The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River on August 1, 2007, killing 13 people. After an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), faulty design was blamed for the collapse. However, the original culprit was pigeons. Pigeon droppings contain acids and ammonia, and if not removed will eventually rust steel and dissolve concrete.
At The 2013 IPI Conference & Expo, I stumbled across the booth of a company that specializes in pigeon problems. Avian Flyaway is an expert in bird control services and bird deterrent systems that are used across the U.S., including on famous landmarks such as the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. I wish I had their information earlier in my career, when we accepted contracts where pigeon droppings were so bad that we had to use a snow plow to help remove them.
This made me want to compile a list of other critter issues we’ve witnessed over the years in parking:
Opossums. Last year, we had to remove an opossum from our parking lot. The opossum was affixed atop a reserved parking sign and apparently did not want to give up his parking space. I’ve heard that opossums play dead as a defense mechanism. Unfortunately, this critter missed the memo, and instead growled and snapped its teeth at anyone and anything. Luckily, with a friendly nudge from a broomstick, it jumped and took off.
Snakes. Earlier this year, we had a four-foot snake slither underneath the bottom of a truck whose owner parked at his home in a rural area. The parker drove his truck downtown and parked in the garage that houses our office. The snake decided he had enough fun in the truck, got down, and checked out the parking garage. Several screams later, we were able to locate and capture the snake, who can now be visited seven days a week at the local zoo.
Elephants. (Thankfully, this did not occur in one of my facilities.) Giving a whole new meaning to the elephant in the room, a circus elephant escaped from his handlers and galloped through a municipal parking lot. No one was injured. You can watch the video here.
As far as animals and parking working together, check out the website to the Denver Zoo parking garage. From their website: “Combining graphics, a sound system that challenges visitors to name the animal, and well-lit parking levels, the garage is secure and easy to navigate. Many features have been incorporated to insure easy zoo access for all visitors. Each level has been given a specific animal designation: level one, the top level of the garage, is Boa; level two is Macaw, three is Tiger, and four is Zebra. Graphics on each floor correspond to the animal name, making remembering which floor a car is parked on that much easier.”
Do you have any interesting parking garage critter stories? Please share with us in the comments below. Rest assured, no animals were harmed in their removal from the above mentioned parking facilities.