Tag Archives: TPP-2014-05

Thinking Ahead

Thinking Ahead

By Sanjay Pandya, PE

Facilitating immediate or future adaptive reuse of parking structures. 

Technology and advances in society are affecting current thinking related to mobility and Thinking Ahead PDF Articledirectly affecting traffic, transportation, and parking. What will the future hold? Will parking demands increase, decrease, or simply change? What will become of our current parking structures in the future? Can a parking structure be designed today to be adapted into something different tomorrow?

There have been conversations among parking professionals, structure owners, urban planners, transportation professionals, and architects regarding the current and future effect on parking of technological, mobility, and societal changes such as:

  • The migration of suburbanites to urban centers.
  • Millennials driving less than previous generations and forgoing car ownership.
  • Car-sharing services (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, etc.).
  • Connected and autonomous vehicles.
  • The drive toward reducing vehicular traffic and making communities more pedestrian-friendly and walkable.

Meeting Needs
Many communities are already taking measures to meet the evolving parking and transportation needs of communities of today and the future. For example, forward-thinking administrators are revising their zoning codes and moving away from minimum parking ratios to maximum parking ratios for selected land uses. In addition, most are recognizing a reduction in parking demand for transit-oriented development (TOD) and shared-use parking.

However, most agree that the need for parking structures is not going to go away anytime soon, even as technology quickly changes. Parking may not be the most glamorous element of a development or community, but many community planners and developers recognize that when it’s done right, parking is key to realizing their vision for an active and vibrant community and a successful development.

The service life of many parking structures being designed now is typically about 50 to 75 years. As a result, these buildings are and will continue to be fixtures of our communities’ urban landscape. However, we are realizing that with time, our mobility options and preferences are going to change. The needs of the urban community are going to change. The last thing anyone wants or needs is to build a structure that will be obsolete or severely underutilized.

What if parking structures could be designed to not only handle current needs but also adapt to better meet the evolving parking and transportation needs of communities in the future? What if we could future-proof the parking structure of today and design it to be adaptable to become a community mobility hub, a community event center, or even some other type of land use? Can this be done physically and economically?

Designing to Adapt
I believe it can be done for a new parking structure design, and it may also be possible for an existing structure retrofit. Some would argue that it would be simpler and less costly to demolish an existing parking structure and replace it with a new building more suitable for the new use. But in some circumstances and for many owners taking the long view, this may not be the most environmentally responsible or cost-effective choice. So how do we go about doing this in a creative and economical way? What should we consider and do today to allow parking structures to be multifunctional and adaptable in the future?

The Challenge
Parking structures are unique building types. They are typically open to the environment and are designed to be storage facilities (group S occupancy); they’re generally not conditioned, occupied spaces. They are typically more horizontal than vertical in configuration. The primary focus of parking structure design has been to efficiently move cars in, store them, and then move them back out efficiently. In contrast, buildings for non-parking uses focus on making the occupied space safe, habitable, appealing, and accessible for people. There are a number of design features of a parking structure that don’t lend themselves to non-parking uses:

  • Story heights. Typically, parking structure story heights range between 10 feet and 11 feet, six inches. Those measurements are not suitable for most commercial office/retail or residential uses.
  • Sloped floors. Parking structures require sloped floors to facilitate vehicular circulation between parking levels and for drainage.
  • Size, number, and layout of stairs and elevators. Stairs are a means of egress for life safety and are sized based on code-prescribed occupant load factor associated with an occupancy use classification. For parking structures, the occupant load factor is 200 square feet per person, whereas for an office (Group B) and mercantile (Group M) occupancy it is 100 and 60 square feet per person, respectively, resulting in the requirement for wider stair widths and/or additional stairs. Stairs and accompanying elevators are typically located along the perimeter of a parking structure, whereas in non-parking use buildings, they are typically located within the interior of the building footprint.
  • HVAC systems are not provided for parking floor areas.
  • Many jurisdictions don’t require parking structures to have fire sprinklers for fire protection but do require the systems in other kinds of buildings.
  • The minimum code-prescribed floor live loading for parking structures is 40 pounds per square foot. For other uses such as office, retail, library reading rooms, public meeting space and their corridors, the requirement is between 50 and 100 pounds per square foot.

Possible Solutions
So what can be done differently when planning for and designing the parking structure of the future to compensate for these standard parking structure design features? Plenty:

Increase story heights. We could make the height of the first story a minimum of 15 feet and the height of typical upper stories 12 feet. These heights are more suitable to provide higher clear heights of 12+ feet for ground-level commercial/retail use and 9+ feet for office, community meeting, or possibly residential use. If sufficient site length is not available to provide a parked on-ramp with these story heights or more flat floor area is desired than non-parked-on express ramps (with slope greater than 6.67 percent) could be provided for a portion or the entire length of a ramp. These ramps could be situated near ends of the floor plate or along its sides to provide for more flat floor area.

