Magazine

point of view

The Burning Man, Mr. Wallis and the 'Duke'

John Van Horn

Times are a bit grim what with the war and the economy and, well, pick a problem. I thought a bit of fluff might be just the ticket (parking ticket,
of course).
First, the picture below looks like a sandy beach that filled a parking space. It's not. It's a space laid out at the "Burning Man," an event held annually around Labor Day where seemingly rational people go for a week to "lose it" in the desert north of Reno.
The "event" draws about 30,000 people a year and is billed as an experiment in community living. You bring everything you need and small communities are set up and people live together in a communal setting. I guess it is sort of an upscale Woodstock, with the attendees driving Range Rovers rather than microbuses.
I received this picture from a person in the industry who prefers to remain unidentified. Seems that once the group passed 10,000, traffic and parking became a problem and new rules were instituted concerning using your cars (you can't once you arrive). I'm not certain whether or not this space was provided by my correspondent, but it certainly was a way to generate a bit of revenue.
By the way, entry to the event costs upwards of $200 a person and goes up the closer to the actual burning itself. Somebody is doing well. If you look very close you can see the "man" in the background -- he sits on the top of the white tower. Interested -- go to www.burningman.com, but I didn't tell you about it.

Now on to more serious matters. The sign below is a representation of a photo taken from the Daily Mail in London. . The sign sits on the side of a parking gate ("barrier" in English). I guess Mole Hole just doesn't have the funding to replace the shaky gate, and from my slight knowledge of English barriers, this is an old one and very hard to repair.
This issue of PT is about airports. And frankly airports are having their problems with increased security and lower passenger loads. One that is doing, well, however, is John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA. I interviewed Scott Hagen, landside manager for the place, and found him, as with most parking folks, engaging and open. (I guess you can call him a parking folk, since he oversees parking, as well as security, concessions, badging, and just about everything that doesn't fly.)
He told me that when he goes to airport executive meetings, people "know" about John Wayne Airport. It is known as an airport for the well to do. It sits in one of the most expensive pieces of real estate on earth and over half of its customers have an average income of over $100K a year.
An interesting fact: While other airports were down after 9/11, John Wayne's passenger count bounced back and 2002 was ahead of 2000. Wow. I guess the reason people make $100K is that they keep right on working through the tough times. Is it breeding, or just the fact that they have to make house payments on $1 million homes?
'Nuff for now -- see you next month.


Late Breaking News!!!
Dispatch from Philadelphia...

The Parking Industry Exhibition was off to a fast start with top rated speakers and a record sized exhibition hall. More than 450 attendees visited 90 plus booths at the fifth annual event held at press time. Pictures and complete details will be found in the May issue of Parking Today.

Article Abstract from April, 2003




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