars. Good color quality also contributes to creating a safer facility by contrasting the color of a slick oil spill against the surrounding floor finish, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

New Standards
Something important for parking facility managers to be aware of is that lighting recommendations for parking facilities are undergoing a change. While a facility was previously categorized as “typical” or “high security,” new lighting guidelines established by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) (published in the 10th edition of its The Lighting Handbook) consider the density of traffic and pedestrian activity in a parking zone when determining illumination targets.

Lighting zones are defined by areas of high, moderate, and low activity. High-density applications include shopping districts and transportation hubs; moderate­activity levels are typical for college campuses and small shopping areas; and low-activity levels include residential neighborhoods. These shifts in recommended practice reflect an understanding that a parking facility is a core component of an integrated neighborhood or commerce area.

Recommendations for lighting controls have also expanded. While a time clock may previously have been sufficient lighting control, occupancy sensors are now encouraged to dim luminaires in areas with no activity. Daylight sensors dim the lights along a garage perimeter, saving energy when daylight is present. These additional lighting control techniques drive the energy savings to greater levels and enable a faster payback from a new lighting system.

Boston Garage Sees the Light
One parking garage that’s embraced change and the future of lighting can be found in a city that’s known for revolution. Boston has a rich history, and while it’s deeply proud of its past, the city also strives to be forward-thinking. Environmental initiatives such as Greenovate Boston are at the top of its list.

Greenovate Boston is a community-driven movement to get all Bostonians involved in reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. In September 2013, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released the 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a report that ranks 34 of the most populous U.S. cities on policies to advance energy efficiency. Boston was rated No. 1 in doing the most to save energy. While it’s a little ironic that a city made infamous by littering its harbor with tea to help spark a revolution is making headlines with green campaigns, it is definitely something city residents are passionate about.

One of the city’s innovative, energy-saving efforts is an upgrade to LED lighting in its facilities. A wide variety of tenants, including biomedical manufacturers, breweries, curtain makers, and computer manufacturers, use the Boston Marine Industrial Park (BMIP) parking facility that’s owned and operated by the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC), part of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. It was important for the EDIC to provide garage tenants with a well-lit environment that made them feel safe at night. The EDIC previously chose 150-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) luminaires throughout the garage, which caused issues last year. The older HPS fixtures used a significant amount of energy and resulted in high electricity bills, emitted a less-than-appealing yellow light, and suffered from burnouts that forced a high replacement rate, which increased maintenance costs.

After an extensive review of several LED solutions on the market, the EDIC chose the OSRAM PermaLED Low Profile LED Canopy Luminaire because of its high efficacy. SYLVANIA Lighting Services audited the project and oversaw the installation. Each of the existing 450 150-watt HPS fixtures was replaced with a new 55-watt LED luminaire, not only helping the city save money and energy but also providing bright white light that improved lighting uniformity. Unlike the yellow light from the HPS lamps, the vastly-improved color rendering index of the LED luminaires can facilitate quick vehicle identification and increase pedestrian visibility, enhancing the perception of safety in garage facilities. The LED system has a life rating of 100,000 hours, which translates into dramatically fewer replacement costs, especially compared with the previous lighting.

As a result of upgrading the lighting at the BMIP parking facility, the EDIC anticipates an annual saving of 473,040 kWh, translating into $70,956 in energy savings and avoidance of 530,070 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity plants. In addition, because of the long life of the luminaires, the agency also expects to save approximately $15,300 in maintenance costs per year.

The goal for lighting the modern parking facility should be more than an energy story. While energy savings is irrefutably the most important chapter, the story is not complete without the inclusion of more uniform and true-to-color light. The resulting facility is one that welcomes drivers off the street to stay awhile. Why stop at energy savings, when a lighting upgrade can increase revenue, reduce maintenance costs, and minimize safety and security concerns at the same time?

Antonio Giacobbe is market segment manager, outdoor/parking at OSRAM SYLVANIA. He can be reached at press@sylvania.com or 206.321.9686.

TPP-2014-03-Lighting It Up

The Metrics that Matter

TPP-2014-03-The Metrics that Matter
By Pete Messman

It is increasingly difficult to argue against having energy-efficient lighting installed in a parking garage. Even garages that were built recently with traditional metal halide or high-pressure sodium fixtures should be considering a retrofit as the benefits affect everyone—customers, managers, and owners. But there is a huge variety of choices, each with certain trade-offs. Understanding how to make an apples-to-apples comparison can be difficult. That is why it is important to understand the metrics that matter.

