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Elves, Volunteers and Santa 365

Shawn Conrad

When I say 365, I’m not referring to days in the year. I’m talking about the approximate number of parking professionals who chose to volunteer and share their energy and expertise with the International Parking Institute, affiliates, or allied state and regional parking associations during the past 12 months.

Behind every successful IPI program, there are numerous “elves” oiling the machine, delivering the goods, and doing so with bells on!

This is very top of mind because I just re-read my advance copy of the 2013 IPI Year in Review which will accompany your January issue of The Parking Professional. As the year comes to a close, it’s a satisfying exercise to recap highlights of the past twelve months and see how much we accomplished. As, IPI Chair Liliana Rambo, CAPP, coined it: “A stellar year – thanks to so many.”

We were fortunate to have many talented individuals make such a positive difference by working on a committee, writing an article for The Parking Professional or the Parking Matters® Blogbeing the elvebehind the 2013 IPIConference & Expo, participating in webinars, sharing ideas during ShopTalks,and contributing in countless other ways to advance the parking profession.

This season, we hear a great deal about spirit and generosity, but I have found this to be an industry where those attributes are year round in abundance. On behalf of all of us at IPI, our deepest gratitude and very best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a healthy, prosperous new year.

Tea and Parking: What’s the Deal?

JC Porter, Parking and Transportation, Bronco Snapshot, cq

Success boils down to how you treat your customers and employees. I had the opportunity to read The Parking Professional’s Goldman Coverinterview with bestselling author, CEO, and green advocate Seth Goldman in the December issue (coming to your mailbox soon), and found it very insightful. Without giving away all the details of the interview, I want to discuss a few themes Goldman talks about and how they apply to parking.

The first thing he addresses is having a mission that employees at all levels can understand and get behind. Often, mission statements are written by leaders who are not out doing the job on a day-to-day basis and may not have the vision of what a frontline job could be. Getting employees’ buy-in on mission requires their involvement from the ground up. We have to give them the responsibility that will allow them to make decisions that go along with the mission, and empower them to make decisions that translate to top-notch customer service.

Goldman’s second piece of advice is to think like a customer, to ensure the services they want and need are being provided. Most times, we like to tell our customers what they want or need instead of listening to them.

Finally, he advises treating everyone equally so no one feels like an outsider in the corporate environment. This, he says, translates to parking pretty easily: cyclists tend to be relegated to the corner or an area that is under-utilized when bike storage is provided at all. Instead, create spaces that are well thought-out and will help encourage cycling. Consider bike storage that is secure, covered, and close to the front door; lockers and showers; and having a vending machine that dispenses tubes, batteries, or other bicycle-related items to allow quick fix before the ride home. The return on investment for these services will be high; bike infrastructure is inexpensive and employees who bike to work are in better health and less stressed when arriving to work than those who commute by car.

I hope you’ll take time to read the interview with Seth Goldman in the December issue of The Parking Professional. Finding your mission can be as easy as looking toward your employees and customers, and not just looking at the bottom line.



Thanksgiving: Parking Family


This is the time of the year many of us take a moment to examine the things we have accomplished during the past 11 months and either celebrate or reinvigorate ourselves with new energy to finish those pending projects in the last four weeks of the calendar year. But it is also a time for traditions; it is a time to come together with loved ones, families, colleagues, and friends, share food and fun, and be thankful.

As I prepare for a Thanksgiving get-together at my house with my two daughters, family, and friends, I am making notes of all the things that I will be thankful for, including those we sometimes we take for granted: the cooking of the turkey, for example!

This year, I am thankful for my health and for the ability to be able to enjoy life with my girls.

I am thankful that Briana was accepted to the university of her choice and that Diana keeps excelling at volleyball.

I am thankful to have crossed completing a Tough Mudder event off my bucket list. But I am more thankful for the friendships and camaraderie formed with other parking peeps during the event.

I give thanks for a job that provides as many challenges as rewards, and for the opportunity to work with a very talented and fun group of people.

I am also very thankful for having the great fortune to belong to an organization such as IPI, where I have been able to grow as an individual and in the professional arena. I feel extremely blessed to call some of the people I have met through this organization not just colleagues, but BFFs.

