Bracket Monday, The IPI Way

Henry Wallmeyer

First there was Cyber Monday and now there is Bracket Monday. Bracket Monday is the day after the NCAA Basketball Tournament Bball for blogis announced, when roughly 30 million people anguish over which 12-seed will beat a five-seed this year, which teams are peaking, and which teams might slide as they fill out the 63 spaces on the now-iconic bracket (I don’t bother picking the play-in games). And while there are estimates that workers distracted by March Madness cost employers about $175 million in productivity during the first two days of the tournament, let’s look at the good that can come from it–in an IPI way.

One of the greatest benefits of IPI membership is the ability to network with your peers from across the country and around the world. Whether at the IPI Conference & Expo, through committees, or by other means, it’s easy to reach out and connect. The best way may be nothing more complicated than an introductory email or phone call introducing yourself as “a fellow member of IPI…” This opens doors widely that might be very tough to even crack. That’s what I love about associations—they create great camaraderie. (O.K. great, Henry, but where are you going with this?)

As I heard Villanova’s (that’s my alma mater’s) name called on Sunday as a number-nine seed (too high in my opinion, but I will take it) and learned our opponent would be North Carolina, I immediately thought about Ray Magyar, CAPP, transportation planner at UNC. And my second thought was that perhaps a friendly wager was in order. I’m not talking mortgage or paycheck-level bets, but a little bet to spice things up–a buck or five, or a beer next time we meet.

This is my assignment for you: use your employment, alumni, or superfan status at a NCAA or NIT tournament school to reach out to an industry peer (use IPI’s Who’s Who in Parking to make the connection) at your opponent’s school and have a little fun. Ideally, arrange to collect on your wager at the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale. No matter what you wager or when you make good, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and make new connections in the parking industry.

Don’t just do it for these first-round games, either. I already have my sights set on Donna Hultine, CAPP, director, parking and transit department at the University of Kansas, for round two. In case you were wondering, my Final Four are: Louisville, Miami, Ohio State, and Villanova (picking with my heart and not my head on that one). Let me know your Final Four and the friendly wagers you make with your peers–comment below.

 


 

Parking and Gardening

L. Dennis Burns

Ahh springtime! Trees are budding (at least here in Arizona), the orange trees are getting full, and soon the excitement of Cactus League Baseball will be upon us. I am once again filled with renewed optimism and recently took stock of the broad strokes of progress being made in our industry.

In the March issue of The Parking Professional magazine, I reflect on an unlikely combination of topics: parking and gardening. Great strides are being made in the parking industry, in large part thanks to parking professionals whose energy, creativity, diversity of knowledge, and skills are transforming communities across the country.

Have you ever seen the old movie “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers and written by Jersey Kosinski? (If not, you should!) Sellers plays the main character: one Chauncey Gardener, a simple, unsophisticated, and uneducated man (except by television) whose occupation is that of a gardener. Following the death of his aging employer and through a series of accidental events, Chauncey is thrust into a very high-profile role when he is introduced to a politically connected millionaire. His simplistic responses to the media and others, based on all that he really knows–gardening–are seen as brilliant and insightful. He begins to be considered not as simple but nearly enlightened (thus the title).

Inspired by some of Chauncey’s gardening-themed responses, I began to see connections between parking and gardening that require a bit of seasonal perspective to come into focus. The progress being made by parking professionals in many communities is really quite inspiring and is explored further in my article. One of my favorite quotes in the piece is from British poet, novelist, and gardener Vita Sackville-West, who once said: “The person who has planted a garden feels that they have done something for the good of the world.”

I hope you’ll read the piece, let me know what you think, and join me in congratulating the host of parking professionals who are making significant differences in their communities every day!

 

Inspired Leadership on EV

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)
Ballard

Supporting EVs is a matter of national security for Indianapolis Mayor Ballard

President’s Day is a day of celebration in honor of our nation’s leaders. Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Lincoln, and Kennedy are among those on my list of most admired presidents, but JFK tops the list for his inspired leadership.

President John F. Kennedy, addressing a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, established the national goal of reaching the moon by the end of that decade. His moonshot inspired our nation to achieve what seemed like a near-impossible dream at the time. Today, we all know Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module’s ladder and onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. Without the president’s leadership, vision, and action, we may never have achieved that milestone.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his own “moonshot” last week: to make his city a national leader in promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) over the next several years. He envisions adding something along the order of 10,000 EV charging spaces to the city’s parking facilities in less than a decade. It’s an ambitious goal, and the mayor’s leadership on the topic is to be admired.

The EV push is getting support from another mayor.