Let’s begin our discussion by reviewing some of the key terminology used in lighting. A lumen (lm) quantifies the illumination that is emitted from a fixture. In the U.S., the measurement of the light in an area is referred to as a footcandle (fc). Watts are the amount of energy a fixture draws to produce its illumination. And it’s a lamp, not a bulb, that produces illumination. Illumination is what you want. Watt-hours—or more commonly kilowatt-hours (kWh)—are what you pay for.

Retrofit Considerations
When choosing to undergo a lighting retrofit, there are a few common issues that are prioritized differently for each buyer:

The safety of drivers and pedestrians is an obvious reason to start, as insufficient light levels that fail to meet Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) standards jeopardize everyone and put building owners at significant liability risk. Unfortunately, most garages today do not meet the standards for absolute minimum illumination on a surface (1 fc), average on pavement (6 fc), and maximum-minimum uniformity of light throughout the garage (10:1). Even people who have no idea how to use a light meter know when a dark garage doesn’t feel safe.

Cost is another huge factor. Short lamp life and high labor costs are driving maintenance through the roof for many operators. And the electricity required for metal halide and high-pressure sodium fixtures is twice what it takes to get the same illumination with newer applications.

Sustainability is another area of significant focus in the parking industry, whether for new facilities or retrofitting existing structures. Fortunately, energy-
efficient lighting retrofits are one of the low-hanging fruit green investments that offer excellent paybacks. Depending on local electricity rates and incentives that may be available, these projects routinely have project paybacks of two years or less. Additionally, until the end of 2013, a federal tax deduction was available under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) for commercial properties. While this deduction has expired, there is an effort on Capitol Hill to have it reinstated. Given the federal corporate tax rate of up to 35 percent, this tax deduction can provide a significant boost when evaluating these projects.

Once customer safety and satisfaction are recognized, along with the economic benefits, where’s the best place to start? Unfortunately, too often, decision-makers who are unaware start with technology. Whatever is the flavor of the day gets first consideration. If it’s the newest, it must be the best, right? But in reality, buyers will pay a premium for any technology that is still going up the product development maturation curve. Early adopters simply get less overall value for their money.

Additionally, there may be an exclusive focus on electricity consumption, resulting in inadequate light levels. As an example, a 175W MH fixture consuming 215 watts and providing light that just meets IESNA standards is putting out approximately 11,500 lumens after a year burn-in. Replace that with a 47W LED fixture that is putting out roughly 3,900 lumens after the same period of time. What is the result? A 75 percent reduction in electricity costs, which sounds great. But that goes along with a 66 percent reduction in light output, which is most likely going to make a bad lighting situation dramatically worse.

So, what are the metrics that really matter? And by metrics, we’re referring to quantifiable data that are readily available and provide the basis for a reasonable comparison. Decisions should be driven by what creates the safest, most appealing parking environment while providing the best financial performance. Taking the decision-making process to a more fundamental level, however, the key outcomes that owners and operators want are good light, cheaply, and for the long haul. Thus, the three primary metrics that matter in decision-
making are:

  • Luminous efficacy, or lumen output per watt consumed.
  • Cost effectiveness, or lumens of output per dollar spent.
  • Total lighting value, including electricity and maintenance savings over the life of the system.

The Metrics
Start with good light. Meeting the IESNA standards is a minimum. To ensure those light levels, it’s critical to evaluate how much light a new fixture will provide for the amount of electricity it will consume. This is luminous efficacy. Fortunately, as a metric, it transcends technologies, which is what makes it so important. All that is required is a basic calculation: lumen output divided by watts consumed. What we see looking at stated performance specs for parking garage lighting is that LED efficacy ranges between 70 and 100 lumens per watt (lm/w). Induction lights are around 70. And fluorescents are around 95 to 110. These values are compared to metal halides, which are around 50 lm/w. As you can see, newer technologies are still playing catch-up to older ones.

Too often, garage lighting is considered only from the cost perspective. But having an appreciation for the benefits of a well-lighted environment doesn’t mean money is no object. Far from it—even decision makers who believe in the importance of good lighting want to make sure they are getting the most bang for their buck. That’s why the next metric is cost-effectiveness. Using efficacy and dividing it by the installed cost, we’re able to get a good picture of the value that each fixture provides to deliver a lumen. In general, for fluorescent fixtures, it costs just less than $2 per lm/w. For induction, the cost is around $6. And LEDs cost between $9 and $11, or as much as five times the cost of a fluorescent fixture that delivers the same amount of illumination.