  • Design the floor framing to allow for the ramped parking bay to be more readily demolished. One way to accomplish this is to provide a double row of columns along the bay with the ramp and expansion/construction joints at the top and bottom of each floor-to-floor ramp segment. This would likely require additional framing elements for lateral load resistance and detailing to facilitate load transfer and accommodate building movement at the expansion/construction joints. While this would add to the initial construction costs, it would also provide an opportunity for modifying each floor to be a complete flat floor plate for future uses.
  • Include 25- to 30-feet-wide light wells between parking bays to provide space for the construction of additional elevator and stair cores and flat-floor construction for corridors within the interior of the building footprint. Foundations for these future pedestrian circulation elements could be constructed as part of the initial construction.
  • The perimeter stair and elevator cores that serve the parking structure could be located outboard to the floor plate. This would allow for easier demolition of these elements if they don’t adequately serve the alternate use.
  • Design floor framing for additional load-carrying capacity by including provisions for adding columns and beams to reduce beam and slab spans or supplement conventional and post-tensioned slab and beam reinforcement to support additional floor loads. This additional load-carrying capacity could accommodate a topping slab to level out the floor drainage slope.
  • The impacts of floor cross slope for drainage could be reduced by providing additional floor drains.
  • Building columns, walls, and foundations could be designed to accept vertical expansion and the addition of a podium level for a public plaza recreational space or a one- or two-story light-framed (type 5 framed wood construction) building structure.
  • Design for either the removal of perimeter vehicle and pedestrian guard rails or detail connection points to accept future installation of building facade elements (e.g., curtain wall/store front system, panelized EIFS, or stucco wall system, etc.), including doors and windows to fully enclose the perimeter of the structure.
  • Provide additional capacity in the electrical service, sanitary sewer, and fire protection systems. Include provisions for electrical and mechanical chases to accommodate duct work and cabling and additional space for mechanical and electrical service and fire protection equipment (fire pumps, emergency generators, etc.).

These are just some provisions that would need to be considered and addressed in the design of new parking structures to provide the opportunity for the structures to be adapted for non-parking uses in the future. Additional structural and architectural consideration may need to be identified based on whether the parking structure is constructed of cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete, or steel-framed construction.

I recognize that not all projects will lend themselves to implementing design enhancement for facilitating future adaptive reuse, but for some projects and owners, it may be beneficial to investigate the possibilities during project planning and design development. Parking structures designed in this manner to accommodate future conversion to a different use will cost more initially. The economic decision to proceed in this manner will need to be considered by community leaders and owners to determine the feasibility of such an investment for our environment and communities.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts and feedback—my email address is to the right.

TPP-2017-11 Thinking Ahead

SANJAY PANDYA is a parking practice builder and senior project manager with Kimley-Horn. He can be reached at sanjay.pandya@kimley-horn.com.


The Right Moment

TPP-2014-05-The Right MomentBy Phill Schragal

When it comes to independent parking operators, owners, and property managers often adhere to the old adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, when assessing the bottom-line performance of an operator, it makes sense to take a closer look every now and then—“broken” can be relative.

When property owners and managers become complacent about their outsourced operations, they often end up leaving money on the table that could otherwise flow to their bottom lines. Owners and managers have to work hard to eliminate unnecessary expenses and keep every hard-earned dollar, but ignoring their parking operations may lead to deficiencies in a number of key areas, including audit control, facility maintenance, marketing policies and pricing (daily and monthly rates), staffing requirements, and technological advances.

For owners and managers who have concerns about their operation or who just haven’t revisited their parking portfolio in a number of years, it may be time to put operations back in play by issuing a request for proposal for a parking operator. The RFP process provides an opportunity to evaluate a parking operation on a number of criteria in addition to cost, and if necessary, select a new operator. Of course, because the property manager is choosing an operator who may not be offering the best economic package or price point on the surface, it’s imperative that competing operators and the general public (in the case of public facilities) are satisfied that the selection process was fair and impartial and that no favoritism was shown toward the winning operator.

Considering Change
The following two case studies illustrate the value of issuing an RFP to assess the competence and competitive value offered by an incumbent parking operator.

In the first situation, a contracted operator handled the day-to-day management of a parking facility to the satisfaction of the property manager for more than 20 years. However, because of continuing economic challenges and a new company-wide policy to obtain competitive bids for all third-party services, an RFP for parking management services was issued. Through this process, the property manager discovered that his company was not receiving the best possible value for the management services provided.

The RFP contained staffing schedules as well as historical revenue data that clearly defined the scope and magnitude of the operation. After receiving responses from several qualified operators, a side-by-side comparison matrix of proposed operating expenses was developed. The matrix compared the operating expenses proposed by the longtime operator with other proposals. Additionally, all the proposed expense budgets were compared to the annual budget submitted by the operator three months prior to issuing the RFP, which the property manager felt was representative of the actual operating expenses required to manage the facility.

Much to the chagrin of the property manager, the expenses contained in the operator’s submittal were 12 percent less than those contained in their budget submitted months earlier. When questioned about this variance, the operator stated, “We assumed some economies of scale that had gone unnoticed during the annual budget preparation cycle.”

Unhappy with this response, the property manager requested a best and final budget proposal from the incumbent operator. Ultimately, the operator with whom the parking manager had done business for two decades did not survive the final review process and was replaced by another respected third-party firm. Other bidders offered an array of marketing opportunities the incumbent operator had failed to explore. Additionally, the successful bidder also noted under-market pricing and proposed to manage the parking facility with the same level of staffing at considerably less cost. The end result was additional bottom-line profit for the owner.

This situation isn’t unusual. It’s easy for long-term vendors to become so comfortable in their relationships with owners that they fail to look for new opportunities to improve the operation and find efficiencies. That’s why it’s important for owners and managers to avoid becoming complacent with their operators no matter how well things seem to be going or how close a personal relationship they may enjoy.

In the second case study, an operator managed a parking facility since its opening 15 years earlier. During this period, the property was sold and the operator was retained by the new owner under the terms and conditions of an existing agreement with the previous owner. Two years after purchasing the property, the new owner issued an RFP to assess operating costs along with the fees charged to manage the asset.

The proposal review process and subsequent short-listed operator interviews resulted in several bidders offering new marketing initiatives and technological enhancement opportunities. The incumbent operator promised business as usual.

A comparison matrix of proposed operating expenses revealed that the incumbent’s proposed annual operating costs were 11.5 percent higher than the nearest bidder and 47 percent higher than the least expensive, even though a base staffing schedule was included with the RFP to ensure apples-to-apples responses. The owner subsequently requested that the operator submit a best and final budget proposal and revised marketing plan. Much to the owner’s dismay, the best and final budget was still 5.5 percent greater than the nearest bidder and 26 percent higher than the least expensive. Additionally, the revised marketing plan clearly lacked the creativity shown by other respondents.
Eventually, because the operator was reluctant to reduce expenses, instead explaining that “some operators are just better and, in fact, command greater fees,” the owner awarded the asset to another firm.