I am thankful for the people who work for IPI and the many accomplishments they have helped us achieve in the parking and transportation industry worldwide. The list of accomplishments over the last year is exhausting, and many of these accomplishments could not have been realized without volunteers. The real magic of IPI is the number and caliber of volunteers who give back to their profession by offering their talents, time, and expertise on our board, committees, councils, and task forces. Words can’t express the gratitude I feel and owe to all our volunteers–my heartfelt thank you goes to all of you.

We all know that it takes a team to make it happen, and we have a very strong team! More than 400 people answered our biannual call for volunteers, and they are the ones helping us move the needle and IPI forward. We have made great progress in developing the international arena in the parking profession by providing services and programs to parking professionals in North America, Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of South America, and we will keep expanding on this effort.

I could go on and on listing accomplishments, but I’ll close by expressing my most sincere gratitude to all of you and how privileged I feel to be the chair of such a vibrant and active community–one dedicated to advancing the parking profession.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving Day while I prepare to cook my first turkey!



Heads Up! Safety and Kudos in Montgomery County, Md.

Helen Sullivan
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett at parking lot safety press conference yesterday.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett at parking lot safety press conference yesterday.

Heads Up in Parking Lots is a campaign launched this week by Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C.  I had the privilege of attending their press conference, held in the parking lot of a market in beautiful downtown Rockville. Why launch a safety campaign focused on parking lots?

According to County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, who spoke passionately at the event:

  • Nearly one-third of pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County occur in parking lots and garages.
  • There’s been a 50 percent increase in parking lot and garage collisions over the past five years, with 300 people injured.
  • One-third of those injuries have been severe

Leggett says collisions spike during the November and December holidays, particularly around 7 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m.

The Heads Up campaign is largely a collaboration between government, property owners, and retailers. As Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, law officials have limited authority in retail parking lots, so enforcement is not part of their toolbox. Manger says 80 percent of parking lot collisions are the driver’s fault.

Many of the Heads Up campaign’s safety messages are reflected in numerous posters, signs, bus backs, and tip sheets that are available at Similar messages are reflected in IPI’s annual holiday parking safety news release.

I was happy to meet one of our own at the press conference–Rick Siebert, CAPP, public section chief, Montgomery County Department of Transportation–and honored that during the press conference a shout-out was given to the International Parking Institute.

My relationship with Montgomery County started when I was developing copy and researching statistics for our “How to Park: A Must Read Manual for Teen Drivers” (produced in collaboration with AAA Mid-Atlantic Safety and Education, also at yesterday’s event). There are very few available statistics about pedestrian collisions in parking lots except for those from Montgomery County, which has tracked them for many years. Kudos to this proactive, safety-minded county and my delightful contact there, Public Information Officer Esther Bowring.

Esther and I are planning to knock on some doors at various insurance company groups to see if we can inspire more research and data gathering in this important area. If you have statistics to share, please do, and consider finding ways to communicate safety in your own communities. Thousands of people injured in parking lots and garages each year does not seem like a good thing for anybody. Let’s work together to see a dramatic reduction in those occurrences in Montgomery County–and beyond.

Did You Get Snapping Yet?

Kim Fernandez

The good news is that thanks to fantastic advances in cell phone technology, most of us carry a pretty impressive camera around with

“Meter All Alone,” by Felix Riverea, City of Tampa Parking Division, won in the funniest category in 2012.

“Meter All Alone,” by Felix Riverea, City of Tampa Parking Division, won in the funniest category in 2012.

us all day long. The better news is that this means it’s really easy to snap the perfect photo for The Parking Professional’s Second Annual Photo Contest and win yourself a free registration to the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas or one of several gift certificates to (free parking swag!).

The bad news? You only have one more week to enter, so you need to get snapping!

Entering the contest is easy. Visit to upload your photos in one or more categories:

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

Fill out the online form, and you’re done! Our team of judges can’t wait to see your best shots. Amateur photographers only, please.

Whip out that smartphone or grab your real camera and show us your best shots around the office, the lot or garage, the street, or your town–anything parking-related goes! Need a little inspiration? Check out last year’s winners here. But don’t wait–the contest ends Oct. 31.

