Brandy Stanley, head of parking for the city of Las Vegas, has taken her lumps in the press since her arrival in sin city a couple of years back. She is the first person in her position and when you put a face on parking, you had better have a thick skin. Particularly when your goal is to completely renovate the parking system in the city.
Most recently she has gotten the city fathers to approve the replacement of single space on street meters with Pay by Space meters. This was a feat in itself. However she is now getting good press, too. You can read the article here. There are some “inside baseball” references that you won’t get if you don’t live in Las Vegas, but on the whole, this is positive stuff. And good PR for Parkeon, Parkme, and the parking industry, too.
It looks like the PR folks at the city worked with Brandy to get the facts out, and an obliging columnist did the rest. We need more of this on the local level. This is what changes perceptions. The people in Las Vegas know this guy and most likely respect what he says. In the end, when the new meters come on line, the citizenry will have a positive taste in the mouths when they begin to use them. This is a good thing.
I’m trying to write a piece about the future, and have erased it three times. They were filled with cliche’s, references to “1984″ and the fact that my father was 20 before he saw his first airplane and lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.
Things change, and the time it takes them to change is becoming more compressed every day. Technology begets technology at an ever increasing rate. When I bought my first lap top less than 20 years ago, my concern was 32k or 64k. Now I hold a memory chip in my hand the size of a postage stamp and it has 32 gigabytes in it. And that’s the small one.
We take all this for granted but do we need to consider what will most likely be happening in 30 or 40 years. Why should we care? Most of us won’t be around then anyway.
But the projects we start today will be. Parking garages have a life of 50 years. They funding (read that mortgage) is usually 30 years or more. Public Private Partnerships are running 50, 75, or 99 years. Should we not concern ourselves that we are making decisions that have a life maybe longer than the market or demographic will support them.
When things moved slowly, we probably didn’t care a lot. However when things change at light speed, perhaps sitting back and taking a long view is the right way to go.
We have two articles in PT’s upcoming July Issue, one by Mary Smith and one by David Feehan that speak to this topic. They have similar themes, Mary is a tad academic and David philosophical, but the result is the same. The face of our industry may be entirely different in a generation. Or less.
Read their stuff. Consider what it means when you sign that next long term contract or build a new facility that has a life time of just 50 years.
I like to sit on my back deck in the evening and watch the hummingbirds and listen to those noisy parrots screech overhead while the city noise is a few blocks away. However my grand children seem to want to move back into the city, live cheek by jowl, and walk everywhere.
If they do, and cars become sort of automatic critters that pick us up and drop us off at will, how does that affect parking?
The buggy whip makers that learned how to repair flat tires and fill cars with gas survived and flourished, the ones who fought the tide, did not.
Think about it.
Christian Schneider is an opinion writer in the Milwaukee, WI and my new best friend. I’ve never met him, but based on this one article, we could certain get along on at least one topic. He is good, and I have excerpted some of his graphs here, but please go read his entire piece.
Christian is railing about a new store in his neighborhood that has elected to reserve a number of close in convenient parking spots for “LEVs.” That’s “Light emission vehicle” for you knuckle dragging dimwits who drive Belchfire V-16s and have polar bear rugs in your living rooms.
He starts slowly:
But exactly what hardship are we ameliorating by giving prime parking to Toyota Priuses? Are hybrid drivers oppressed by having to buy half as much gas as the rest of us? They already carry around the self-satisfaction of saving the environment (just ask them, they’ll tell you) — being given front-row parking is just an extra ego boost. (It’s particularly ironic that these people use energy-efficient vehicles to shop at a store that uses as much gas and electricity as Luxembourg.)
He then asks a logical question:
Further, when we talk about “low-emission vehicles,” you have to ask: low-emission compared to what? Any car manufactured in the past decade is infinitely more fuel-efficient and burns cleaner than the environmental widowmakers of the 1950s. I’m pretty sure that in the 1970s, in his car that got roughly a half-mile per gallon, my dad had to stop for gas on the way to get gas.
