I live in Pennsylvania, where 64 percent of the state lies above shale. As a resident of West Chester, Pa., the home of QVC and, unfortunately, the MTV hit movie and show Jackass, I never expected to intimately learn about natural gas fracking by a knock on the door.
You see, my community is being rocked by fracking. So I tried to figure out how I can tie together fracking and parking, as the first topic is consuming me—my six-year-old son’s school is in a blast zone of a planned unmanned pumping station. I started to think: What would happen if a parking facility or garage was in a blast zone for an unmanned pumping station or worse? What would a parking lot owner or garage operator do if they were asked to sign an easement on their property for a fracking pipeline? Is the parking industry prepared for the shale boom and all the consequences of it?
Once an easement is signed, some mortgage companies won’t hold your mortgage anymore and you have to pay cash for your property or find a mortgage company that will allow pipeline easements. What happens if you want to sell that property? Who would buy real estate with an easement attached to it? Landscaping, trees, fences—none can be within 50 feet of either side of the pipeline (at least, that is the case for the homes in my township).
IPI’s online courses teach about safety and security—how tall bushes and hedges need to be for the safety of the patron, etc. The Introduction to Parking course also has a section on landscape design. Landscaping adds to the emotionality of feeling safe and secure as well as the overall aesthetics of a garage or lot. Let’s not forget what we as a core group of professionals do for the greening initiatives within the parking industry. So how would a parking professional handle being told they had to remove all landscaping within those 50 feet? How would patrons feel about that? What would the consequences be?
This fracking situation that I find myself, my family, and my beloved township involved in is slightly similar to having an ugly parking garage with no relationship to its neighbors. However, in my case it is an unmanned, loud, fire-and-gas spewing 40-foot stack in a residential neighborhood, near a school, that will have no relationship with its neighbors.
Are you ready for “that” knock on your facilities door? How would you answer it? Like I said before, “What the frack?”