Palestinians, Pakistanis, and PIEThis has been a busy month for the Parking Today crowd. We published the September magazine during the Intertraffic/PIE show - in fact, we held up the mag for a few days so we could have some pictures of the event. (See my comments below.)
After that, I took a week off and cruised the North Atlantic with 3,000 of my dearest friends on the Carnival Triumph. It was a new experience for me, and if nothing else, it does force you to rest. Now it's time to get back to work, with traveling to the NPA next week, and then the MAPA and Florida conferences the following week. Southwest Airlines and I are becoming quite good friends.
As for parking, the world goes on. You'll love this one. Here is a headline I found in the parking news feed we have on our Web site: "Palestinians Shoot It Out Over a Parking Space." It took only a couple of weeks after the Israelis bailed on the Gaza Strip. A member of a Palestinian commando unit was told he couldn't park his car in a certain spot by a member of the national security forces. He returned later with more of his gang and proceeded to shoot up the area. No one appeared to have been injured.
I guess the Palestinians are coming of age quicker than we thought they would. I have always held that if people have responsibility for governing themselves and have to spend their time worrying about sewage, schools, roads, hospitals and, yes, parking, they will find that trying to take over the country next door is pretty far down on the list. However, if they have a dictator who takes care of all that, and feeds them full of crapola about what's going on in the world, they have time to hate their neighbors and blame them for all their problems.
Pretty simplistic, but maybe parking is a metaphor for just how the world works.
I am being proven right almost by the second. In the very next article I read on our Yahoo news line, I found a gem about the problems of parking in Islamabad. How can a terrorist go about his grisly business if he can't find a place to park? The city government is under pressure to solve the parking issues, as people are parking in the green belts and ruining the beauty of the Pakistani capital. Now that's what we want these folks to be worried about. Parking may just yet save the day, and maybe the world.
A few words about the Intertraffic/PIE show. I wrote the article last month just after the opening of the show. We had a great turnout for Day One and expected a high concentration of walk-ins from the traffic side on days two and three. So, I used some journalistic license to predict the total attendance for the show. I was off by a few hundred.
Here are the numbers: attendees, 1,300; exhibitor personnel, 1,000. I was frankly expecting more, but I guess we shouldn't be displeased. More than 1,000 of those attendees were parking-only folks, and if you compare that with other events, we certainly held up our end of the deal.
It was a big show, and 1,300 people can get lost in a place that size. The pros in the exhibition business say that for a show to "look" crowded, there should be one person in attendance for every 10 square meters of floor space. We had 35,000 square meters, so that means we needed 3,500 folks to feel crowded. Check us out next year.
The show had a great "look." It was truly a professionally run event. Large booths, lots of equipment and services on display, and a good number of professionals there to fill you in on what they had to solve your parking problems. Almost 100 parking exhibiting companies were on the floor.
The traffic side was focused on safety and construction. I'm sure many of the parking attendees were mesmerized with the strange barriers and reflecting devices on display. I know I was. The traffic and transportation portion of the event was not as well attended, by far, as the parking side. I'm sure that a lot of soul-searching will go into finding out why. Fortunately, that's not our issue.
There were some things we will change in the future. The food, or lack thereof, was a problem, as was the timing of some of the professional sessions. There were many layers of administration between those of us on the floor trying to solve a problem and the folks who could actually do it. We have solved all this for PIE 2006.
The next Parking Industry Exhibition will go back to our familiar venue in Chicago. We have a lot of fresh ideas for not only the exhibition hall layout, but also the seminar program. Can you say, "Interactive, online and nationwide?"
I can't -- or won't -- say more right now, but tie your laces tight, because PIE 2006 will knock your socks off. Mark my words.
This month, PT celebrates consultants. The consulting companies you find herein represent the finest in parking knowledge base. Whether it's building, staffing or running a parking facility, these companies can provide you with assistance and expertise. It's worth the effort to read about their work and staff.
See you in December.