Late last month at the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, I had the privilege of meeting Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Mayor Ballard has implemented aggressive and innovative efforts to move most of his city’s fleet of vehicles to electric power (heavy-duty vehicles will be powered by compressed natural gas), and hopes to replace its 3,100 gas-powered cars and trucks with EVs by 2025. Contrary to what you might expect, Mayor Ballard is not a left-wing tree hugger: he is a Republican and a Marine Corps veteran of the first Gulf War. He explained that moving aggressively on electric vehicles is motivated by his desire to never send troops to foreign lands to fight for oil, and to allow his city to reap important and significant cost savings. For him, EVs are about national security, both military and financial.

To be sure, Bloomberg and Ballard come from very different ideological places. Each, however, is exhibiting leadership on the sustainability front which is having tremendous impact on the parking industry.

 

 

Parking Love List

Helen Sullivan

 

It’s no secret: I’m a bit fickle. I love some parking garages because they are extreme, some for their sheer physical beauty, some forP-HEART
their history, or because they are iconic, some for cutting-edge and just plain cool design, some for their intelligence, and some for being practical and sustainable. I have a particular soft spot for the ones that are artsy and have a poetic sensibility.

I am in the process of putting together a list of the parking structures I love best, and I’d like to meet a few new ones, too.  Please visit IPI’s Pinterest site to see photographs of a work-in-progress hot list of cool parking places:

  • 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami
  • Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
  • Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica
  • Michigan Theater, Detroit
  • Autostadt Car Towers, Wolfsburg
  • Car Park One, Oklahoma
  • Greenway Self Park, Chicago
  • Eureka Carpark, Melbourne
  • Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum Parking Garage, Kansas City
  • The Poetry Garage, Chicago
  • Umihotaru, Tokyo
  • Parkhaus Zoo, Leipzig
  • Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Jose
  • Marina City, Chicago

By the way, this is my personal list, not an officially IPI-sanctioned list!  But, we will be surveying parking professionals soon, and with your input, this list will grow. Please share names, places, and photos of  parking facilities with a big wow factor that you love  –  on Valentine’s Day, and beyond.

 

Defining Moment

Henry Wallmeyer

Professor Blimm at Villanova University gave my Expository Writing Class (it sounded like an easy A) an assignment to write a Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 11.15.34 AMpaper that defined something.  Pretty simple right? Until the catch: This time, it was that we could not begin the paper with “The dictionary defines…”  There went the foundation for my paper.

Great story Henry, but what does that have to do with parking?

Over the last several years, the use of technology has accelerated in the parking and transportation industry. And with these advances come new terms and changes to the definitions of words we thought we knew. Here at IPI, we often are asked by the media, our members, and the public for the definition of  high-tech parking items that are becoming more prevalent. I am happy to be able to now respond to these inquires by saying that “IPI’s What’s What in Parking Technology defines…”

IPI’s Technology committee, co-chaired by Mike Drow, CAPP, of Standard Parking, and Peter Lange (a.k.a. Johnny Parking), of Texas A&M University, identified the need for a document to define those techy terms and help parking professionals better communicate with their peers, vendors, customers, and the media. Through a great collaborative effort by the committee, What’s What in Parking Technology: A Glossary of Parking Technology Terms was created.

With nearly 100 definitions that cover Access Control, Video Analytics, and everything in between, this is an amazing industry resource. Use it to ensure that your employees (especially new ones) know the terminology they’ll use a day-to-day basis in the office and with the media and public.

What’s What in Parking Technology: A Glossary of Parking Technology Terms has been mailed with the February issue of The Parking Professional. You can also download it free at parking.org/techglossary.

Look for updates to this glossary, too. As we all know, parking technology is always changing.

IPI Part of DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)
DSC05123

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu explains the Workplace Charging Challenge
at the Washington Auto Show

IPI has worked tirelessly to earn parking a seat at the table and the fruits of those labors were very evident yesterday, when I had the opportunity to represent the industry at the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge Roundtable.  This event, which assembled leaders from major automakers, telecommunications, high-tech, and energy companies, is part of a broad and aggressive effort to expand the number of plug-in electric (PEV) cars in use across America and make them an affordable, reliable, and convenient alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles.  In a word, the goal of this program is to finally “mainstream” PEVs in an effort to address environmental and economic sustainability concerns. The ubiquity of charging stations at places of employment is viewed as an important step toward increasing the likelihood that consumers will feel comfortable investing in an EV.

As a Workplace Charging Challenge program Founding Ambassador, IPI has committed to lead an effort that will encourage the installation of charging stations in parking facilities that serve places of work.  We will do this by capitalizing on our vast and engaged membership, by leveraging the work already underway in our sustainability committee, and through established strategic partnerships with other organizations.

Announcing the Challenge yesterday, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu issued a challenge to employers to increase the number of chargers available to their employees tenfold in the next 10 years, saying that offering charging stations for workers increases their flexibility and is “incredibly useful.”

“The thrill of driving by a gasoline station and smiling is one everyone should experience,” he said.

The fact that IPI was invited to be part of this effort is a reflection of the influence and respect we’re earning as an association, and a signal that those outside of our industry are acknowledging that parking really does matter. And while being invited to take part in such a prestigious and important event is truly a mark of success, we cannot rest on our laurels.