Garage lighting projects don’t happen very often. Lights are installed when a garage is built and then they can (and should) last 15 to 20 years or more. All will need some level of maintenance, whether it’s new lamps, lenses, or ballasts, or a power-washing or other cleaning to get rid of bird nests. Wires start to age, drivers fail, or connections come loose. And while paybacks on lighting retrofits are usually in the two- to four-year timeframe depending on conditions, the continued return on investment comes over the long haul, when energy savings and reduction of maintenance costs from longer lamp life come into play.

Long-Term Value
When evaluating long-term paybacks, the easiest metric to understand is total cost per hour. While it’s one thing to calculate savings based on electricity consumption, incorporating operations cost from maintenance is trickier as different lamp life, variation in the cost of lamps, and serviceability all factor in to this critical cost. Take the installed cost of the fixture, plus the total energy costs over an evaluation term and add in the relamp and reballast or fixture replacement costs over that period. By dividing that cost by the total number of hours over the term, we are able to see how much it actually costs to illuminate a space from each fixture. In this case, we find that over the long term, LEDs are more than twice as expensive (2.8 to 3.3 cents per hour) as the least cost option, which are fluorescents at 1.4 cents per hour.

Total cost per hour implies equivalent light output, which is very much not accurate. Garage lights depreciate (or outright fail) at very different rates. This is why total lighting value (TLV) is so significant and the third key metric. When calculating TLV, it is important to use initial light output, rates of depreciation, and rated life to try to get a reasonable estimate of the average illumination. By incorporating the lighting performance with the cost factors and then comparing those against one another, it is possible to get a reasonable comparison of total lighting value across technologies. It is the entire life-cycle cost integrated with the lighting performance over the long-term.

Note that the LED and Induction fixtures are generally what is known as “nonserviceable,” meaning that rather than putting in a new lamp or ballast as required, once the fixture no longer produces adequate light, the entire unit must be replaced.

In nonserviceable fixtures, such as nearly all LEDs, the elephant in the room is that once the fixture goes dark, it’s done—there is no inexpensive relamping option available. So while the theoretical rated fixture life may be 10 years or more, it’s important to note the way this is calculated. For most fixtures, rated life is based on an estimation of when 50 percent of the fixtures will still perform satisfactorily, which is generally recognized as 70 percent of original output (L70). Therefore, 50 percent of the fixtures will not perform satisfactorily at that time. Whether this is caused by the LEDs burning out, internal wiring coming loose, or a driver failing, as a nonserviceable fixture it’s rip-and-replace or let the garage light levels plummet. For other fixtures in which relamping and reballasting are options, fixtures can last decades and continue to generate positive economic returns long after the initial retrofit project has been performed.

While the metrics outlined here are the most critical, there are other important factors in a lighting retrofit decision that can be somewhat more difficult to quantify. These include the reliability of the manufacturing and the ability of the fixture to withstand the harsh environmental stress of a parking garage. Many new technologies are being developed both by traditional players with already-established track records and by startups that do not have a reputation to rely on. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s LED Luminaire Reliability study noted that nearly 20 percent of their tested fixtures did not even reach 1,000 hours before dropping below L70.

Lighting performance is another factor that often gets overlooked. There are a couple of key aspects that help drive how lights actually look once installed. The first is an uplight contribution that will illuminate the entire cavity of the garage and reduce the cave effect that can make a garage look dark and foreboding. Uniformity, where illumination is consistent throughout the parking and drive areas, eliminates the “checkerboard” effect that can be so distracting to drivers. The color of the illumination and the glare produced by a fixture can also have significant impact on how a retrofit will look.

When evaluating potential options for a relighting project, recognize the key metrics for evaluating options across all technologies and choose wisely.

Pete Messman is regional manager of Green Lighting Technologies. He can be reached at pm@greenlightingtechnologies.com or 703.243.7572.

TPP-2014-03-The Metrics that Matter

Being Prepared

TPP-2014-03-Being PreparedBy Scott Kangas, CAPP

Every business—and parking is a business—should have a business continuation or emergency action plan (EAP). This is a plan of action should something (weather, hazardous chemical, fire, vandalism, etc.) occur that affects normal operations. The plan needs to address local, regional, and even national circumstances and cover all the potential risks you might encounter. If another Sept. 11 shuts down airlines, rail lines, and other infrastructure services, what is your backup plan?

