IPI Conference & Expo Kicks Off

KimFernandezJan2014
With formal and social gatherings of parking professionals from around the world, a municipal symposium, popular education sessions, and a little jeans and bling, the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo kicked off in grand style at the Gaylord Texan Resort.
First on yesterday’s agenda was a meeting of GPALS–the Global Parking Association Leaders Summit–where representatives of nearly a dozen parking associations from all over the globe pulled chairs up to the table to talk about trends in their countries, parking research, sustainability, promoting the industry, and the best ways to share information.
Following that was the first Municipal Symposium: Real Solutions for Real Cities. Speakers, including Bill Wolpin, American City & County magazine; Marina Leight, Governing magazine; Laurens Eckelboom, Parkmobile; David Cummins, Xerox State & Local Solutions; and a panel of municipal parking directors and experts shared their expertise and experiences in a lively discussion with multiple takeaways participants can take home and put to work. Also here was the release of a joint survey of government officials from cities, towns, and counties across the U.S. about municipal parking–download it here.
The first day of education sessions proved popular as attendees flocked to the tracked seminars and panel discussions. And last

Representatives of nearly a dozen parking associations from around the globe gathered at yesterday's GPALS meeting.

Representatives of nearly a dozen parking associations from around the globe gathered at yesterday’s GPALS meeting.

night’s Denim and Diamonds Meet and Mingle event at the Glass Cactus nightclub saw attendees boot scootin’ on the dance floor and enjoying the company of new and old friends from all over the world.

Today promises to bring even more excitement, with the Welcome Breakfast, Professional Recognition Awards, and double-header keynote, opening of the massive Expo hall, and another afternoon of education sessions. It’s a great day for parking to be in Texas!

Getting Ready For The Big D

Bill Smith

Many of you are preparing for your annual trek to the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo. In just a few days, you’ll be in Texas, reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, checking out the latest products, and engaging in professional development through presentations on the latest trends and best practices.

As someone who specializes in parking and marketing, this is a particularly exciting event. In addition to the usual presentations on parking-related topics, this year will also feature the inaugural presentation of the IPI Parking Matters® Marketing and Communications Awards at the Tuesday morning general session from 8 to 9:30 a.m.. In addition to recognizing excellence in marketing, they also provide an opportunity to share marketing best practices with other parking organizations, demonstrating what works and how organizations have used these best practices to promote not only themselves, but the industry as a whole.

Parking professionals know how their work affects people’s lives every day. Through IPI’s Parking Matters® program and through the marketing programs of individual organizations, the industry has done a terrific job of educating the public about the importance of parking to their lives and exciting new parking developments and trends. But there is still much work to be done when it comes to promoting parking.

It is incumbent upon us to market ourselves, our organizations, and the industry. The IPI Conference & Expo presents a wonderful opportunity for parking professionals to demonstrate their marketing achievements and share ideas and experiences.

As you attend presentations to learn about new tools, management approaches, and trends, think about where communication fits into the lessons you are learning. If you return home with an idea for a new parking initiative for your hometown, think about how you will communicate that initiative to local leaders and citizens. If you decide to implement a new technology that you find at the symposium, plan for how you will educate parkers about the benefits of that technology. If you learn a new management approach, think about how you will educate management and staff about that approach, how it will work, and how it will benefit the organization.

We live in a communication age, and the importance of strategic communication touches on everything we do. So as you attend presentations in Dallas and share ideas with colleagues, think about where communication fits into what you are learning and which communication strategies will be most effective in sharing what you have learned when you return home.

Bill Smith’s presentation, Marketing Matters: Why Your Marketing Is Coming Up Short And How To Fix It will be offered on Tuesday, June 3.

Airport Redevelopment: The Effect on Parking

Bruce Barclay

Construction projects can be challenging for parking operations in all segments of the industry. The rerouting of existing and/or construction of new roadways, building of new terminal space, construction of rental car facilities, and of course, building new parking facilities can all have an effect on airport parking operations.