Howard Skipper, a scientist working on a cure for leukemia  in the 1970s, once said this about the importance of taking action on critical problems even when all the answers aren’t known: ” We cannot afford to sit and wait for the promise of tomorrow so long as stepwise progress can be made with tools at hand today.” Skipper’s words ring true today on the topic of sustainability. To keep our seat at the table we must act with dispatch and do our part in this and other key efforts.

Read IPI’ s news release here and the Department of Energy’s  news release here.

 

TRB and a Spot for Parking

Shawn Conrad

I have just returned from completing a marathon, but not the kind that involves sweating through 26 miles on foot. This week, the nation’s capital hosted the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The TRB is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. Its mission is to provide leadership in transportation research and information exchange, conducted in a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. From the moment I picked up my meeting materials until they closed the exhibits, I heard about a smorgasbord of transportation-related issues and what mobility will look like in the future. Great stuff!

The five-day program included almost 750 sessions and workshops on all aspects of transportation. With topics such as the Department of Transportation’s session on Map 21 Implementation (I will leave this discussion for a future post); Innovations in Statewide Multimodal Planning; Pedestrian Planning, Policy, and Demand Analysis; Nondestructive Hot-Mix Asphalt Testing; and Reducing Traffic by Increasing Passenger Ridership in Cars, Vans, and Transit, there was plenty of information for every transportation professional’s craving.

But what about parking? What about parking operations, management, technology, pricing, transportation demand management, sustainability, financing, or trends? Some of these things were discussed during the event, but let’s be honest: the only proper immersion on these issues happens at the 2013 IPI Conference in Fort Lauderdale, May 19-22. (That’s my plug, but seriously, as one IPI member said as we passed in the hallway at TRB, “Parking is covered at the IPI Conference.”)

That’s not to say that there weren’t very interesting sessions on parking-related topics, because there were. Topics such as parking’s role in congestion reduction, variable pricing, and managing parking at sporting events were addressed.

But possibly the biggest breakthrough discussion centered around parking occurred during the second day of TRB when Josh Kavanagh, CAPP, from the University of Washington made a strong and compelling argument on IPI’s behalf that TRB create a full-fledged parking committee. The interest for a parking committee is certainly at peak level and IPI leaders have offered TRB their time and expertise to making this committee tangible.

I will keep you updated on our progress.

Meanwhile, those in the parking profession should feel empowered about how vital and relevant parking is to transportation. Advancing the profession and increasing awareness for its importance is vital not just to us, but to the greater good.

I’d be interested in hearing your TRB experiences. Comment below or email me.

 

 

Meet Your State and Regional Associations

Bridgette Brady

Allow me to introduce you to your State or Regional Associations. There are currently nineteen Parking and Transportation Associations representing professionals throughout the nation. Much like IPI, these associations’ mission is to advance the profession. In other words, the associations are bringing IPI home. One of the greater values an association provides is an annual conference. It is the hope that barriers to participating in these important learning and networking opportunities can be alleviated by bringing the event closer to the professional.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend or be part of planning several regional conferences and found the rewards to be countless. I’ve also found associations to be very innovative with conference programming. For example, the most recent conference I attended was hosted by the Southwest Parking Association (SWPA) this past October. Not unlike most associations, SWPA has recently set ambitious goals for increasing membership and level of service to members. The Board brainstormed on how they might achieve these goals and took a chance with a new conference format. The risks paid off for both vendors and attendees.

Some of the unique features included:

• All educational offerings were provided in a plenary format in the same room that meals were provided. Only one session was offered at a time.
• No vendor booths or tables. Instead each vendor had the opportunity to give a ten minute presentation “Power Pitch” to the entire audience during breakfast and lunch, attend the sessions and otherwise network freely during breaks and events.
• Held a “Swag Swap” at the very end of the conference and allowed vendors to take part. This helped to keep attendees engaged through the end of the conference.

For more information about your State and Regional Associations, please contact me at b.brady@wsu.edu.

Parking Lessons from Football Champions

Brett Wood

I feel like you all are getting to know me a little better through this blog. This week’s tidbit is that I am a very proud alumnus of Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 11.25.48 AMthe University of Alabama–very proud of my education and the wonderful strides the university has taken to establish itself as a premier educational institution. But–you guessed it–today I am proudest of the latest notch in the belt that is the Alabama football dynasty. They won their third national title in four years a few weeks back, and their 15th of all time. And while that last number might be debated, what’s not debatable is their place in football history.

How can we relate that success to a parking program?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s approach to achieving success can provide you a roadmap to improving your day-to-day operations and implementing your own successful dynasty. “The Process,” which is Saban’s approach to building a program, focuses on small details rather than the end goals, and the primary objective is for every member of the organization to improve the tasks they handle so it’s inevitable that the program is a champion. Consider some quotes about his process:

  • “Eliminate the clutter and all the things that are going on outside and focus on the things that you can control with how you go about and take care of your business.”
  • “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”
  • “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”
  • “You can’t get from A to Z by passing up B.”