Think it can’t happen to you? Primary risks for parking lots include tornadoes, flooding, high winds (downed trees blocking access), power outage, snow/ice events, chemical spill, or train derailments to name just a few. There are other significant risks that seem remote but are still relevant, including plane crash, vandalism/sabotage, building collapse, or mudslide. Other risks are also possible, such as nuclear accident, explosion (sewer, gas, or device), and incidents in other nearby facilities.

Downtown Minneapolis had a water main break last January that left it with no bathroom facilities and flooded parking lots in 19-degree weather. Traffic was diverted. How would your customers get to or from where they need to go in such a situation? If you operate depending on computers or electrical heat, what are you going to do after a storm blacks out the area? No power, no internet, and even a disgruntled former employee can take down your systems—it doesn’t have to be a big event.

Address the Risks
We all need to address these possible risks before they occur. Snow and ice aren’t a routine issue in Dallas, but remember Super Bowl 2011? The city saw two storms in a week that stopped city bus and light rail service completely and left up to two inches of ice on freeways. Plows and sanding trucks from all over the state were brought to the Metroplex to get people around. Many were without power.

Baylor Medical, where I worked at the time, has eight garages and more than 30 lots in Dallas. As a hospital, we needed to get staff in—everyone from doctors and nurses to nutrition and janitorial staff to laundry suppliers and food delivery trucks—so we were not able to wait for the ice to melt. The parking and transportation department kept shuttle buses running and provided transportation to selected doctors as needed. We had a plan in place to get the priority areas, such as the helipad, main streets, and garage entrances and exits, cleared before we worked on the perimeter parking lots.

Our plan worked, but it’s a good idea to revisit regularly to ensure you’ve accounted for many scenarios:

The workplace. If you experience a chemical spill, bomb threat, tornado, or earthquake, do you have another place people can work that is equipped to allow continued operations? Do your employees know if they are required to work under these conditions or if they should stay home? Are you going to continue to pay them, and how will you do that if your systems aren’t functional or accessible? How are you going to handle having people out helping their families instead of being at work? Do you have a policy on that?

What if the lines are down and cell towers are out or jammed with the extra use? Remember Hurricane Sandy?

Data. Are your computers backed up? Is that backup off site? What about your primary data—what happens if your cloud vendor is struck by a major event? Is each machine equipped with uninterruptible power or a generator?

The office. If your roof is torn off and you experience substantial rain damage, what needs to be replaced to keep you operational? Simple things such as staplers, pens, and rubber bands can be quickly replaced, so having a list of items in advance will save much time and anguish. Don’t forget nonstandard supplies, such as hand sanitizer or toilet paper.

Communicating with customers. Are your mailing lists up to date? Do you have an accessible list to use to send a quick mailer to customers and suppliers letting them know what’s going on? Don’t forget your cleaning service and shipping vendor, either.

Insurance. Do you know your agent’s number? Your policy information? Can you report damage if you can’t get to the office?
A standing line of credit might be a wise thing to have ahead of time to deal with all of the costs associated with the loss from the time the loss occurs until an insurance settlement occurs. Do you need to order a new batch of checks if what you have is buried under a collapsed roof or blown to the next state in a tornado?

Planning Ahead
Another thing to think about and make clear to everyone is who’s included in key management personnel or chain of command. We all have that employee who says, “Bob is my boss. I report to Bob.” What happens when Bob is not available to instruct the employee, or someone on the decision-making side is out of contact or unavailable?

Planning is continual and ongoing, and your plan must be taken seriously at all levels of the operation. Be sure, by the way, to check with your critical suppliers and customers and see what their plan is. You will want to have dedicated media spokespersons who are in contact with a senior manager. All of your equipment and major spare parts should be inventoried with age, make, model, and cost to replace. Test your safety equipment (smoke detectors, for example), and make sure your emergency equipment and supplies are well-stocked and up to date. Are there people who need assistance to get to cover or out of the building if disaster strikes? Who is responsible for them?

Everyone on your staff should know and understand what local, state, and federal warnings mean. Employees should be able to quickly secure their own areas and then check on others who might need assistance. Take the time to identify and stock employee survival needs, and do it before a storm is in the forecast. Know how to secure your data and access it when systems are down.

