I was honored that Chairman Chuck Cullen of the Parking Consultant’s Council invited me to attend their closing dinner last Friday in San Diego. It was a beautiful event with cocktails outside in a garden setting at the Hyatt Mission Bay, with an excellent dinner to follow.
I had the opportunity to chat with consultants from across the country, a number of whom will be speaking in a couple of weeks at PIE. I also discovered that consultants are no different from other professionals. Get a little adult beverage into them and let the fun begin.
I listened to a group compare notes on a project in California. Seems a lighting expert was called in to recommend how to reduce the power usage. He measured the lighting and found that its ‘brightness’ was double the recommended amount. So he told the owner to simply remove half of the bulbs. One wag sitting nearby was heard to ask: “So how much did you charge them for that?” I missed the answer.
Automated parking was a topic on a number of lips. Don Monahan from Walker Parking Consultants told me that there are 22 systems installed or under construction in the US and that one vendor alone has seven more past the contracting phase, ready to start. He predicts that the number in or going in by the end of the year will approach 100.
Rick Choate noted that business, at least in Southern California was booming. He said that a large number of commercial. medical and private aerospace projects were moving rapidly off the drawing board and into the construction phase. The issue, he told me, was trying to slow the projects down so that mistakes weren’t made. Developers, once they started to move, wanted the projects completed in record time. Sometimes, he said, pushing too hard can lead to costly errors down the road.
NPA President Christine Banning was on hand and introduced IPS COO Chad Randall whose company sponsored the dinner. Chad then introduced LA Department of Transportation Parking head Amir Sedadi who spoke briefly about the new “ExpressPark” program in Los Angeles. He then turned the evening over to Dan Mitchell, a senior transportation engineer with the city who described the new program in detail and answered questions from the assembled consultants.
I was not surprised that the consultants asked hard questions but Dan and Amir had the answers.