It’s not rocket science. Saban focuses on nutrition, training, education, fundamentals, and player development as much as game planning for the next opponent. Perfection in every facet is possible because of the daily focus on details. In other words, stop worrying about the big picture success, get down in the weeds, and find a way to make your people, your program, and your community better by focusing on the little things and making more aspects of your program shine.

Judging by the Alabama and Notre Dame parking program comparison in the January issue of The Parking Professional, it appears The Process has extended itself to Alabama Parking Services as well. When The Process is rolling, no one can stop it. ROLL TIDE!

Parking Leaders Kickstart the New Year

Kim Fernandez

The New Year’s resolution: the highlight of the holiday season or the bane of one’s existence. It can go either way. Anyone can make a January 2013 Parking Professional Coverresolution that says we’re going to drop 10 pounds or spend less time on the smartphone or read a book a week or do more yardwork, and lots of us swear that starting January 1, we’re going to work harder, treat our bodies better, and emerge 12 months later better and more successful in some way.

The real question, of course, is how you get from point A to point B. How do you lose that weight? How do you cut back on the email without sacrificing career goals? How, exactly, do you make yourself better/smarter/stronger with the same 24 hours a day you’ve always had?

Businesses are no different; nor is the parking industry. We want to be better at what we do, more efficient, more sustainable, and more successful than ever before despite financial, regulatory, and political roadblocks.

How?

Those are the questions we posed to some of the industry’s top experts in the January issue of The Parking Professional. And they answered, giving their honest evaluations of the industry as it stands and concrete advice for 2013 and beyond. Our industry leaders’ interview is a great starting point for anyone who wants to improve their department or their career this year (who doesn’t?), and we hope you find it useful.

Also in this month’s issue are the winners of our first photography contest (how often do you see a dancer on the cover of a parking magazine?), our Social Media 101 guide for parking professionals, and features on managers as coaches and cheerleaders, turning lemons into lemonade and engaging the entire community in the process, and on airport landside employees’ number-one secret weapon for dealing with difficult customers.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue!

Resolutions

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

A tradition I thoroughly enjoy is putting together my list of resolutions for the coming year. It’s pretty standard for me to include such aspirations as, “work out more,” and “eat less junk food,” but this year I thought I’d turn to many of my colleagues on the IPI Board of Directors for inspiration in hopes of not giving up a week into 2013. I looked back at each of the Entrance columns written in The Parking Professional magazine in 2012 to pull together my list. This year I resolve to…:

  1. Be innovative. In February, Chuck Reedstrom, CAPP, wrote about the ever-changing nature of technology in our industry and the need to stay up on the latest innovations.
  2. Keep learning. In April, Cindy Campbell discussed how important it is to continue to develop professionally and for leaders to help their teams do the same.
  3. Serve others. Rick Decker, CAPP, reminded us in the June edition that ours is a service industry and that we can and should expand the products and services we offer our customers.
  4. Think and act strategically. Following lessons learned in his extensive military career, Al Corry, CAPP, in August discussed how critical it is to have a big picture game plan and to execute that plan.
  5.  Have fun. In perhaps my favorite Entrance column of the year, Mike Swartz in November sagely reminded us to find fun in our work and in life.
  6. Be open-minded. In the December edition, Michael Klein, CAPP, pointed out that one can believe in free enterprise and also in protecting the environment.
  7. Be thankful. While this resolution doesn’t come directly from a board member’s column, each person I’ve had the chance to serve with at IPI reminds me of how special our family really is and how lucky I am to be a part of such a great effort.

Good luck writing your own New Year’s resolutions and thank you for your part in making IPI and our industry a success this past year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013. Onward.

Credit Check

Henry Wallmeyer

Do you accept credit cards? The past several weeks have been very busy and very fruitful for the International Parking Institute and our members in helping bring some understanding to high credit and debit card swipe fees that affect the parking industry. Swipe fees have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and they’re now a top cost for parking operators. Why the rise? It’s simply because the fees are set by Visa and MasterCard, and they have the market cornered.

Earlier this month, IPI announced it had joined the Merchants Payments Coalition to combat  unfair swipe fees. The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants, and other businesses fighting against unfair credit card fees and for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.

We’re taking other steps in this area as well. Last Monday, I met with Dan Swanson, counsel to U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to discuss the Durbin Amendment, swipe fees’ effects on the parking industry, and what we can do about the issue as an association and industry. IPI and the MPC view the passage of debit card fee reforms—often referred to as the Durbin Amendment—as a step toward creating a fairer and reasonable payments marketplace. Swanson said he is happy to talk with any of our members and provide insight on this issue. He can be reached at 202.224.2152.