Providers, Not Partners
In the past, owners often regarded parking operators as their partners. Today, parking operators should be viewed as service providers. The RFP process can help determine just how much they are providing and how proficiently their services are being delivered.

Parking management has changed dramatically in recent years. Operators work differently than in the past, when owners would pay only the actual direct costs incurred for their operation, including a fair profit for the operator. Some providers assess additional fees for the cost of insurance, uniforms, payroll taxes, equipment, and credit card fees. This is a way of marking up expenses and an approach that many owners and property managers do not recognize. To ensure that only those direct costs associated with managing your asset are being paid, property managers should implement a policy that requires regular and thorough reviews of all monthly operating expenses.

If an owner and manager feel they are leaving money on the table each month, it may be time to issue an RFP. The RFP process lets the owner and property manager know if they are paying too much, whether their parking operator is using the latest technologies that can save money, or if a high-volume parking structure is being operated as efficiently as possible.

A sample management agreement should be included as an exhibit with the RFP documents. This is the best way to ensure that an exact comparison is made. The management agreement will explain and differentiate:

  • Expenses that are reimbursable and nonreimbursable by the owner.
  • Insurance limits.
  • Where revenue is to be deposited (owner’s account or operator’s account).
  • Reporting requirements.

The processes for public and private entities can differ slightly. In the public sector, the agency must advertise for proposers even though it may establish reasonable minimum qualifications to participate in the RFP process. It may be advisable for public agencies to add to the process a request for qualifications (RFQ), whereby operators are asked to submit only their qualifications. Respondents that meet the minimum qualifications are then invited to participate in the RFP process. This can save the selection committee and the agency’s parking consultant valuable time otherwise spent reviewing proposals from nonqualified operators.

In the private sector, the owner or property manager, with assistance from a consultant, will prepare a list of qualified operators from whom they would like to request proposals. A pre-proposal meeting and walk-through is held after interested operators have had a chance to review the RFP document thoroughly. The walk-through familiarizes potential operators with the facility or facilities on which they will be proposing. Questions are not typically allowed during the pre-proposal meeting and walk-through to ensure that no operator will have an unfair advantage by reason of unilateral conversations with the owner or the owner’s consultant. Any questions resulting from reviewing the RFP or from the walk-through are solicited from the operators and answered through the issuance of a written addendum.

Most public agencies and many private companies select a committee to evaluate the proposals, attend finalist interviews, and select the best operator. The selection committee is usually comprised of people involved in overseeing the facility but sometimes may include people engaged in the parking business who are employed elsewhere.

The owner’s parking consultant assists the selection committee with the evaluation process by preparing an objective analysis of the proposals and answering questions the selection committee may have when it performs its own analysis. While they usually attend potential supplier interviews, most consultants prefer—or even demand—to be nonvoting committee members. In the public process, the consultant generally participates in the presentation to the final decision-making body (city council, airport commission, etc.).

If these guidelines are followed by the owner and consultant, everyone, including the losing operators, knows the selection process was fair and impartial.

An Eye-Opening Experience
For owners or property managers, the RFP can be an important tool. Whether the owner or manager feels the operator provides great service or there’s speculation that a replacement can provide similar service for less cost, issuing an RFP can be an eye-opening experience. It can often get the owner and property manager back on track when it comes to managing their parking asset to its fullest potential and help achieve the maximum bottom-line profitability for the owner.

Phill Schragal is director of the parking operations consultant group at Walker Parking Consultants. He can be reached at phill.schragal@walkerparking.com.

TPP-2014-05-The Right Moment

Modern Chauffeurs

TPP-2014-05-MODERN ChauffeursBy Soumya S. Dey, PE, PMP, and Stephanie Dock, AICP

The parking industry has seen more changes in the last decade than it did in the preceding 60-plus years, since the first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City in 1935. Fundamental shifts are underway that can be categorized into four broad categories:

  • A move to networked assets.
  • Additional payment options for customers.
  • Real-time information to use and share.
  • Recognition that pricing can be used as a lever to better manage parking demand.

These shifts are being created and shaped by broader factors in society, from urbanization to technological advances. There are various strategic tools that can be used to assess external factors driving an industry. The most popular model assesses the political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) factors that have an influence.

Here, we’ll summarize some of the key trends that have affected the parking industry and discuss how the industry has responded and changed as a result. The trends discussed are by no means exhaustive, but offer a flavor of some of the dynamics that are influencing innovation in the parking industry.

Urbanization is becoming a defining characteristic of the 21st century. Currently, more than half the global population lives in urban areas; that shoots up to 80 percent in the U.S. and Canada. From 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Census shows the urban population grew by 12.1 percent, compared to 9.7 percent for the nation overall.

Urban areas are major drivers in our economy. Globally, 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in urban areas and domestically, urban areas account for 87 percent of GDP (World Bank, 2013; U.S. Deptartment of Commerce, 2013, 2014). The cost of concentrated economic activity in urban areas is increasing congestion. The largest metropolitan areas are also the most congested; auto commuters spent an estimated 52 hours stuck in traffic per year in the largest urban areas, compared with 38 hours for urban areas overall (Lomax, Schrank, and Eisele, 2012). Exhibit 1 demonstrates how congestion grew in the U.S. from 1982 to 2011 in different-sized metropolitan areas.

Changing Demographics
There has been much emphasis on the effect of the millennial generation coming of age and the baby boomers retiring. Both groups have been cited as having helped drive a return to the city and the recent growth of the core cities of major metropolitan areas. The millennials, in particular, have moved to cities in record numbers, bringing with them an embrace of technology. Smart devices, constant connectivity (electronically and socially), and real-time information are hallmarks of their expectations for their lives and the services they consume. Their tech-savvy is helping to drive emphasis on these areas in society more broadly.

