The World Parking Symposium, Canada’s semi annual fete to the scholarly side of parking, got under way yesterday at Herod’s Hotel on Tel Aviv’s beautiful 14 km long beach. We were welcomed by the assistant mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo and received a virtual tour of this vibrant and beautiful city of nearly half a million people. The metro area hjolds over 1.5 million.
The event got underway this morning with a presentation on sustainability and a piece on the monetary value of our profession. We then had some PR from the IPI, and a bit on the future of information communication technology.
The afternoon papers were on residential parking schemes in Stuttgart, Solving a parking capacity problem using (dare I say it) common sense, a rather complex presentation on vehicle to vehicle communication, and a bit on smart parking revolution (read that pay by cell.)
The big surprise of the day was the panel on parking tax. I found out five minutes before the panel that I was on it. Boy did they get their money’s worth. Lorne Persiko from the city of Toronto took the side for the tax and yours truly against, at least to the point that the discussion was mute anyway because politicians are going to tax us not matter what we say. Australia’s George Brown moderated and kept blows to a minimum.
I ducked out at noon and ran up to Jerusalem and had lunch with architect Maurice Segal and his lovely wife Bonnie. We met at the famous Jerusalem Theater and then dined at the original train station that was the terminus of the line from Cairo, built in the 1890s. The capitol city is about 45 minutes inland from Tel Aviv but has a feeling centuries older. It’s also 2500 feet above sea level and a whole heck of a lot less humid.
Tonight its dinner with my buddy Amit Kadem, CEO of Tel Aviv’s Central Park. He is helping me celebrate my birthday (its one of those innocuous in etween ones of which you don’t care to know the number) at a restaurant designed by his architect brother.
Tomorrow the group, small, around 40 in attendance including 20 speakers, is going to learn everything I know about Public Private Partnerships. I have stolen all the info from Stephanie Farmer of Roosevelt University in Chicago about the Chicago fiasco, and about the successes at Ohio State from Sarah Blouch and Indianapolis from Xerox’s Matthew Darst so I have at least a bit of credibility.
Tel Aviv is a wonderful city. Vibrant and full of life. The majority of people here are under 40 and they are loving it. I dined last night with Meta Rothenberg, Marketing VP for HTS at a wonderful restaurant on Tel Aviv’s ‘new’ harbor. The old one, Jaffa, is the oldest working harbor anywhere, going back thousands of years. They say that Jaffa was where Jonah set off on his ill fated bout with that whale.
I will just about close the symposium tomorrow, then head out to Ben Gurion Airport and the flight back to LA. Only two full days here in Israel. Next time more. This place is just super.