I can’t wait to see your photos!

IPI Shows off Park(ing) Day Spirit

Kim Fernandez

A great time was had by all. It’s a cliche, but an appropriate way to describe IPI’s first official foray into Park(ing) Day last Friday, 100_1314when parking spots all around the world were transformed into temporary parks, cafes, libraries, and public spaces (see the August issue of The Parking Professional for more).

A spirited group of IPI staff members joined the design pros at BonoTom Studio (the folks who make The Parking Professional look so good) for lunch in a parklet on Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. Lining a space with faux grass (after paying the meter, of course) and decorating with everything from garden chairs to fanciful gnomes, we invited passers by to kick back in the sun, enjoy a cookie, and talk about parking. For their part, visitors told us about other Park(ing) Day installations they’d passed during the day and even wished us a happy Park(ing) Day as they drove past.

100_1302We had a great time participating in this event, and would love to hear about your festivities. Comment below, or send your story and a photo or two of your parklet to–we’ll publish them in a future issue of the magazine (also think about entering your Park(ing) Day photos in our contest–visit for information).

See you on the street next year!

Are You Ready to “Ignite” and Inspire?

Henry Wallmeyer

“The facilitators did an excellent job of presenting the material.”

“Excellent presentation!”

“Great overview and inspiration.”

“Good information. Fun Time”

“He’s a very knowledgeable presenter with a lot of good relevant experience.”

“This was the best class yet!!”

“This is the best presentation I have been to, maybe ever!”

This is just a sampling of what attendees told us about the sessions and speakers at the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale. Wouldn’t you like the above to be said about you? It can!

To receive these and perhaps even greater compliments, submit your idea for a presentation and become a speaker at the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas, June 1-4. If you are an experienced and articulate individual willing to share your expertise and real-world practices, it’s easy to submit a presentation proposal—we especially want those that illustrate case studies, illuminate important issues, demonstrate how-to knowledge, and increase the professionalism of attendees.

We introduced the Ignite: Parking session in Fort Lauderdale: eight individuals presented for five minutes each using 20 slides that automatically advanced every 15 seconds. Because of the packed room and immensely positive feedback, we are expanding to three sessions in 2014: Ignite: Technology, Ignite: Sustainability, and Ignite: Parking.

An Ignite session is a unique opportunity for you to deliver valuable information in a fun and entertaining way, and we’re looking for engaging, high-energy, multi-tasking, industry professionals to lead the way.

Whether you shine in a traditional 60-minute session or an Ignite session, being a speaker at the IPI Conference & Expo can be an extremely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. Click here for more information and to submit your presentation.

We look forward to receiving your submission by the October 1, 2013 deadline.

Copybooks for All

Rachael Yoka

My kids started school a week ago (finally). It is of note that they resurfaced and re-striped the parking lot over the summer. This caused a certain amount of chaos, but it was a wise investment that will improve conditions in the long run. This post isn’t actually about that, though.

My kids have classes in history, english, math, and more. I am to provide a copybook for each distinct subject–a separate, individual copybook where my son and daughter will write useful information and things worth remembering about each subject.

Sadly, most of the time this is the case. Interdisciplinary explanations, connections, and impacts from one related subject to another (history and social studies, for example) go largely unexplained and unexplored at the elementary level, which I would argue is the best time to teach about those connections. Language and math and history and art and politics cannot be cleanly separated, and to do so leaves our kids at a disadvantage.

In the “real” world, do we operate differently?

Planners plan walkable (or drivable) cities.
Architects design green buildings and contractors build them.
Engineers create complete, green streets.
Parking and transportation professionals plan and operate assets to access said cities, buildings, and streets.

Few organizations, courses, or programs address not only these honorable endeavors, but also the complex relationships, synergies, and conflicts among them. Sustainability and smart growth can serve as that umbrella concept, but what more can we do?

To IPI’s credit, through its Parking Matters® program and other industry outreach efforts and alliances, inroads are being made so related professions take a more holistic approach that includes parking.

But we have much ground to cover. We do what we learn early in life.  We have learned to silo these “subjects.” I would rather be under the colorful umbrella that captures the nuances and relationships of the subjects we learn, and the work we do.