The aging of the baby boomer generation is also reshaping how our society meets the needs of the elderly. The sheer number of baby boomers means mobility for seniors will be a growing challenge as this generation ages.

Sustainability has gained ground as one of the defining issues of our society during the last 30 years. The 1987 Bruntland Commission report, Our Common Future, is considered a seminal document in raising awareness around this issue. Since its publication, the public’s embrace of this issue has brought it to the forefront in the corporate and political sectors. Environmental sustainability metrics and rating systems have grown up in response; one recent inventory found there were at least 1,400 different sustainability indicators and 900 sustainability initiatives globally (Fiksel, Eason, and Frederickson, 2012). Corporate sustainability/sustainability reporting is now a mainstream business practice, providing benefits often framed in terms of the triple bottom line: people, profit, and planet. The Global Reporting Initiative, one of the largest reporting frameworks for government and industry, currently includes almost 6,000 organizations in its database.

Pricing and Parking as Congestion Management Tools
Transportation’s political landscape has changed during the last two decades. Toll roads and congestion pricing strategies such as high-occupancy toll (HOT) roads have gained political and public acceptance. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) currently has tolling agreements with more than half the states in the U.S. and reports HOT lane projects in nine of those. When the concept was first introduced, HOT lanes (“Lexus lanes”) were criticized as being an environmental tax or perk for the rich who could afford to access them. Instead, experience has proven that the lanes benefit more than just the rich, and their widespread deployment suggests political acceptance.

This shift in congestion management has affected the parking industry, where pricing is now seen as a mechanism for managing curbside congestion. A seminal work in this area, Donald Shoup’s The High Cost of Free Parking, cites estimates that up to one-third of traffic in downtown New York consists of people cruising for spaces. As the urbanization of the population and economic activity continues, there is an ongoing need to make urban transportation systems function more efficiently.

Increase in Cashless Transactions
Cash transactions are increasingly uncommon as consumers switch to credit, debit, and gift cards. In 2011, approximately 66 percent of point-of-sale purchases were made via cards, compared with only 27 percent by cash and 7 percent by paper check. By 2017, predictions are that fewer than 25 percent of sales will be by cash (New, 2012).

Cellphone/Smartphone Adoption
Mobile connectivity is becoming nearly universal. Data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show that of the 10 largest metropolitan areas, nearly all had at least as many cell phone lines as residents (Exhibit 2). Nationwide, the number of connected devices surpassed the total population for the first time in 2011.

The market share of smartphones surpassed standard phones in the mobile market in early 2012 (Exhibit 3). The adoption curve for smartphones is expected to continue growing. Ericsson (2012) predicts that globally, the number of operating smartphones will increase from 700 million in 2011 to 3 billion in 2017.
Big Data/Storage/

Processing Power
An ongoing trend is the capability of processing, analyzing, storing, and drawing useful information from a large quantity of data. Immense amounts of data are produced on a daily basis from devices of all types. Processing power is doubling every two years while storage cost is decreasing significantly (Exhibit 4). The result is that there is ever more data and cheaper, better computing power by which to process that data into information and knowledge to better manage systems such as parking.

Increased Connectivity

The last two decades have seen a steep upward trend in wireless technology, network coverage, connection speed, and bandwidth. Because wireless is available almost everywhere, especially in an urban environment, the factor that has most influenced parking is the growth and evolution of the machine-to-machine (M2M) market space. Wireless providers view M2M as a new vertical market with significant growth potential, in part because observed marketplace traffic is very small (with an average volume below 10 MB per subscription). So M2M devices can use reserve capacity in the wireless infrastructure.

Economies of scale are forcing M2M data plans and module costs to a level that can be used by industries such as parking. The trends show decreasing cost for M2M modules and wireless plans and increasing numbers of M2M devices in the U.S., from fewer than 10 million in 2007 to more than 50 million currently (Exhibit 5). The growth is expected to continue (Ayvazian, 2012; Cisco, 2014; Ericsson, 2012).

Parking Industry Reaction
The International Parking Institute (IPI) estimates that the U.S. parking industry generates about $25 billion to $30 billion in annual revenues. The parking ecosystem includes 256 million registered vehicles, 211 million licensed drivers, 5 million parking meters, and 800 million parking spaces covering 160 billion square feet. Parking stakeholders include local jurisdictions, universities, parking lot owners/operators, and equipment manufacturers.

Recent changes in the external environment have brought nontraditional entrants to the industry that have introduced technologies that enhance the customer’s parking experience and the operating agency’s ability to deliver innovative solutions to its customers. Customers now expect parking to be smart, and as a result, parking managers are charged with connecting and actively managing their systems for a variety of outcomes.

Exhibit 6 shows how the four fundamental shifts in the parking industry were affected by the external environment (discussed under the PEST framework above). These shifts are consistent with IPI’s findings in its 2013 Emerging Trends in Parking survey.

These trends have had definite effects on parking programs across the country. A few examples:

Move Toward Networked Assets
Washington, D.C.’s percentage of networked meters increased from 20 percent in 2009 to 50 percent currently.
Anecdotal evidence based on discussions with major meter manufacturers suggests that the installed base of networked, solar-powered, and credit card-accepting single- and multi-space machines is increasing.

Multiple Payment Options

  • Pay-by-cell (PBC) is now available in more than 250 locations in North America.
  • PBC accounts for 45 percent of parking revenues in Washington, D.C. Eighty percent of PBC transactions in the city are completed using the PBC smartphone application.
  • Coin transactions account for less than 30 percent of Washington, D.C.’s parking revenues.