When Disaster Strikes
It’s imperative to plan for a disaster before it happens, and that means educating and drilling with your staff. The first immediate action is to ensure everyone is accounted for. In case of a fire, for example, there should be a designated safe location where everyone should meet. The steps of the bank across the street are probably fine in this case, but that won’t work during a tornado. And did you remember the person in the wheelchair? He needs to be able to get there.

Next, treat any injuries, contact outside emergency agencies as appropriate, and provide basic security; do you have a contract with a security company already in place for such emergencies? Make critical repairs, even if only temporary. Do you have a plan to board up windows? Can you get plywood? Even a bad summer storm takes some planning ahead.

Be prepared for people’s first and secondary responses during an emergency. In the first minutes or hours, you can expect people to be irrational and not focused on work. Their priorities will likely be their own survival, the safety of their friends and family, their co-workers, their property, and their finances. Once those concerns fade a bit, you can expect denial and shock and guilt before recovery can begin; in a big disaster, there’s a mourning process that will affect decisions.

As soon as possible, your established disaster management team should meet and try to determine the actual and potential damage to the company. An assessment of the status of each department from both a physical and workforce perspective should be performed.

This is a good start. Check with your legal, risk management, and insurance companies for more information and ideas.

Scott Kangas, CAPP, is director of campus parking and transportation services at Northern Illinois University. He can be reached at skangas@NIU.edu or 815.753.0550.

TPP-2014-03-Being Prepared

Guns In the Lot

TPP-2014-03-Guns In the LotBy Kim Fernandez

Joshua Stone stopped his car in a College Station, Texas, parking garage exit lane in early February, apparently to rummage for something in the vehicle. Drivers behind him grew impatient, as they often do, and honked their horns to get him to move along. Stone didn’t take the noisy nudging very well: News reports said he got out of his car ready for a fight and brandishing a gun.

Thankfully, the 23-year-old didn’t hurt anyone, and police arrived to charge him with disorderly conduct and unlawfully carrying a weapon, but it’s the kind of scenario that’s a nightmare for parking facility owners, managers, and frontline workers. What happens when someone shows up with a weapon?

Workplace shootings are a real concern for business owners. A study by the University of North Carolina found that offices that allow guns on site are five times more likely to experience homicides than those that ban firearms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2010 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 78 percent of workplace homicides were shootings; that year, 405 people were shot dead at work.

Those numbers—and the resulting media coverage—are largely behind the implementation of so-called guns at work laws around the country. And while those laws may put many business owners’ minds at ease, they’ve had the opposite effect for those in parking.

Guns at Work
According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based organization that works on “the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives,” 22 U.S. states have passed guns at work laws since the first ones were written in 2005. While each has its own nuances, the basics are the same: Employees must be allowed to keep guns in their vehicles while they’re at work even if their employers ban weapons on the job.

The Law Center says the trend may spell very bad news for parking professionals. “The more guns that are around, especially in public places, including private spaces open to the public, the more potential there is for accidents or intentional use of a gun that could end in an injury or death,” says Senior Staff Attorney Laura Cutilletta. “I certainly think it’s a cause for concern.”

There is currently no federal law that restricts the open carry of firearms in public, excluding regulations specific to property owned or operated by the government. Gun laws are left to the states:

  • California, Florida, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., prohibit any open carrying of firearms in public.
  • New York, South Carolina, and Texas prohibit open carrying of handguns but not of long guns (rifles, shotguns, etc.).
  • Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey prohibit open carrying of long guns but not of handguns.
  • Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah allow open carry of handguns by those with a permit or license.

While guns at work laws are designed to let workers leave weapons in their parked cars, they do vary. Some only mandate it on employer-owned lots; some apply only to drivers who have carry permits; and some say guns are allowed in parked cars anywhere at any time by anyone.

“The most broad version of this law is that you can’t preclude anybody who comes onto your property, if you’re a business, from keeping a gun in their car in the parking lot,” says Cutilletta.

As more of these laws are passed, should you be concerned? That depends who you believe.

Parking Concerns
“From a practical standpoint, this means almost nothing,” says Steve Wolf, author of The Smart Citizen’s Guide to Concealed Carry and owner of Tactical ­Choices, which offers firearms and self-defense training in Austin, Texas. “The number of guns in cars compared with the number of cars parked is infinitesimal. You can probably park cars for 10 years and not come across a firearm.”