Wednesday, Liz Garner and Doug Kantor of the MPC presented Credit and Debit Swipe Fees: Combating Invisible Costs as part of IPI’s monthly webinar series. They gave a legislative, regulatory, and legal overview of the issues. They also provided details about  the court case brought against the Federal Reserve for poor implementation in their final rulemaking that gave major credit card brands latitude to increase rates on small ticket transactions. You can access the archived version of the webinar here.

IPI will keep you informed of the latest happenings on this issue and with the coalition, but in the meantime, you can control some of your costs by taking advantage of IPI’s Payment Processing Program through AMG Payment Solutions. It is the best program in the industry and will show a direct benefit to your bottom line while IPI works to lower the bigger cost of interchange fees.

 

IPI’s Latin Parking Conference & Expo Kicks Off

Bonnie Watts

What a beautiful day in Puerto Rico! After a welcome reception that offered wonderful pre-meeting introductions and networking, the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo launched yesterday morning. IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, welcomed the group of more than 80 people from eight countries to San Juan.

Attendees represent a broad spectrum of expertise, with architects, planners, government officials, operators, and university and airport professionals
on-site.

The conference includes all-day interactive seminars with industry experts facilitating discussions on why Parking Matters®, exhibits, local facility tours, networking events, and roundtable discussion groups. IPI Chair-elect, Liliana Rambo, CAPP, kicked off the morning’s education with The Business of Parking and Profits. She talked about visiting Old San Juan and the challenges faced in the area, and recommended developing a plan, structuring paid parking, and enforcing with courtesy.

A common frustration shared by attendees is how to overcome regulatory hurdles established by city officials who aren’t yet aware about developing parking programs, and the benefits of adding that potential revenue stream to the economy. Spirited discussion happened in sessions, in the hallways, and while visiting with more than 20 exhibitors of parking equipment,  products, and services. It was an exciting day in San Juan!

Parking Gets a Spot at the White House

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

President Obama has just announced his intent to nominate of IPI Board Member Tim Haahs, P.E., AIA, president and CEO of Timothy Haahs and Associates, to the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences. That’s an important role and a significant honor. You can read the official White House release here. And more about the work of the National Institute for Building Sciences here.

What was one of Tim’s first reactions when IPI sent heartfelt congratulations? Tim said he will “make sure Parking Matters®!”

For those of you fortunate enough to have met Tim, you know this is well deserved. His visibility in this important post will reflect well on our entire profession and is fitting for such a visionary and capable expert. Tim is a longtime IPI Board member who contributes greatly to parking, transportation and community building. He is an engineer, architect, head of one of the industry’s best-regarded and most successful parking consultant firms, a prolific writer on the topic of parking and transportation, a community leader, pastor, and beloved colleague and mentor to many of us in the parking community.

You can read his bio here, but that doesn’t do justice to the effect Tim continues to have on our industry because of the unique spirit he brings to everything he does, and to his spiritual self that is ever present. All of us at IPI offer him our most sincere congratulations for this well-deserved achievement.

 

Thanksgiving

Shawn Conrad

Our friends at AAA tell us that about 90 percent of U.S. travelers (that’s 39.1 million people) plan to go over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving in their cars. We know more than anyone that all those cars will be in motion for just part of that time – most of the holiday, they’ll be parked. To aid drivers in the scramble for parking during this busy season, we’ve distributed a news release to consumer media providing parking information, safety tips, and practical advice for holiday shoppers.

We also know that as drivers turn their vehicles into the safe harbor of a parking spot, they probably won’t stop to consider how many parking professionals they have to thank for that remarkable and essential piece of real estate and the industry behind it. So here’s an official thank you from all of us at IPI for your know-how and expertise; without it, we could not connect to our communities, our colleges, our cities, our downtowns, our malls, our museums, our sports stadiums, our entertainment centers, our airports, our hospitals, our retail shops, our residences, our workplaces, or ultimately, our families and friends.

Please count me among those who are thankful for so much at this time of year, and especially for the wonderful people in parking I have the privilege to know.

On behalf of all of us at IPI, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

A Day in the Life of a Parking Professional

Shawn Conrad

What are all the day-to-day tasks involved in being a parking professional?

That’s what we are trying to ascertain with the IPI Parking Job Analysis Survey, which you may have received this week.

This isn’t just another survey–the Job Analysis Survey is particularly important to all of us because it will help us develop a real-world profile of the tasks and responsibilities of parking professionals. That profile will help us better explain the scope of work of our profession to others, and help guide us in developing on-the-mark training and professional development programs within our own ranks.

The difficulty in doing a Job Analysis Survey can be that you really need an extraordinary number of respondents in order for the survey to be truly representative, truly valid. In this day of overburdening emails, too much information, and time constraints, how do you break through the clutter and convince people to take 15 minutes to complete one?

