Parking Research and the University
Casey Jones over at the Parking Matters Blog brings up a good point. The Feds are investing a few million in transportation research. It is assumed that parking will be a part of that research. A number of major universities are being invited to participate. So far so good. It is Casey’s hope that parking pros at these universities will be asked for input. Certainly a laudable thought. My comment — Don’t hold your breath.
By definition, university research is insular. The egos involved with the PhD’s who run the research are huge. NIH (Not invented here) is present in spades.
When UC Berkeley ran a program a few years ago to study parking trends associated with the BART (San Francisco Light Rail) local parking folks were left at the starting gate. And of course, the study, which any parking person could have given the result in a nano second, was completed with the results exactly what parking predicted. The study was funded, we need to do the study. Logic be dammed.
The IPI has been calling for cities and universities to involve parking when decisions affecting them are made. This is beginning to happen, as the organizations have discovered to their peril that ignoring parking input can be disastrous. Of course, that is in the real world. Research can be different.
Government funded programs often take on a life of their own. The mission is lost in the activity that is the body of the research. I notice that the Mineta Transportation Institute is tasked with ” “transportation research, workforce development, technology transfer and education.” I don’t see parking listed at all.
“Transportation” is sexy. It infers light rail, airplanes (San Jose Airport was named after Secretary Mineta), automobile technology, and the like. Parking is not. Parking can be mundane, dirty, and shutter, profit oriented.
I agree that parking should ‘demand’ a place at the table. But I think that it might be more successful if some of our more learned parking pros like Barbara Chance, PhD, and Bob Harkins, Ed.D, involved in the process. The work they have done to acquire their doctorates can be an entry into the halls of academia, plus they are really smart folks.