Others agree. “The reality is that people who are likely to cause trouble are criminals who by definition don’t follow the laws anyway,” says Chicago attorney Chris Shepherd, who studies gun laws. “They are already armed, and they’re already coming into businesses with their guns.”

“I’ve been a criminal defense lawyer for eight years,” he says. “Criminals are, by definition, people who don’t follow the law.”

“There’s no reason to be nervous,” adds David Kopel, research director, Independence Institute, and adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law, Denver University Sturm College of Law. “These laws have existed in many states for years, and there have been no problems.”

He may be right—there are no readily-available statistics on guns in parked cars. Still, not everyone thinks laws that allow weapons on the parking lot are a good thing.

“This started a few years ago,” says Cutilletta. “Someone took a gun to work and was disciplined for it, and it got a lot of publicity and gave rise to these laws. When one or two states do something, it becomes a trend. The gun lobby was pushing for this particular law and had model language they sent around to legislators.”

Kopel says the laws help protect employees and drivers’ rights. “The decision is that people have a right to carry guns in most states, usually after a licensing process that involves a fingerprint background check and safety training,” he says. “People also recognize this as a social matter—people commute. It’s not like we live across the street from the factory where we work.”

He says gun owners aren’t always looking for confrontation, either. “In some areas of the country, it’s pretty common to work until 3 p.m. during hunting season and then go out hunting and have fun after work,” he says.

The National Rifle Association—among the biggest gun lobbies in the U.S.—didn’t respond to interview requests for this story. But Cutilletta says the push for guns at work laws seems to have slowed.

“States that are interested in doing this have done it,” she says. “It seems to, hopefully, have spread as far as it’s going to, but you can never be sure.”

Cutilletta points out that even in states where guns are allowed inside vehicles in any parking facility, they must be stored according to state laws; in most cases, that’s unloaded in a locked container. That might help alleviate parking owners’ fears that guns in cars could be stolen and used to commit crimes on site.

“Parking attendants have a possibility of being in a car that contains a firearm,” says Wolf. “But if they’ve been trained, they know they have no business touching property in the vehicle other than the keys, the wheel, and the transmission shifter. The temptation for theft may exist, but parking companies have to have liability insurance to protect against theft.”

Background checks of employees are also critical, he says. “The theft of a firearm may be a higher order of crime than the theft of other property, especially if the background of the person parking the car included any felony convictions,” he says.
And, he points out, modern weapons make accidental discharges of guns not in someone’s hands pretty unlikely. “Modern firearms don’t go off by themselves,” he says. “There’s not a risk of accidental discharge unless it’s touched.”

Parking Facility Rights
Whether privately-owned parking lots have to comply with guns at work laws is a bit murky. Most experts agree that municipal, hospital, university, and airport facilities are subject to regulations that govern those organizations: If the municipal or campus lot is in an area where firearms are allowed, they’re also permitted in parked cars. But owners of private garages and lots may have a leg to stand on if they want to ban guns.

“As a private property owner, you’re free to do what you want,” says Kopel. “Many state laws say that if you’re going to forbid guns on private property or at a business that’s open to the public, you have to post that there are no guns or guns of a certain size. It’s really a state-by-state thing, and the key is to consult an attorney in your own state.”

It’s also important to bear in mind that parking attendants may be permitted by state law to carry firearms and parking operations need to have written policies on firearms. Wolf cautions that regulations about training and permits still apply where guns are allowed: A parking worker in a state that bans open carry can’t bring a gun to work.

Finally, Cutilletta says, lot and garage owners should remember that overarching rules about guns supersede parking-specific regulations. “All of these laws, no matter how broad, require that it be a lawful possession to begin with,” she says. “If you’re breaking the law in some other way—you’re prohibited from possessing a gun or you’re storing it in a way not in keeping with state law—guns at work laws do not apply and the property owner is able to take action.”

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

TPP-2014-03-Guns In the Lot

Pot on the Job Employer Rights

TPP-2014-03-Pot on the Job Employer RightsBy Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP

I spent the first nine months of my legal career defending and monitoring the legal process of three American citizens accused of conspiring to smuggle marijuana into Bolivia. Thirty-seven years later, two of the last three U.S. presidents have admitted to smoking pot (the third refused to answer).

Twenty states have legalized medical marijuana at press time, and two have legalized recreational marijuana use. The federal government still classifies marijuana as an illegal prohibited substance and a Schedule 1 drug—the same category as heroin.