I risked seeming like a wild and crazy optimist when I told our talented and very experienced Job Analysis project consultant, Kate Windom, that I believed our members would surprise her with their response. (Not to brag, but I’m the envy of other association executives when I boast that IPI members in the hundreds fill out our annual call for volunteers.) I knew (hoped!) that I could count on our enthusiastic, thoughtful, and always generous members who were sure to take just 15 minutes to share their thoughts.

Even I was wowed by the response we received to just our first email requesting survey participation. Kate says she’s absolutely never seen anything like it! The response was beyond our wildest dreams!

We still need more. So if you haven’t yet seen an email about the Job Analysis Survey in your mailbox, on IPIs Facebook page, or through the IPI LinkedIn group, please send an email to ipi@parking.org and ask for a link to the survey. Just write “Job Analysis” in the subject line. You don’t have to be an IPI member to participate. It takes just 15 minutes (every one is a gift to us and to the industry) and you could win an iPad Mini just for responding.

The survey is important in our quest to advance the parking profession and your input is vital.

Hurricane Sandy

Shawn Conrad

IPI’s offices are closed today as we, like much of the Eastern seaboard, prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. As I write this, forecasters are saying she will be catastrophic–perhaps the largest storm to ever hit the U.S.

We will open again as quickly as possible when Sandy retreats from this area. Until then, much of our staff will be working from home for as long as power remains. Apologies in advance if
a few of your emails or phone calls receive delayed responses.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of the hurricane and all who will be affected. It is times like these when I reflect on the meaning of community. The definition I like best is one that defines community as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Most of us are fortunate to be part of many different communities, and I am very honored to count the IPI parking community among those most important to me. Stay safe, all!

Last Week to Enter The Parking Professional Photo Contest

Kim Fernandez

You know how the holidays sneak up on us every year? Same with tax day–we think we’re prepared and ready, and then wham! It’s here, and we end up panicking to get everything done before the big day ends.

Consider this your seven-day warning: The Parking Professional’s first photo contest ends exactly one week from today, and you have a little more than 168 long hours to get your entry in. We’ve received a lot of fantastic entries, but we still want to see yours!

Need a little motivation? How about a free registration to the IPI Conference & Expo in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., next May? That’s what our Best in Show winner will receive, along with having his or her photo featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of The Parking Professional. You could also spice up your wardrobe with a stylish Parking Matters® shirt or see your photo published in the magazine if you take top honors in our six main categories of pictures:

  • Beautiful
  • Funny
  • People in Parking
  • Structure/Lot
  • Nature
  • Most Offbeat or Unusual

All you need to do is take a parking-related digital photo and visit parking.org/photocontest to upload it into the contest. That’s it! Easy-peasy, but you only have one more week to join in the fun.

Hit us with your best shot! I can’t wait to see all of your entries!

 

Catch the Big One

Bonnie Watts

As I write this, I am exhilarated–and tired. I sure won’t be sending you a photograph of my desk this week. That’s because we opened exhibit sales for the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo and we’ve already broken our best opening-day record. It’s been a wild ride! I guess this is like hosting a Super Bowl in your city for our municipality members, or the freshman move-in day for our university members. A big day! An important day! By Day Two this week, we were 70 percent sold out–already bigger than any other parking conference or expo in the world–and I have a hunch the IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (on the ocean–such a beautiful place to be in May) will be our biggest show ever. Biggest and best. Behind the scenes, IPI staff is working to make the conference the best ever, on every level.

We’ve got new initiatives underway to ensure that we broaden the types of attendees who attend because we know there are important new ideas, products, and services that need to be shared in order to advance the parking profession–our primary mission. We’re looking at new ways to meet the needs of our attendees so that every day of the conference is full of learning, opportunity, and inspiration.

Mark your calendars now for May 19-22 and we promise to provide expertise that prepares you, technology that empowers you, and networking that moves you forward. And did I mention a whole lot of fun and long-lasting friendships, too?  To our wonderful sponsors and exhibitors (those who have already signed on, and those who may be planning to), I just wanted to say it’s a privilege to work in this industry.

 

 

PARK(ing) Day Completes our Streets

Jeff Petry

Today is PARK(ing) Day –an international day where our metered parking spaces turn into park spaces that promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play.*

Why are we sometimes hesitant to embrace a concept such as PARK(ing) Day? Have a seat on my couch and let’s talk about our anxieties:

  • Safety: Having people, especially kids playing, in a parking space next to moving traffic is dangerous.
  • No turnover: The space is essentially reserved all day long and the abutting businesses lose convenience customers.
  • It challenges our thought: It can be difficult for us to think about an on-street parking space being used for something other than an automobile.

I understand these concerns, as they all went through my mind with my first experience of a PARK(ing) Day. The top two disappeared when I saw the safe layout of the transformed spaces and neighborliness of the PARK-ers with adjacent businesses (There is a free PARK(ing) Day manual that addresses these issues, too).