I, for one, would support a change in that paradigm, from Kindergarten all the way up to CAPP!


It’s a Global (Parking) Village in Dublin This Week

Shawn Conrad

I’m in Dublin, Ireland, at the European Parking Congress. It’s only just started, but a highlight this morning was a meeting of the Global Parking Associations Leadership Summit (GPALS). IPI sowed the seeds for this group to provide a forum for parking associations around the globe to share information and work collaboratively for the advancement of the parking industry. The group first met at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, and is now 17 associations strong and growing! Learn more at

At this week’s meeting, which was attended by representatives from 15 countries, we shared and discussed the results of GPALS’ global parking trends report, which is the group’s first collaborative project. Based on an adaptation of IPI’s annual Emerging Trends in Parking survey, data was collected from the members of parking associations from Australia, Norway, Finland, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S. Parking professionals from these countries, as well as from Denmark, Belgium, Serbia, Austria, France, Hungary and Slovakia, participated in the survey.

Survey results focus on the top parking trends as they relate to technology improvements, operations, sustainability, politics, and economic factors that will affect how we regard and manage parking. It also asked respondents to assess whether perceptions about parking were changing for the better or the worse in their countries.

Results from the GPALS survey will be published by each participating parking association next week, and will be featured in the October issue of The Parking Professional. Be sure to look for them when the magazine hits your mailbox next month.

Here in Ireland, there’s a very warm feeling toward the remarkable and unselfish collaborative spirit provided by all of the parking associations. There is much we can learn from each other if we provide pathways for sharing. GPALS is paving the way.


Cheer, Cheer

Henry Wallmeyer

This is one of my favorite times of the year and not just because being outside is once again enjoyable thanks to the cooler weather and the kids are back in school. It is because fall marks the start of college football season.

Les Niedbalski and Henry Wallmeyer

Les Niedbalski and Henry Wallmeyer

I grew up in a house where Saturdays and vacations revolved around Notre Dame football. Our family vacations weren’t to Disney World, but South Bend, Ind., to watch Notre Dame football games. I’m not complaining, mind you, just stating a fact.

Last weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to pass on the tradition as my wife and I loaded our two little ones, ages seven and five, into the family truckster (think the Griswolds) and made the 11-hour trip (Google Maps didn’t take into account the fact that we had kids with us when it said it was nine hours) from Alexandria, Va., to South Bend for the kids’ first home Notre Dame football game.

It was wonderful to show the kids the campus and all the things that make it a special place to not just watch a football game, but experience a football weekend. Things such as multiple trips to the bookstore and seeing the likes of Dick Vitale and Ara Parseghian signing their books in the lobby; saying prayers at the Grotto and attending Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart; seeing famous landmarks such as the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus up close and personal; and running down the tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium just as the players do.

But the thing that isn’t on any guide of must-sees is the one that I got a tremendous amount of joy from, and that was meeting  Les Niedbalski, operations coordinator, parking/traffic, at the University of Notre Dame, and IPI member. One of the main reasons I have continued my career working for associations is our members–I enjoy working with, learning from, helping, and interacting with all of them.

With my family in tow, I stopped by Les’ office on Friday afternoon. We exchanged pleasantries, talked about the upcoming game, discussed how things have changed over the years including fields once used for parking that have grown buildings, and got to know each other. It was a great chance for me to meet a member face-to-face after many phone calls and emails, and for my children to meet the person in charge of parking. The highlight from the meeting was when Les gave me a Notre Dame Parking Services hat and made me an honorary member of his team. I wore the hat proudly the next day at the game, hoping someone would ask me a question about parking (or even try to complain) so I could help them.

Associations are all about community. I encourage you to take advantage of our parking community whenever you can by reaching out to parking professionals when you’re traveling or in your own town. And now, I need to take up the IPI members from the University of Alabama on their invitation to visit for a football game. Apparently, they think they do it right down there.

The ADA Parking Conversation

Doug Holmes

It started back in March when I noticed a string of messages on the CPARK-L e-discussion list about parking for those covered under Fotolia_49835773_Sthe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The conversation first focused on “free” disabled parking, and then moved on to “tiered” disabled parking, before moving on to parking for disabled vets, ADA parking at special events, enforcement of ADA parking spaces including misuse of ADA tags/placards, and then most recently to special parking for pregnant women.