Pricing as a Demand Management Strategy

  • SFpark in San Francisco and LA Express Park in Los Angeles are testing pricing strategies to influence parking demand and availability.
  • Washington, D.C., has implemented variable hourly rates on game days at on-street parking meters in the area around its ballpark.

Real-time Traveler Information

  • Real-time parking availability information is an integral component of state-of-the-art parking programs in cities, park-and-ride lots, and universities.
  • Real-time sensing information can enhance operational efficiency through better pricing policies, better enforcement, reduced congestion, and better customer experience.

The four fundamental shifts have also led to other benefits, such as proactive management of parking meter assets, better system uptime, improved customer service, higher revenue, efficient enforcement, better management of curb space based on desired outcomes (turnover, availability, or occupancy), and smarter business decisions. This also has implications for sustainability. There has been increased usage of energy efficient lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and an increase in green building-certified garages. Installation of solar-powered parking meters reduced D.C.’s battery maintenance requirements by 40 percent between 2009 and 2013 and kept approximately 60,000 AA batteries out of landfills each year in Los Angeles.

The parking industry is at a critical juncture. The industry’s willingness to innovate in response to external changes has positioned it strategically to continue to evolve and enhance operational efficiency and value, improve customer experience, and play a critical role in the congestion, environmental, and sustainability debate that is ongoing in the greater transportation arena.

Soumya S. Dey, PE, PMP. is director of research and technology transfer for the District Department of Transportation. He can be reached at soumya.dey@dc.gov.

Stephanie Dock, AICP, is research program specialist for the District Department of Transportation. She can be reached at stephanie.dock@dc.gov.

TPP-2014-05-MODERN Chauffeurs

Elevating the Art of Parking

TPP-2014-05-Elevating the Art of ParkingBy Jim Ketai

The Bedrock Real Estate Services team is on a mission to revitalize Detroit by creating jobs, excitement, and opportunity. The short-term results we have achieved since 2011 are noteworthy: 40 properties, including several historic skyscrapers, have been acquired, and more than 100 businesses have been recruited to downtown Detroit. There is presently such tremendous momentum that office space and residential units are filling quickly, and as a result, the demand for convenient, state-of-the-art parking, retail, and restaurants is growing rapidly.

After an extensive site selection and project feasibility process were completed, we decided in the fall of 2012 to build a one-of-a-kind, 540,000-square-foot, 10-story, mixed-use building. Upon completion, the development would create 34,000 square feet of specialty retail space along with 1,300 much-needed parking spaces. The iconic structure would zigzag from the corner of Broadway and East Grand River to the corner of Library Street and Gratiot Avenue, occupying what had previously been two separate surface parking lots. Based on its bold shape, the development was aptly named the Z. Construction began in November 2012 and was completed on a fast track basis just 13 months later. Despite unusually severe weather and other unforeseen conditions, the complex project was delivered on time and within budget.

A New Benchmark

This was Bedrock’s first ground-up development project, and our team put forth tremendous energy to establish a new benchmark for future retail/parking developments in terms of sustainability, advanced technology, outstanding amenities, and a spectacular venue for public artwork. In other words, this was a model for the truly world-class destinations Bedrock is committed to creating while reshaping Detroit as the premier downtown in the Midwest—where people can live, work, and play.

We selected Detroit-based Neumann/Smith Architecture to lead the design of the Z in conjunction with parking consultants Rich and Associates Inc., based in Southfield, Mich. Colasanti Construction Services Inc. and Sachse Construction served as construction managers of the project, and Kerkstra of Grandville, Mich. fabricated the precast components for the structure.

This highly experienced team worked closely with us from the outset, which was exceptionally important given our goal of creating a mixed-use development that was a complete departure from the norm. We did not want the Z to be another holding cell for cars. Because it enabled the team to take an unconventional design approach and eliminate potential problems early in the process, our collaboration was a key factor in the outcome of the project: an aesthetically pleasing, visually compelling, and cost-effective development that met all of our long-term objectives.

Neumann/Smith’s design inspiration for the Z was based on a bold geometric “picture frame” façade, clad with architectural precast panels to minimize the scale of the 10-story structure. Dramatic, glass-enclosed stairwells and glass-backed elevator towers at each corner provide enhanced wayfinding and safety for visitors. Additionally, the bottom of the precast double tees within the garage were painted white to maximize visibility on all levels. Unlike many other parking structures in the city, the Z is bright, airy, and inviting throughout.

Engaging the Community
The ultimate success of the Z will come to fruition with an eclectic mix of engaging local shops, eateries, and services on the street level of the structure along both Broadway and Library streets. Approximately 17,500 square feet of flexible space is located on either side of the Z to total 35,000 square feet. All of the storefronts will be stylish, unique, and individually designed to create an intriguing aesthetic on both sides in keeping with Detroit’s evolving new street activation, which is a key element in Bedrock’s long-term placemaking vision.

The Z is an exciting new addition to Detroit’s Library Square District. This area is being redesigned to become an important pedestrian gateway into a comprehensive downtown experience. In addition to bringing new life to this district with the Z, the adjacent Detroit Public Library and YMCA are slated for improvements that include the conversion of Library Street into a pedestrian plaza to host many of its organizations’ cultural and outdoor events. Street vendors and live performers throughout the Library District will bring additional creative energy and activity to the retail shops, restaurants, and services at the Z. Also, the future development on the former Hudson’s Department Store site will provide a huge draw for local retail tenants when it is developed over the course of the next several years.

Once we finalized the intriguing design of the structure, including its artistic abstract façade and striking LED lighting, we went to work on the most demanding and exciting aspect of the development process—creating another “must see” destination in our city. In conjunction with Library Street Collective, a neighboring fine art gallery located next to the Z, we developed a plan to attract internationally renowned street artists to transform the interior walls of the structure into a series of 130-foot-long public murals.