The last, I realized, was just a reaction to tackling something different from our day-to-day work, but the fresh perspective of PARK(ing) day provides a healthy challenge to our profession. We need to be pushed outside our comfort range to maintain a robust understanding of how our profession integrates into larger community concerns.

The mission behind PARK(ing) Day, however, is not that different from other familiar situations. Many municipal and campus parking lots are viewed as land bank sites for future development. How many of us have had a surface lot converted to something else–likely a building or parking structure? How many of us carry this normal development scenario over to the on-street parking system? Is it really that big of a leap of parking faith to think about converting an on-street parking space to a different use, at least for a day?

We must recognize that our streets are public spaces that serve more than just a transportation function. Our public spaces provide the opportunity for social interactions, public gathering spaces, vending, events, and even sometimes temporary conversion to a park for a day. PARK(ing) Day feeds into the concept of a Complete Street that aims to allow socioeconomic uses for our streets to coexist happily with our transportation needs year ‘round. PARK(ing) Day provides a short-term experiment to help us and as our enlightened community members and decision makers visualize a different use of a metered, on-street parking space. It can also help us parking folks expand our professional roles and re-think the services our management can provide.

 

*Original PARK(ing) Day concept by Rebar. www.rebargroup.org., www.parkingday.org

Grants Awarded for Parking Pricing Projects

Henry Wallmeyer

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced more than $363 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to fund a wide variety of highway improvements that include the Value Pricing Pilot (VPP) Program. The VPP Program supports a variety of strategies to manage congestion on highways, including tolling highway facilities through congestion pricing, as well as other methods that do not involve tolls, such as mileage-based car insurance and parking pricing. Awardees and grant amount included:

Multimodal, Dynamic Parking Pricing in Downtown Washington, D.C.
This project will implement dynamic pricing and a reservation system for commercial vehicle parking to manage metered curbside spaces in the congested downtown business district and tourist areas. It will encourage freight travel at off-peak times and enable tour bus operators to find parking, as well as use parking revenues to support transit services. $1,090,000 

ParkSmart New York City
The project continues the work of a previous pilot to introduce higher on-street meter rates during peak times in select neighborhoods to support retail areas by increasing vehicle turnover and allowing more vehicles to access on-street parking. It offers tailored pricing strategies in up to 25 new neighborhood retail corridors to reflect parking demand, and will reduce congestion caused by double-parked and circling cars. $950,000

Kendall Square Employer Transportation Benefit Pricing Trail
The city of Cambridge, Mass., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will evaluate the effectiveness of a range of current parking pricing strategies used by area employers and provide financial incentives to deploy and evaluate additional new strategies.  $743,872

Performance Parking System Implementation in Los Angeles
This project will install sensors to monitor occupancy and adjust prices for 543 on-street and 366 off-street parking spaces to reduce emissions while searching for parking. $600,272

San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission Regional Parking Pricing Analysis Tool
This proposal creates a regional parking database that will allow localities to analyze the effects of various parking pricing scenarios designed to encourage transit and other alternative travel in the Bay Area. $560,000

King County, Wash., Park-and-Ride Pricing in Multi-Family Developments
This project will address a regional shortage in parking spaces at park-and-ride facilitates. The project will facilitate the paid use of parking spaces that are vacated during the day in multifamily neighborhoods along transit routes in the Seattle area, thereby allowing more use of public transit. $543,900

Parking Pricing Enhancement Study in San Francisco
This two-part project will study and assess options for implementing a residential parking pricing pilot and develop transferable technical specifications for SFpark, which would help other cities implement similar programs. $420,000

For the complete list of awardees, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary/2012vppp.cfm, and be sure to download for free the FHWA’s Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing.

We encourage all parking organizations to explore the opportunity to improve their operations with the assistance of federal or private grants. For more information on the FHWA grants, please contact:

Allen Greenberg
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
202-366-2425
allen.greenberg@dot.gov

America’s Parking Lot

Kim Fernandez

My dad took me to my first football tailgate when I was 12 or 13 years old. It was a University of Maryland vs. Clemson game, and while I don’t remember who won, the party in the parking lot is clearly etched in my brain.

Filmmaker Jonny Mars went to his first pro football tailgate party as an adult, five years ago, after betting a friend that watching a Dallas Cowboys game at home was a better experience than going to a game in person. He figured there would be food and beer and lots of yelling, but what he didn’t expect to find was a community there among the pickup trucks and tents and trailers. And he certainly never thought his life would be flipped upside-down outside Cowboys Stadium, but that’s exactly what happened.

Mars spent the next four years making a movie called “America’s Parking Lot,” about the Gate 6 Tailgaters in Dallas–possibly the most rabid group of fans the Cowboys enjoy–and how they were nearly torn apart when the team moved to a new stadium, a new ticket pricing structure, and a new parking lot. He and I started talking several months ago, and even having spent much of my work time immersed in parking for more than a year, his film and those fans’ story kind of blew me away.