Salt Lake City International Airport’s Terminal Redevelopment Program will contain all of the above projects, plus a few more. Commencing in June 2014, SLC will begin a $1.8 billion project that will last more than five years. The challenges our parking operations will face during that time are not unique to SLC; many airports (universities, municipalities, and medical center campuses) will encounter them throughout various phases of construction. They include:

  • Planning: Airport master plans outline short, medium, and long-term development plans to meet future aviation demand. Looking into the crystal ball by way of aviation demand forecasts is helpful, but  events can change that demand, (think September 11, 2001, and the recession of 2008-2009). How many garage levels and spaces are optimal for now and into the future?
  • Facility design: The need to rightsize the design for present and future needs is critical. The old “Field of Dreams” adage of “If you build it, they will come,” may not hold true.
  • Marketing: Replacing obsolete facilities will necessitate educating the traveling public on the benefits of redevelopment. Community outreach and partnerships will help get the word out. An open-house format is effective in engaging the public and soliciting their opinions.
  • Construction: How will customers react to reconfiguration of traffic routing and shuttle routes?
  • Maintaining customer service levels: How can you maintain the high service standards you have in place while construction is ongoing?
  • Market share: How can you maintain market share and prevent leakage to off-airport competition?

The above are only a few of the challenges faced during a lengthy construction project. Each of these may ebb and flow as work continues. It is imperative that parking professionals stay involved in as many aspects of the construction process as we can. Ultimately, our operations will be affected; if we are not prepared, the consequences can be severe.

Celebrate: Bikes in Parking Lots

Look for lots of bicycle commuters today–it’s Bike to Work Day (BTWD). This annual special event is part of National Bike Month, which was started by the League of American Bicyclists (http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth) in 1956 and is observed each May.

BTWD is celebrated in many areas with special events designed to get commuters more aware of and comfortable with pedaling as a viable alternative to driving. For many local commuter assistance and mobility management programs, BTWD also serves as a great opportunity to recognize local leaders who have been (or could be) champions of bicycle commuting and hold public conversations about bike lanes, safety, and related issues.

Bikes play an increasingly visible and important role in today’s mobility mix. You might notice your bike parking facilities being much more heavily used on BTWD, particularly by folks who are trying cycling as a commute mode for the first time. After what was an unusually harsh winter for much of the U.S., would-be bicycle commuters might also use BTWD as a chance to team up with other cyclists, celebrate spring, and enjoy a change of pace.

This day presents an opportunity to engage with a niche audience that will use the quality of its BTWD experience as the basis for deciding whether biking to work is just a nice springtime event or the beginning of a realistic, long-term change in personal commute habits.

The Watergate Garage

Isaiah Mouw

I just finished reading All the President’s Men by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. The classic Mouw_Blogbook chronicles the investigative reporting of the Watergate burglary and the ensuing scandal of the Nixon administration’s attempted cover-up which eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Gene Roberts called the work of Bernstein and Woodward “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.” Robert Redford produced and starred in the film of the same name, and the authors introduced the world to one of the most infamous parking garages in the world.

Woodward secretly met with an anonymous FBI source nicknamed “Deep Throat” in the Rosslyn Garage in Arlington, Va., to get secret information on the Watergate scandal. The book validates the fact that parking garages can be extremely creepy, as the two chose to meet in a dark corner of a secluded garage in the middle of the night with odd sounds and sporadic noises freaky enough to frighten the likes of Stephen King. Reading it makes me wonder how easily such a meeting could happen today with the progressive security measures and technological advancements the parking industry has embraced in recent years.

Could Deep Throat and Woodward meet today in the bottom level of a parking garage without being captured on camera? Could they even get into a restricted access facility that requires credentials? Would sensors cause smart lights to turn on as they walk throughout the garage alerting management of activity in the bottom of the garage? Would the design of the garage have incorporated Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles that would make it harder to meet out of view of passers by? Would a roaming security guard ask them their business in the garage?

There are many garages where it’s still possible to hold secret secluded meetings, but it’s fun to think about the many garages that, thanks to technology and security upgrades, Woodward and Deep Throat  would have to pass by. Today, I think they’d have to meet in a park instead of a parking garage.

The Portland Aerial Tram: A Great View Near and Far

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

Even to Portland, Ore., natives, the view from the top of the Portland Aerial Tram’s upper terminal on a sunny day is stunning. To the right is majestic Mt. Hood standing at 11,250 feet. To the left you can see the cratered Mt. St. Helens (recall the 1980 eruption), and to the far left is Portland’s thriving downtown. In the foreground are the Willamette Rivers’ many bridges crisscrossing the river separating Portland’s east and west sides. The view at the bottom terminal is perhaps even more remarkable, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Photos courtesy of Portland Aerial Tram, gobytram.com

Photos courtesy of Portland Aerial Tram, gobytram.com

The $57 million tram was built because Marquam Hill, where most of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus sits, is landlocked and accessible only by two 2-lane roads. OHSU is Portland’s largest employer and medical destination. To accommodate nearly 20,000 visitors to campus each day and allow OHSU to grow, creative thinking and a huge transportation investment were needed.