A total of 27 artists were commissioned from around the globe to participate in the Z art project. The artwork is remarkably diverse: In one mural inspired by a lazy day in the tropics, a giraffe takes a nap in a windowsill; in another mural meant to symbolize Detroit’s rebirth, a tiger chases a baseball. There is one amazing image after another, awaiting visitors around every corner.

Along with the wow factor created by the amazing murals, a wide variety of other gems were also incorporated in the Z. The garage is filled with advanced technology and convenient amenities that include:

  • Efficient LED lighting throughout the exterior and interior of the structure.
  • Digital entrance sign messages that can be customized to showcase specific events.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Ticketless/cashless payment. Customers entering the Z do not need to hold a ticket or fumble with cash. Upon entering and exiting the garage, visitors simply swipe a credit card.
  • Modern parking validation that allows Bedrock and retail tenants in the Z to forward QR codes to their visitors’ smartphones to validate parking.
  • Lighting in glass-backed elevators that changes color between levels to cue visitors to their floors and add animation to the overall experience.
  • Security cameras and call-for-assistance stations that are linked to 24/7 security monitoring.

The Result

We have heard that people are coming from near and far to experience the Z. Visitors say that this isn’t just another place to park, but a unique destination where they can feel Detroit’s amazing new vibe. In the evening, the entire building glows thanks to the creative use of the LED lighting system. One visitor summed up their experience like this: Shouldn’t all parking garages receive this much attention?

Downtown Detroit’s population is growing every day, as new startups are launched and other companies move downtown. As the number of people who work in the central business district increases, the demand for parking and more places for workers and visitors to eat and shop increases. The Z development will fulfill this pent-up demand in a one-of-a-kind environment that makes people feel alive and energized. So what are you waiting for? Come and see the Z!

Jim Ketai is CEO and managing partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services. He can be reached at info@bedrockmgt.com or 888.300.9833.

TPP-2014-05-Elevating the Art of Parking

Bigger in Texas

TPP-2014-05-Bigger in TexasBy Peter Caporale

Shine your boots and pack your bags—the International Parking Institute (IPI) is going to Texas and looking forward to a rip-roaring four days with thousands of professionals from all segments of the industry, ready for networking, education, and some great fun!

The 2014 IPI Conference & Expo is just a few short weeks away—June 1–4—and promises to be another record-breaking gathering of industry professionals who flock to it for everything it offers. The top-notch education, keynote speakers, massive Expo hall, and unmatched networking opportunities IPI is known for will join new events and a few surprises for a week no one will forget. Experts to novices will enjoy opportunities to broaden their horizons, expand their contact lists, see and touch the latest in technology and trends, and celebrate their peers and friends throughout the event. And the Gaylord Texan Resort is the perfect place for all of it.

It’s time to embrace your inner cowpoke and get ready for the biggest and best gathering the parking industry has to offer. Sunup to sundown, there’s a lot to do, learn, and see in Texas, where everything is bigger, y’all!

The industry’s top educational opportunities happen at the IPI Conference & Expo, and 2014 is no exception. This year’s Conference educational program consists of more than 60 education sessions organized into five tracks, including three fast-paced Ignite sessions (last year’s debut was packed to the walls). Ignite sessions, in which speakers make their points in five minutes with slides that automatically advance, were introduced at the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo, and are back by wildly popular demand. Each session will offer eight speakers who share information quickly, efficiently, and in a very entertaining way for the audience!

This year’s five educational tracks include:

Sustainability. These sessions will discuss some effective ways to green your existing footprint through new technologies, practice methods, and new ideas to satisfy the needs of your customers, your business, and the environment. Want an example? The Future of Parking Sustainability will take a look at the different innovations currently being developed and how they will affect the future of city planning. Attendees will discuss the roles transportation and parking will play as growth and innovations continue to grow at an exponential rate.

Finance. Here, attendees gain exposure to industry best practices, understand revenue management methods, learn to leverage technology to maintain financial security and objectives, and more. These sessions include Finance and Human Resources: Two Departments, One Goal, which will examine the critical and essential areas of overlap that connect the finance and human resources departments and require them to work together effectively. Attendees will gain insight into the implications of this interaction for their entire organization.

Technology. It’s affecting everyone in the industry, and these sessions focus on understanding the most significant developments and trends and how they contribute to improving the profitability and user experience of your parking operation. One highlight will be The Dynamic Future of Parking Technology, in which attendees will explore the progression away from static parking facility management and learn how to move toward a dynamic approach that maximizes the use of 21st century technology to increase efficiency, improve revenue, and reduce risk. This session will cover cutting-edge parking technology and equipment, setting goals for your parking operation, and capturing data and putting it to work for your business.

Organizational improvement. Here, focus on the business drivers of customer service, strategies to manage data, performance measurement, marketing, and the ability of an organization to accomplish its mission. Attendees will see why the organizations with the best talent who have the ability to access information and ongoing organizational improvement programs have the biggest opportunity for success. As an example, Changing the Perception and Reality of Parking and Transit from a Functional Department to a Mission-Enhancing Service starts with the concept that parking and transportation are integral parts of university and municipality missions. These functions are the first and last impressions made, drive customer satisfaction, and contribute to primary service delivery. Costs rise annually. Validating services and enhancing value delivered to constituents is a continuing battle. This session is perfect for agencies and institutions that want a facelift for their department, want to enhance communications and messaging, or those considering a management move for parking and transportation departments.

Best Practices. These sessions offer parking professionals an opportunity to increase their exposure to leaders (and organizations) who have established advanced standards on various aspects of their parking business, based on their expertise. Consider Parking Transformation of a City: From Local to Global, From Past to Future, with Policy and Technology. As parking demand outgrows our resources, a transformation is necessary to enhance our parking management. This case study will share what one city did with limited resources to achieve positive results. Attendees will learn about politics, technology, policy, and more, and the presentation will cover large projects that affect citywide parking and the small details that enhance customers’ experiences. This is a roadmap for developing a comprehensive parking program.