We frequently see articles or presentations about calculating the number of ADA spaces required, ADA space dimensions, or appropriate signage. Less frequently are discussions about the political fallout from creating, enforcing, placing, or relocating ADA spaces. There are so many facets to the issue that it continues to require considerable thought. After all, we are dealing with the well-being of our society.

There is no single law that covers ADA implementation. In addition to federal ADA statutes, there are building codes, state laws, and even institutional permutations that tell parking professionals how to provide reasonable access. One such issue concerns fees: ADA does not address fee structure per se. However, many cities do proscribe fees or the lack thereof. Additionally, in some cases, institutions such as hospitals or universities create their own application within the general framework of ADA. In short, it can be a very complicated matter to address adequately.

This coming Wednesday, August 21, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, IPI will host a look at some of these issues via a webinar you can attend from your desk. This is a panel presentation by former IPI Chair Linda Kauffman, former executive director of parking for the city of Allentown, Pa.; Teresa Trussel, director of transportation for Ohio University; and Bill Kavanagh, director of parking planning and design for the Harman Group.

I will be the moderator of the panel and I truly believe it will pose an interesting look at some ADA issues. I am also thoroughly convinced that it will stimulate even more questions and may lead to some of you to do some of your own research and help further the knowledge and capabilities of the parking profession.

Visit to register. Come join us for an hour!


Park(ing) Goes Trendy

Kim Fernandez

Do you have a 2014 IKEA catalog on your kitchen counter (or in your recycling bin)? Does the photo on p. 30 look familiar? If it does image001-1(it’s the one you see in this post), you’re probably familiar with Park(ing) Day, which is a worldwide event that encourages the temporary transformation of parking spaces into gathering places.

IKEA took it one step farther, posting this video illustrating their parking space transformation on their website. And as you probably know, Park(ing) Day and the parklet concept (turning parking spaces into gathering places on a more permanent basis) have caught the eye of the mainstream media and the public.

It’s also been embraced by parking professionals, who see it as a great public relations activity and way to reach out to their customers via something more positive than gate tickets and citations. For one day a year, they allow community residents and business owners to take over parking spaces, either by feeding the meter as they would to park or by applying for special permits, to construct everything from small parks to cafes to mini-golf courses to art exhibitions, all in the name of social interaction in the downtown area.

Park(ing) Day 2013 will happen on Sept. 20, and organizers say they expect record numbers of cities, towns, campuses, and community organizations to participate. Whether you like the idea or not, are you ready? You can read more about it in the August issue of The Parking Professional, which offers the perspective of parking professionals in several cities that have embraced it as a celebration, along with other thoughts from those on our Ask the Experts panel. And you can see it in this year’s IKEA catalog and on their website, which strikes me as something of a milestone: the parking spot as trendy attribute.

What do you think about Park(ing) Day? Will you participate this year (visit to register)? Let us know in the comments.


Saving Lives of Children in Parked Cars

Helen Sullivan

The parking industry is in a unique position to save the lives of a few children this year. We can also prevent devastation and wheresbaby_4cheartbreak for parents who unintentionally forget their children in parked cars, where escalating temperatures can cause heatstroke (hyperthermia) and death in a matter of minutes. Yes, minutes.

When the outside temperature is 80 degrees the inside temperature of a car, even with a window cracked open, can heat to 99 degrees within 10 minutes; 109 degrees in 20 minutes, 114 degrees in 30 minutes, and 123 degrees within an hour. Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than those of adults. This is illustrated in a video produced by the General Motors Company that can be viewed under the vehicle heating tab on the website of Jan Null, a geophysics professor at San Francisco University who has researched and documented heatstroke among children in parked cars.

IPI issued a news release, “Parked Car Alert: International Parking Institute  Warns of Child Deaths in Summer Heat,” to media outlets last week, and sent our allied state and regional parking associations a localized news release so they can assist in this public service effort.

Every year, more than 20 children die in hot parked cars in the U.S. alone. State laws vary. In some, parents are sent to jail for murder, leaving behind spouses, other children, and shattered families.