The tram’s two cabins–named Jean and Walt–each carry 79 passengers 3,300 linear feet at 22 miles per hour from OHSU down 500 feet to Portland’s South Waterfront; 980 people per hour in each direction make the trip. As spectacular as the view is at the top, an equally impressive sight comes into focus as the tram car crests the mid-span support and tilts back like a gentle roller coaster ride on the way to the bottom. What comes into focus may be the most multi-modal spot in the U.S. if not the world.

The lower terminal is served not only by tram but by streetcar, bus, and shuttle. There are also extensive bicycle facilities for renting and parking bicycles (free valet) and yes, there is also a bit of car parking. What’s more, the tram has promoted considerable development in the area where many people now live, and walking is a key travel mode supported by the facility. Light rail will soon be added with the completion of a new bridge nearby that will carry light rail trains, buses, cyclists, and pedestrians and, in the future, streetcars (sorry, no private cars).

Most universities and hospitals may not have the same constraints as OSHU, but that university’s results offer a best-in-class approach to promoting all travel modes that is paying off for the hospital and community alike. What’s more, the tram is a tourist destination and people pay the fare to see one of Oregon’s most magnificent views both from afar and up close.

The Best Things in Life…

Rachel_Yoka 2013

Are worth waiting for, right? Sometimes you work on something for a really long time.  We have a project like that (36 months, 4 days, 17 hours and 15 minutes it took, I believe) that’s just reached the finish line: Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook.

When I first entered the business world, I believed there was an immediate and direct relationship between effort and productive hours expended and a successful outcome, regardless of timeline. The faster you invested, the faster the product would be complete and it would be as good as the effort. In my years here at TimHaahs, often there were decisions I wanted us to make and projects I wanted us to start, and Tim would advise us to wait (waiting has never been my strong suit). But something special (almost always) happened in the waiting. Situations changed, additional thought was applied, and a different sort of organic evolution took place. Often, projects were improved by allowing other people to get involved or by tackling unforeseen challenges. Although it did not come naturally to me, I learned the importance of applying patience, sleeping on it, and allowing projects to grow on their own.

At long last, Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook–all 188 pages of it, a joint project of IPI and NPA, is available for pre-order now, and both a hardcover and an ebook (Kindle) version will be available in just a few weeks.

This brand new book about sustainability and parking is the first of its kind. As the editor, I can say we are all very excited about it (who wouldn’t be after 36 months?). I know our authors, peer reviewers, IPI, our Board of Directors consider it a watershed moment.  This publication–a reference and technical manual for integrating sustainability into our industry–needed time to grow, to evolve, and become the very best that it could be.

Thanks so much to every person who touched the book. You have all made this one of the very best things I have had the honor and pleasure to work on.

Some projects are just worth the wait.

 

Announcing a New Green Parking Book

Shawn Conrad

We call it the “Green Book” for short, but you can now pre-order from IPI the 176-page Sustainable Parking Design and Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 9.35.32 AMManagement: A Practitioner’s Handbook as an ebook or limited-edition hardcover at pre-release discounted prices.

The idea for this book began with Tim Haahs, PE, AIA, of Timothy Haahs and Associates, Inc., long time IPI Board member and the consummate parking professional, who also sat on the National Parking Association’s (NPA) Consultants Council.  Tim envisioned this book as a joint industry project, and IPI and NPA have worked together for the past three years to bring it to publication.

More about the book, including a listing of chapters, is available at parking.org/greenbook.

I know “it takes a village” is a cliché, but this book really is the result of many talented people devoting a lot of time to the effort, no one more than book editor and IPI Board member Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A. She deserves accolades and gratitude from everyone in the parking industry for seeing this project through.

The book’s chapter authors and peer reviewers also deserve thanks for their important contributions:

Ryan Astrup, M Arch (Prof) Assoc., AIA
Dennis Burns, CAPP
Michael Cramer
Gary Cudney
Chuck Cullen, CAPP, CPP
Matt Feagans
Vicky Gagliano, LEED AP
Casey Jones, CAPP, MPA
Erin Kueht, P.E., LEED AP BD+C
Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A
David LoCoco
Jerry Marcus
Mark Martin
Patrick D. Martin, P.E.
Shannon Sanders McDonald, AIA
Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, CPP, LEED GA
Raju Nandwana
Gary Neff
H. Dean Penny, P.E.
Gerard A. Rewolinski
Steven J. Roloff, PE, LEED AP
Brian Shaw, CAPP
Dave Sheldon, LEED AP
Michelle Wendler, AIA
Timothy T. Wendt, PE, LEED AP
Paul Wessel
Brett Wood, CAPP
Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A
James M. Zullo, CAPP

Featured in the book are more than 20 case studies of facilities that have incorporated sustainable elements and which provide vital information and lessons learned.