The Expo
The 2014 IPI Expo will not only host more than 250 companies in more than 150,000 square feet, but offer attendees the opportunity to be introduced to the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of the parking industry’s products, services, and technologies. Everyone loves the world’s biggest parking conference and expo—99 percent of last year’s attendees said the IPI Expo has affected their purchasing decisions! And 95 percent said they spend more than eight hours seeking opportunities to ask questions directly to company representatives. Products, services, technologies, and ideas are all in Dallas next month.

With so much to see, you’ll definitely want to plan your time on the Expo floor. A list of exhibitors starts on p. 42.

GPC Green Garage Certification Training Program
Going green is more than a trend: It’s a smart business practice that promises to grow as time goes on. This new training program is gaining a reputation as the LEED certification program of parking garages. The Green Parking Council, an affiliate of IPI, spent more than three years working with partners from the U.S. Green Building Council (which developed LEED certification), the Urban Land Institute, and leaders in parking, real estate, technology, and sustainability to develop the new Green Garage Certification. This is a great opportunity to be at the forefront of an industry milestone—this is the first time the course will be offered to the industry. It is a separate-registration event and is limited to the first 40 registrants.

Keynote Speakers
This year’s IPI Conference & Expo keynote speakers are leaders who will discuss a wide spectrum of subjects. Don’t miss Dallas Morning News columnist and renowned speaker Dave Lieber for How to Tell the World’s Greatest Stories About Parking. Also on this year’s agenda is U.S Mint Director of Coin Studies Jon Cameron, who will discuss research on alternative metal compositions for coins. A change in metal compositions of coins would have an impact on the parking industry, and this is a session parking professionals will want to plan to attend.
There are some great surprises on our keynote list this year, too. It’s going to be an impressive rodeo!

Facility Tours

Saddle up (or hop on the bus) for facility tours around the Dallas area, which offer an unmatchable opportunity to see technologies, designs, and trends in practice. Experience the heart of Dallas and its surrounding city’s parking firsthand in walkthroughs of local university, municipality, and airport parking facilities with leaders showcasing their facilities, standards, and new measures taken to improve their parking facilities.

Poster Session
The 2014 Parking Poster Session will showcase smart, successful parking projects in a casual atmosphere—take your time to peruse ideas, practices, and properties at the top of their game. This program will showcase case studies and projects from around the globe that successfully illustrate innovative parking solutions. Plan to spend some time in the Texas Ballroom grand foyer for the latest in smart parking technology, sponsored by IPI’s Smart Parking Alliance.

Recognizing Excellence
This year’s CAPP class is the largest in IPI history. Be sure to attend the CAPP graduation to cheer the graduates on—it’s quite an accomplishment. You’ll also want to bring your applause to this year’s Awards of Excellence and Professional Recognition awards, recognizing the best and brightest in our industry. Then, we’ll celebrate those who excel at marketing and public relations with the inaugural Parking Matters® Marketing & Communications Awards, which are sure to be chock-full of great ideas.

PowerPitch Forums
With so many similar products on the market, it can be difficult to determine which best fit a parking professional’s needs. To help, industry suppliers will offer open-forum panel presentations on the Expo floor to provide answers to attendee questions. These informative and educational pitches promise to help break down difficult purchasing decisions and offer clarity in what can be a confusing marketplace.

Networking and Fun
There’s nothing quite like meeting colleagues, peers, and industry friends face-to-face, and the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo brings together more parking professionals than any other industry event. Networking opportunities abound, and this is the perfect year to try something new:

Looking for a stress-relieving activity to kick off your 2014 IPI Conference & Expo experience? The 21st CAPP Classic Golf Tournament will be held at the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club on Saturday, May 31. It’s a gorgeous course and promises to be a great day on the links.

Lace up your running shoes for a 5K Fun Run (no pressure!) with friends, 6 a.m., Sunday, June 1. Get your heart pumping and fresh air coursing through your lungs while meeting new friends and catching up with those you already know in a beautiful city.

Never been to an IPI Conference & Expo before? Don’t miss the First-Timers Welcome Orientation, to say hello to your fellow newbies and veteran attendees who can help show you the ropes.

International is the first word in IPI, and there will be special opportunities for our international friends. A booth on the Expo floor is dedicated to international attendees and the Global Parking Associations Leadership Summit (GPALs). GPALs will meet on Sunday morning, and there will be an International Reception on Sunday evening. International attendees and members of IPI’s International Outreach Committee can be identified by the International ribbons on their badges.

The Opening Meet & Mingle offers food, drink, and fabulous conversation with others in the industry. Reconnect with people you met last year and network with new-to-you friends.

Don’t forget to participate in the Expo-opoly game, back for another fun year! Pick up some parking bling at the ShopIPI store after you make the most of your membership at the IPI Member Service Center on the show floor. And be sure to visit The Parking Professional in booth 1041 for your chance to win an iPad Mini.

If it’s important to parking, it’ll be in Texas, June 1–4 at the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo. Be sure to reserve your spot and bring your cowboy hat—lots to see and do on the range this year. Visit IPIConference.parking.org for more details and to register.

Peter Caporale is IPI’s director of operations. He can be reached at caporale@parking.org or 571.699.6944.

TPP-2014-05-Bigger in Texas

Lessons from LEED

TPP-2014-05-Lessons from LEEDBy Paul Wessel

It was a pretty audacious idea. Certifying green buildings? Who cares about that? And even if people care, who’s going to pay for it?

That was the response David Gottfried received back in 1992 when the founder of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was just starting out. He recounts his—and our—journey to the ubiquity of LEED certification in the soon-to-be published Explosion Green, subtitled “One man’s journey to green the world’s largest industry.” The book, available at parking.org/bookstore, tells the story of how a small circle of people, a powerful vision, a lot of perspiration, and a little bit of luck transformed the way we think about the structures we build.