Is America ready for Cheech and Chong in the workplace? The legal landscape for employers is confusing. How do you deal with an employee who tests positive for marijuana? Can you test an employee for marijuana use? Can you refuse employment to someone who uses medical marijuana? What about federal regulations prohibiting marijuana use?

The answers to these questions are emerging on a case-by-case and state-by-state basis. Some states have addressed some of these issues in legislation legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana use. In some jurisdictions, marijuana is treated like a prescription drug or alcohol. All state jurisdictions permit an employer to prohibit an employee from working while under the influence and testing positive for marijuana.

Court Decisions
Supreme Courts in Montana, Washington, California, and Oregon have permitted employers to discharge employees who are medical marijuana users. The courts rejected arguments that the legalization of marijuana for medical use gave employees a protected class status. Instead, the courts found that the legislative intent and public policy of the states was to decriminalize the use of marijuana and not to create any special employment protection for medical marijuana users.

In Illinois, Washington, Montana, Oregon, California, and Massachusetts, employers may prohibit the use and possession of marijuana in the workplace. However, Illinois, Delaware, Arizona, and Maine prohibit employment discrimination against qualified persons who are registered users of medical marijuana. To date, claims under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by medical marijuana users for employment protection have failed because marijuana is a banned and illegal drug substance under federal law.

Other federal laws that affect employees in IPI member environments are those governing employees in the transportation industry, such as highways, airports, and mass transit systems, where drug testing is federally mandated and a positive test requires an employee to be removed from safety-sensitive positions. Additionally, public and private agencies in medical marijuana states that have received funding from the federal government may be in conflict with the federal Drug Free Act (Just Say No!) that requires employers to maintain workplaces in which employees are prohibited from using controlled substances, including marijuana.

Parking Employers
Employers who fall under federal drug-testing jurisdiction because of federal transportation regulations, grantsmanship, or Homeland Security or other federal programs should review their employee handbooks and reinforce that testing positive for marijuana is a dischargeable offense, notwithstanding any state statute that permits patient registration and medical marijuana use.

For employers in medical marijuana-approved state jurisdictions that are silent on the employer’s right to discharge an employee for testing positive or where there is currently no case law, there is a need to state in the employee manual (as with all prescription drug use) that the employee must not be impaired or place himself, coworkers, the public, or property in danger of injury or damage.

Lastly, in jurisdictions that prohibit discrimination against medical marijuana use, there should be a clear policy in the employee manual of referring registered medical marijuana users who are impaired on the job to appropriate medical (drug, urine, saliva) and other testing to determine the degree of impairment. That policy should also spell out disciplinary actions for workplace impairment, including suspension or discharge from employment.

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

TPP-2014-03-Pot on the Job Employer Rights

Going Green for Well-Being

TPP-2014-03-Going Green for Well-BeingBy Jeff Petry

Sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being, which has ecological, economic, political, and cultural dimensions (so says Wikipedia) for human societies. It is traditionally viewed as making decisions today that take into consideration the economic, environmental, and societal effects of tomorrow. Sustainability is infused in our everyday work environments and personal lives.

Reuse and recycling is the original sustainable solution that reaches from the days of reusing glass milk bottles to the more recent recycling of everything from aluminum cans to building materials. Everyday sustainability conversations now focus on efficient lighting, environmentally-friendly cleaners, and supporting local businesses. Given the evolution of sustainability to date, how will the practice continue its transformation? And how does it tie into our parking profession?
Let’s look at sustainability from the social perspective and discuss the use of public art panels in parking garages in Eugene. Ore., as an example that moves us forward toward a sustainable parking frontier.

Art in the Garage
Our first and largest parking garage in Euguene is the Overpark Garage. It is a five-story, 600-stall parking structure built in 1969 over a heavily used street—it is highly visible in our downtown core to motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. Most people would agree that the garage would benefit from an extreme makeover, but the realities of our current budget situation put that option out of reach for the moment. So we in the parking department started to focus on what we could do in this garage: What community assets could we highlight, and with whom could we partner? With the help of community partners (and a poetically-inclined employee) we connected with a local poetry group.

The end product was much more enriching than what a parking professional might have dreamed. It started with an initial installation of “Step into Poetry” panels placed on each landing of an internal concrete stairwell. Next, we expanded to a second stairwell with “Step into Stories,” whose panels feature full stories in fewer than 200 words. The final installation of “Step into Theatre” features short plays of 200 words or less. In total, we installed 27 panels in all three Overpark garage stairwells.