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning column on this topic in 2010. “Fatal Distraction:  Forgetting a Child in the Back Seat of a Car is a Horrifying Mistake. Is it a Crime?”  The column will be painful to read, but I hope you will. Weingarten provides the details, both personal and legal, of numerous cases where children died from heatstroke after being unintentionally left in cars.  Weingarten admits to very nearly leaving his own child in a parked car once–the only thing that saved his baby was a sound from the backseat just before he exited the vehicle. If not for that, Weingarten laments that he, too, would have left his child to die in the car.

How many children have died in your state this year? You can find out here.

Tomorrow, July 31 is National Heat Stroke Prevention Day, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Null’s website and SafeKids Worldwide provide good advice, including:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car, even if you think it’s “only for a minute.”
  • Remember that you are traveling with a child by placing an item you need such as a purse or cellphone in the backseat.
  • Consider placing a large stuffed animal in the car seat when it is not in use, and moving it to the front seat as a reminder a child is in the back.
  • If you see an unattended child in a parked vehicle, call 9-1-1 to bring assistance from a local police or fire department that can open the car while parents are located. If the child is in distress due to heat, find a way to get the child out immediately and spray the child with cool water.

Those who manage or own parking facilities may be able to do more than the average citizen by finding ways to post remembers for patrons.  NHTSA offers ways to become involved in their campaign, “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” along with an informative, downloadable pdf.

NHTSA is asking people to tweet and post on Facebook every hour on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on July 31 using the hash tag #heatstroke. We will be joining in that effort at #IntlParkingInst and on IPI’s Facebook page.

This is a perfect time for all of us to be alert to children (and pets, too) left unattended in parked cars, and to share the message with others that in these cases every minute counts.

Food Truck Webinar Today

Henry Wallmeyer

My first experience with a food truck, or “roach coach” as it was affectionately known, was as a high schooler working a summer job at DSC05203 a junkyard in Richmond, Va. At precisely 10:30 every morning, the break whistle would sound and we’d head to the food truck waiting at the entrance with the latest in in prepackaged sandwiches, chips, and snacks. It was by no means a culinary treat, but it was a welcome break in the day. Fast forward 25 years and food trucks have progressed from that pickup with insulated diamond-pattern doors covering a refrigerator case to the most interesting-looking fully-functional kitchens on wheels, serving the most diverse food available.

Food trucks are even showing up now the big and small screens. The Great Food Truck Race is a reality television series on the Food Network featuring competing food trucks. The competitors are teams of talented cooks who have dreamed up unique food concepts and want to turn their dreams into a reality, which is to operate a food truck business. (Season four begins August 18.)

On the ABC TV show Happy Endings (which, sadly, was cancelled, but that is for another blog) after Dave Rose was left at the altar by his fiancée, he followed his dreams of quitting his office job and became self-employed with his own food truck business: Steak Me Home Tonight.

Want proof food trucks have really arrived? They have their own association. The DC Food Trucks Association (DCFTA) is a group of nearly 50 Washington, D.C., food truck owner-operators who seek to sustain the wellbeing of our industry, foster a sense of community, and work in partnership with the District of Columbia to improve food truck regulations.

Food trucks have come a long way, but have they come too far too fast? The prevalence of food trucks is forcing parking departments to find unique ways to balance the needs of restaurants, citizens, and entrepreneurs in what many have deemed the downtown food truck wars. For many, it’s a big challenge.

You read about how different cities are facing the food truck challenge in The Parking Professional’s May cover story. Today, IPI is hosting a webinar to further explore the Food Truck Wars. Brandy Stanley, MBA, parking services manager, City of Las Vegas; Gary Means, CAPP, executive director, Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority; and Mike Estey, parking operations & traffic manager, City of Seattle, will show you what these cities are doing to tackle the challenges that food trucks pose. Register here to see and take away examples of ordinances, pilot programs, and next steps in this battle.

Food trucks don’t just mean Lance crackers and automat-style tuna sandwiches anymore. But what does mobile gourmet mean for your parking operation? I hope you’ll join us today for a great conversation on just that.

Continuing the Success

Bridgette Brady

Phew! I’m still reeling from the incredible experience of the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. From the general sessions to the Expo hall, my staff and I brought back so much to our operations.