In the September issue of The Parking Professional, you’ll meet tailgate ringleader Cy Ditmore, who’s featured in the film, and hear his thoughts on football and tailgates and parking. He talks about the family he gained when he started hanging out on the asphalt before football games, and he means it quite literally; the men and women he parties with have become as dear to his heart as his own blood relatives.

The movie is scheduled to appear on most cable systems’ video on demand menus starting November 22, sharing the importance of that parking lot with much of America. I hope you’ll spend some time with our story, get to know Jonny and Cy a little bit, and then make a date with your television to watch the film.

It’s much more than a party out there. It’s a neighborhood, and shows why, in a very grassroots sense, Parking Matters®.

It’s IPI Conference Presentation Call Time

Henry Wallmeyer

It may seem like we’re all still settling in from the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, but the IPI Conference Program Committee is already hard at work planning the 2013 event in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22. If you’ve ever thought about giving a presentation at the largest gathering of parking professionals in the world and helping shape the future of your industry, this is the time to submit your proposal.

Experienced and articulate professionals who’d like to share their expertise and real-world experience with IPI Conference & Expo attendees are invited to submit proposals to present at next year’s event. The official call for presentation explains all the details, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Presentation proposals are due Oct. 1, 2012. The Conference Program Committee will review them immediately  after that date, so don’t be late with yours.
  • Presenters are entitled to a 25 percent discount off full or daily Conference registrations (CAPP candidates are not eligible for this discount). We cannot, however, provide fees or expense reimbursements.
  • Please don’t confuse educational sessions with Expo hall pitches. Make sure your educational session content is based on a relevant topic, concept, or idea, and not your services, products, company, or proprietary information.
  • Submit as many proposals as you want, but make your proposals great to rise above the rest.

To learn more about how the IPI Conference Program Committee judges and selects Conference session presenters, see the April 2012 issue of The Parking Professional .

There is no better venue than the IPI Conference & Expo to share your experience; it’s where parking professionals from around the world go for the game-changing thinking and innovation that will propel them and their businesses ahead. I hope you’ll be part of it and consider submitting your proposal by Oct. 1. Please let me know if you have questions, and see you in Ft. Lauderdale!

The Parking Professional and Colin Powell

Shawn Conrad

Inspiration can come from many sources. My inspiration comes from people I meet every day who make the most of their surroundings and those who look for and seize opportunities, like the gentleman on the cover of the August issue of The Parking Professional.

General Colin Powell certainly has made the most of his opportunities. He rose, as he describes  it, from “ordinary circumstances” to serve the United States in many different capacities. Since 1958, Gen. Powell has received 11 military decorations, served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. His devotion to serving did not end when he left public office. Over the past several years, he and his wife, Alma, have devoted themselves to the well-being of children, co-chairing America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit committed to helping young people succeed.

The general is also a car enthusiast and loves his 19 Corvettes, but that’s not why The Parking Professional sought him out for an interview. As he says in his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, then-Secretary of State Powell had a discussion with a group of parking attendants in the State Department’s garage that we at IPI found quite enlightening.

Gen. Powell used the story about the parking attendants to remind people that our actions and how we treat people can have a profound effect on those around us.

I encourage you to read our interview with Gen. Powell in the August issue of The Parking Professional magazine , and if you’re so inclined, pick up a copy of his new book. While we will always remember Gen. Powell for his service to our country, we are also proud that he fully understands why Parking Matters®.

From Puerto Rico: Developing the Second Annual IPI Latin Parking Conference

Shawn Conrad

I just returned from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which has a rich history dating  back to Christopher Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas in 1493. This diverse series of islands has served as a landing spot for voyagers, adventurers, developers, and individuals seeking the islands’ hidden beauty. What many people don’t know about this gem of the Caribbean is that it is just a few hours’ direct flight from most locations within the U.S., Mexico, Central, and South America.

This December 10-12, the International Parking Institute (IPI), working with a host committee comprised of parking professionals from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Chile, and Peru, will launch our own voyage by hosting the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While we knew we had strong local interest to bring education and technology to an event to Puerto Rico, my trip to this wonderful place has given me a bird’s eye view of the overall parking landscape. Parking in Puerto Rico is mostly free. That provides many challenges and also many opportunities in communicating with local government officials and with communities. There are many challenges here; IPI is eager to showcase industry best practices and to enable our member experts to share parking management, best practices, and new technologies that could provide a much-needed revenue stream to support municipal, university, and medical center activities.

With assistance from IPI representatives from the Sifontes Group and Desarrollafora LCP, the December Latin Parking Conference will showcase new thinking in managing parking operations, provide for demonstrations of the latest equipment and technology available to the parking and transportation industry, and allow Conference attendees to explore all the beauty that is Puerto Rico. The conference will be presented in English with Spanish translation provided.

Be on the lookout for more information about this event as we continue to expand the borders of why Parking Matters®.