IPI’s mission is to advance the parking profession. In our education and outreach efforts we focus on this triad: Technology. Customer Service. Sustainability.

This book is a milestone for our industry. I encourage you to learn from and delight in its pages.

A heads-up: The hardcover version of Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook will be a limited-edition. Both the hardcover and ebook may be pre-ordered now at introductory (and IPI member discounted) prices at parking.org/greenbook.

It’s an exciting day for the parking industry!

 

 

 

 

 

The Growing Green Movement

I just returned from a week-long cruise with my wife and four children. A cruise is not really classified as a green activity. The immense consumption that takes place on board as compared with the desperate poverty that can be witnessed in virtually every port is a cataclysmic reality-check of the wide crevasse between the haves and the have-nots of this unequal world.

One could overthink this cultural divide, or one could look to learn lessons from the people and societies of the various ports of call. I chose the latter.

It has been said over and again that out of poverty comes ingenuity. That was seen in spades along the way in beautiful artwork made from scrap metals to beautiful papers made from recycled fabric. What really showed in the ports of call was the pride of the artisans.

What we call the green movement in the U.S. came out of our consciousness (because of our plenty), but in these developing areas, it comes from necessity. Could we do better? Absolutely! What new renewables can we embrace moving forward? Three that caught my eye on the trip were cork, bamboo, and hemp.

Cork: Cork farmers harvest the outer layers of a cork tree every nine to 12 years. The bark grows back and can be re-harvested up to 12 times from a single tree. A cork tree is not killed in the action of harvesting the product, which is completely renewable. It is as durable and long-lasting as leather and has a very promising future.

Bamboo: The bamboo tree can grow up to four feet in a single day. Bamboo is a great product for flooring and other building products and some of the softest clothing you can buy. This product, raised properly, will play a vital role in the future economy.

Hemp: Hemp’s rapid growth cycle and strong characteristics make it a wonderful product for making textiles and building materials. Look to see hemp take a strong role in the future. Check out the age of this comment from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture:

“Hemp is the miracle plant of our time, breathing in four times the carbon dioxide (CO2) of trees during its quick 12-14 week growing cycle. Trees take 20 years to mature vs 4 months for Industrial hemp! Our forests are being cut down 3 times faster than they can grow! One acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees!” (Dewey & Merrill. Bulletin #404. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. 1916)

What does all this mean for parking? That remains to be seen–greening has a big future ahead, and it’s going to be a great ride.

The Brain Surgeon on Your Team

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

My consulting focus these days is on operational best practices for university parking and transportation departments. This differs from strategic planning in that the emphasis is placed on evaluating daily operations and making recommendations that improve operational efficiencies and program effectiveness. When I’m working with clients, we focus on the use of technology, enforcement climate, revenues and expenses, parking allocation systems, permit distribution, and organizational structure. I’ve discovered a common trend in organizational structure that often distinguishes aspiring programs from those that consistently perform at a high level.

There are countless ways to structure a parking and transportation department. Some programs are aligned along an inside-outside model in which office activities are managed by one leader and while someone else manages field work. Some programs separate parking and transportation or alternatives to driving, while others align all program groups under one director. None of these are necessarily bad, but the best programs include key skill sets; those that don’t have them are challenged to make real progress. Two areas I advise my clients to add if they don’t already have them are information technology (IT) and transportation demand management (TDM). Changes in the use of technology and our growing need to offer alternatives to driving make the addition of these specialties a necessity.

Comparing professionals experienced in the use of parking technology or moving people from single-occupancy vehicles to alternative forms of transportation with industry generalists is like pitting brain or orthopedic surgeons against general-practice physicians. We need leaders with broad experience to be sure, but the demands placed on our IT systems and the skills required to effectively promote van pool, rideshare, and transit use require program specialists.

One needs to look no further than to programs such as those at the University of Washington, Texas A&M, or Colorado State University to see what’s possible with the right team of skills and experience. It hasn’t been by luck alone that these programs have flourished. Instead, leaders there have built their programs around highly skilled specialists in areas of strategic importance.