State and regional associations were also well represented in Fort Lauderdale and several indicated they would bring the successes of the conference home with them to their annual conferences. If you were unable to make it to Fort Lauderdale, try to attend one of these–several are listed on IPI’s Calendar of Events and in the calendar in every issue of The Parking Professional. Here are a few that are coming up:

  • Members of the Pacific Intermountain Parking and Transportation Association (PIPTA) have already talked about bringing some of the success back to their conference, July 14-16 in Eugene, Ore. The list was so long that some of the programs will need to be deferred until next year.
  • The Carolinas Parking Association conference, September 25-27 in Sunset Beach, N.C., will focus on connectivity involving intermodal travel with parking as the connector.
  • The Pennsylvania Parking Association heads back to the City of Brotherly Love October 2-4. The educational sessions that highlight case studies, bring how-to knowledge, and increase the professional level of attendees are particularly valued.
  • New to the calendar, the Wisconsin Parking Association set the dates for their conference, November 3-4 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. There will be a strong focus on bringing information about emergent technology to their attendees.
  • The California Public Parking Association is hosting their 30th anniversary conference November 6-8 in Monterey, Calif. Congratulations to all of the volunteers that have made 30 years of regional industry representation happen!

Mark your calendar for the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo, June 1-4 in Dallas, but check out your nearest state or regional association event, too. You won’t regret it!


Action Item: Parking Trend-spotting Survey Time

Helen Sullivan

“Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going.” shutterstock_113788327
John Naisbitt
, futurist, author of Megatrends

Understanding trends can make you smart, make you money, and make you successful.

I urge you to take five minutes to participate in IPI’s third annual Emerging Trends in Parking Survey. There are only 10 questions, plus a few at the end for demographics. I think you’re going to enjoy the new questions we’ve added this year, which help identify cities that are progressive when it comes to parking.

In addition to capturing overarching trends that are affecting the parking industry, there are questions related to trends specific to parking and sustainability. There’s also a provocative new question this year about the bad parking and driving habits parking professionals find most frustrating.

This is a nationally projectable, quantitative study developed and analyzed by marketing researchers that helps us benchmark and monitor parking industry trends. It also creates an opportunity for IPI to generate positive publicity that helps bring greater awareness for the important role parking has in terms of urban mobility, life on this planet, etc.

Your thoughtful answers to open-ended questions on the survey, such as “What’s the next big thing in parking?,” have been the seeds for IPI programming ideas, articles in The Parking Professional, and educational sessions at the IPI Conference & Expo. We listen!

We also use the results to guide the Parking Matters® program. One question asks you to weigh in on what group is most important for us to reach with our messages about the value of parking expertise. The collective wisdom shared in previous surveys to this question alone have been instrumental in targeting our efforts for maximum efficiency.

Ten questions – less than 10 minutes. Please weigh in. Your opinion counts. We’ll be releasing results in conjunction with the upcoming IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22.

Please take the survey now, or by the Wed April 17 cut-off date. The survey is open to all parking professionals, but  IPI members in particular have a track record for incredible response rates to this type of survey, and that is appreciated beyond measure.

Parking Matters® in Korea and Beyond

Rachael Yoka

People in the U.S. used to be worried when Mike Wallace of CBS’ 60 Minutes called for an in-depth interview. It often meant trouble. But, nothing could have been further from the truth when the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) recently knocked at our door with an invitation to feature Tim Haahs on a television news program in Korea. The documentary that resulted is one we are very excited about because beyond Tim’s accomplishments, the segment  explores the complexity and relevance of parking and transportation to the design of cities, both here and abroad.

In producing the documentary, KBS visited IPI headquarters and interviewed IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, on the role and evolution of parking. Since the airing of the show, we have received numerous inquiries about it and our transportation system. People, businesses, and governments are intrigued and challenged by parking and transportation issues and their effects on sustainability and economic development.

The world is watching, and listening, for what’s next in our industry. IPI and its members are responding to those by expanding our reach into international markets and forums in Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. We can’t wait to see what those partnerships and discussions will bring! For now, enjoy the video and let us know what you think in the comments.



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)

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

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)

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