It must have been fate that the book fell into my hands when it did. I was searching for a quiet place for a board call while attending the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild, when I first saw it. I put a copy in my bag, proceeded with my call, and later, on the train ride back to New Haven, pulled it out instead of the work I intended to do.

A couple of hours later, I was infused with the strength that yes, by golly, we could build the Green Parking Council (GPC) and Green Garage Certification.

Among the gems Gottfried offered me and the GPC are:

Ask the right questions—that’s how change begins. Long before LEED, Gottfried realized that bringing manufacturers, architects, builders, engineers, government, and others together to look at buildings holistically is the way to achieve higher levels of performance.

It’s about being entrepreneurial, scrappy, and building new business models. Move fast. Bring enthusiastic leaders onto your board. Run like a high-tech startup rather than a traditional nonprofit. Inspire constructive action as a way of doing business as an industry. Develop products that lessen our footprint and offer value. Don’t get mired in policy debates.

Creating a common space is crucial. At the first Green Building Conference in 1994, Gottfried noticed the buzz generated by gathering together people with a common interest in sustainability. “This is incredible,” he overheard from a participant. “I’m the only one from my firm who cares about sustainability. It’s amazing to see all these other passionate professionals. I’m going home and tell my boss that this is going to be big.”

Relationships with government agencies can help get you out of the gate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy, and the National League of Cities each had projects or funding that helped the emerging green building movement gain experience, exposure, and acceptance. (The GPC has found the DOE’s partnership on the LEEP campaign and its Better Buildings Alliance to be exceptionally helpful.)

Certification can be an operating system. “LEED was to USGBC as DOS was to Microsoft … it became our operating system and our growth engine.”

Don’t overdo paperwork. Initially, LEED’s documentation requirements were burdensome, time-consuming, and expensive. USGBC learned not to make perfect documentation the enemy of good performance and not to confuse effort with results.

Include everyone. Gottfried accompanied a friend to a Weight Watchers meeting, where people of all weights were welcomed. The lesson was that we shouldn’t just focus on the high performers—we must engage the couch-potato buildings, too.

It’s not green if it doesn’t work. Push the envelope. Experiment with new strategies. But if doesn’t deliver cost-effective performance, no matter how good the idea, stand down.
Great lessons from a great story. Look for Gottfried’s Explosion Green when it’s released June 1.

Paul Wessel is executive director of the Green Parking Council, an affiliate of IPI. He can be reached at paul@greenparkingcouncil.org or 203.672.5892.

TPP-2014-05-Lessons from LEED



The introduction of paid parking is complex, and owners and managers justifiably worry about public reaction. Embarking on a paid parking exercise may be motivated by a range of issues such as:

The parking facility is being abused by commuters and other drivers who are not visiting the site.
Parking occupancy has reached capacity, and building more is not feasible or economical.
Funding is required to provide added value.
The process needs to take into account physical, technological, regulatory, financial, and behavioral aspects.

Physical Considerations
Parking facility entries and exits need to be redesigned to incorporate gates and ticket machines and provide separated aisles for vehicles entering and exiting the site. Owners are reluctant to lose valuable spaces, so if possible, part of the design process should identify potential areas where lost spaces can be relocated. Pay stations need to be installed in the main pedestrian access routes to maximize convenience.

Airports and university campuses present other challenges, including the need to introduce parking restrictions on roads in and around the site, where drivers are tempted to park to avoid charges.

Technological Considerations
Access and revenue control equipment should be designed and procured to address the needs of the individual. Cabling will require conduits to be cut into roads and parking areas (unless adequate provision was made for this at the time of construction). Additional equipment may be recommended, such as license plate recognition (needed to prevent parkers exiting and re-entering the facility in cases in which there is a free parking period) and parking guidance systems (to assist wayfinding and identification of difficult-to-find spaces).

Regulatory Considerations
A development application might be required by the local municipality to gain approval for the introduction of paid parking. The effect on the surrounding road network of potential queuing in and around the site will need to be assessed and authorities satisfied that there will be no negative repercussions in the public domain.

Financial Considerations
How much should you charge? That is the $64,000 question!

Are commuters using the garage as a free park-and-ride facility? If so, parking fees will need to be designed to discourage people parking for extended periods. Conversely, if the facility has spare capacity, an area could be nested (perhaps the roof or lowest level underground) and offered to all-day parkers for a discounted fee to maximize use. Where appropriate, special deals can be made with nearby businesses that are short on parking for after-hours or special events.

Behavioral Considerations
The reaction of customers to the introduction of paid parking cannot be easily foreseen, but one thing is for sure: They are not going to be happy! How you do it is very important:

  • Don’t inform the public after the event. Research should be conducted prior to any steps taken; engaging with the local community via surveys and focus groups is essential to the process. Soften the introduction with explanatory media releases well before the event.
  • Choose your timing carefully. Do not introduce paid parking in a shopping center the week before Christmas. Similarly, the beginning of festive or vacation periods or other prime travel times should be avoided in the case of airports. The job is even harder if you are the first to do it in your local area.
  • Don’t run before you walk. Consider deploying the equipment for a few weeks without applying fees while your customers get used to the new procedures. Do not overcomplicate the pricing structure.
  • Do your math. Consider all the costs involved in the process and the potential revenues that will be generated. Analyze various scenarios so you are prepared for the possible outcomes. Involve the appropriate stakeholders.

The process of introducing paid parking is complex and will require time and money. As with most other ventures, it begins and ends with planning. The plan needs to be dynamic, benefiting from constant review to ensure success.

Cristina Lynn is managing partner of Parking & Traffic Consultants and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. She can be reached at cristina.lynn@parkingconsultants.com.