The Green Factor
What makes this a sustainable project?

  • We created lasting partnerships with our local writing community, including the Lane Literary Guild, Oregon Poetry Association, and Young Writers Association.
  • We supported local arts in our community and the development of future artists.
    The project helped reinforce the creative, distinctive culture of our downtown and its revitalization efforts.
  • The project helps encourage our parking customers to take the stairs, getting them moving and helping fight obesity. More people taking the stairs also enhances
    security in the stairwells.
  • The project reduced graffiti and tagging in stairways.
  • By investing about $3,600 for all three stairway installations, we received positive media coverage with an estimated marketing value of more than $10,000.

Words surround us everywhere, every day, so much that our public spaces are crowded with text that tells us where to go, what to buy, and what not to do. So when we came upon this opportunity to add words that are actually art to a downtown space, create local partnerships, reduce operating costs, support our local art community, provide a reason to use the stairs, and add to the fabric that makes our downtown unique, we jumped at the chance. At the same time, we provided a small example of how the parking profession can push the sustainability frontier.

Jeff Petry is parking manager for the City of Eugene, Ore., and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at jeff.t.petry@ci.eugene.or.us or 541.682.5079.

TPP-2014-03-Going Green for Well-Being

The Difference Between Getting By and Moving Forward

TPP-2014-03-The Difference Between Getting By and Moving ForwardBy Matthew Inman

I’ve had the privilege of working with parking programs all across North America. I’ve seen some that excel and some that struggle with seemingly basic responsibilities. I’ve seen brand-new parking organizations spring to life and well-established programs fall into decline. What differentiates the successful organizations from the ones that have lost their way? All of the organizations I’ve worked with want to develop a highly-functioning, customer-focused parking program. They all want to achieve success, but some fall short. Why?

Common Elements
“Never confuse motion with action.” —Benjamin Franklin

Every situation is different. There are no magical incantations that will remove the roadblocks placed in our way. There is no potion that will make people work together. All we can do is create a vision, work hard every day to improve, and create within our spheres of influence an environment that focuses on customer needs and program accountability. It doesn’t matter what your role may be—you have to be the spark that inspires others to achieve more.

That said, there are some common elements of successful programs that extend beyond day-to-day operations. Successful programs tend to be:

Motivated. Given the challenges we encounter each day (and the lack of respect we sometimes get), it can be difficult to stay motivated. However, this can be the greatest single ingredient to creating an environment of success. Everyone in the organization should have the opportunity to succeed. This means setting clear goals and responsibilities, advising staff of their progress, recognizing achievements, and providing training to correct deficiencies.

Accountable. Having strong financial controls, tracking appropriate benchmarks, and setting understandable goals are essential components of an accountable program. Every organization needs to set expectations, monitor progress, and hold staff accountable. People will sometimes fall short of the organization’s goals. It happens. Acknowledge the issue, work to correct it, communicate the action(s) taken, and move forward.

Knowledgeable. Nothing can foster community trust like having a knowledgeable team. Make sure everyone understands what the parking program does, why it does it, and how it is working to achieve more. Provide adequate job training to every staff member, following up as necessary, and make sure everyone has the opportunity to grow through industry-specific training programs.

Community-Focused. Successful parking programs are often well-integrated into their communities. They create connections with key organizations, departments, and people. They are always willing to meet with the people they serve and take an active role in community life. They listen, educate, and respond.

Innovative. I don’t believe in the old line, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Don’t be afraid of trying new things. Find out what your customers want—what they like and don’t like. Try out new strategies and technologies to better serve them, improve efficiency or effectiveness, and make your life easier (usually in that order).

It’s hard to move forward if you don’t know which way to go. You need a roadmap: a vision of where you want to be and a plan to get there. Get out of the day-to-day grind and take some time to review your situation, visualize what you want your program to become, and decide what changes are needed.

While there are other issues, these six items seem to set the upper echelon apart from the rest of the pack. Getting the basics covered and doing the same things that made your program successful in the past isn’t enough. Parking management is one of the most important components of a successful downtown, university, hospital, airport, or private development. What we do has a profound effect on the communities we work in and the people we serve. It is paramount that we do all we can to strive for success in ourselves, in those that we work with, and in our communities as a whole.

Matthew Inman is vice president, studies and operations consulting, of Carl Walker, Inc., and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at minman@carlwalker.com or 269.381.2222.

TPP-2014-03-The Difference Between Getting By and Moving Forward