Of course there’s this:
And there still appears to be a question about whether the city can even impose fines for parking in a spot reserved for a green car. According to the Madison police, a business has to call and complain before a $30 private parking citation can be issued — as opposed to handicapped spots, which police can issue “on sight” because such spots are mandated by city ordinance. Madison’s parking enforcement supervisor, Stefanie Nielsen, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the city has never gotten a single complaint for unauthorized parking in a spot designated for an LEV.
And he does a big finale with :
I can think of a dozen classifications of people I would give preferred parking to over electric car owners: veterans, single moms, people who don’t pay for groceries with checks, those who refuse to wear sandals with socks, etc. But further segregating the parking lot based upon which among us are worthy is an exercise in parking eugenics — the unwashed are forced to trudge long distances to buy their microwave mac and cheese. Soon, it will be like “Game of Thrones,” with each group going to war to claim their territories within the asphalt expanse of the parking lot.
Am I living in some alternate universe? Aren’t we seeing every day that 1. “Climate Change” and “Global Warming” are being disproved by peer reviewed articles, 2. There are more polar bears terrorizing the Inuit in Northern Canada that in the last what, 100 years, or 3. With one exception, electric car makers are going out of business faster than a heater store in Miami.
Don’t get me wrong — We need to be good stewards of our planet, but the best way might bet to take the folks from India and China for a walk on the beach. It seems they are destroying the planet and if the US simply ceased to exist tomorrow, it would make no difference. Its a matter of scale.
People are buying Priuses faster than Toyota can make them. Why? the cars make sense. You can drive them on gas, or charge them up at home. Your choice. There is no range anxiety, and they aren’t too expensive. Why do we need to attempt to bribe people into buying them by giving them special parking spaces? Makes no sense, and after reading Christian’s piece, it could cause the next major urban conflict.
Thanks to Kevin Woodard over at Reinventing Parking, we now are linked to Seth Goodman at “Graphing Parking.”
The young architect has begun a five part project of graphing the major metropolitan areas in the US with reference to the parking requirements thrust upon commercial activity by local ordinances. In his ‘about’ section he does pay homage to Don Shoup and his book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.”
Goodwin takes a graphical approach to show how inconsistent different municipalities are when it comes to placing parking requirements on business. For instance, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Seattle all require 100 spaces for a 100,000 square foot building while Albuquerque, Austin, and San Jose require upwards of 400 spaces for the same building. Indianapolis goes schitzo requiring 0 spaces in some areas, 120 in others, and 350 in others, all within the same city.
Goodwin has three posts so far, dealing with apartments, restaurants and office buildings, and two more to come. Its quite a feat of research and deserves a look.
In the end, he confirms what Shoup wrote half a decade a go. Parking requirements are useless, ridiculous, and in fact harm the very down towns they are there to protect. Goodwin mimics Shoup in saying
Minimum parking requirements can lead to a massive oversupply of parking. This wastefulness hurts companies bottom lines and the economy at large. Cities often make exceptions or reductions in special zones, but why should offices have to be located downtown to choose to build less parking. People can carpool anywhere, and while transit and pedestrian infrastructure may be less developed in some places, it would be expanded if more people demanded it.
Yes, it would be better if individual builders, developers, and business owners could make the decisions as to how much parking was needed for their commercial activity.
But then, city bureaucrats would have to give up control.
The good Lord only knows, however in LA we are reminded of the time of year by the bright purple blossoms on the ubiquitous Jacaranda. The trees are everywhere in our fair city. Why just across the street from my house:
The trees can be messy — and you should brush the blooms off your car or they might stain, but the trouble is worth it. When you are in the hills and the air is clear (more often than you might think) you can see them across the basin, like a purple haze, adding beauty everywhere, even on the way to work:
My city is beautiful, sometimes.
Here is a picture of Mary Smith of Walker Parking and John Hammerschlag, of Chicago.
This shot was taken before Mary held forth on her theory that in 20 years we would be tearing down parking garages and replacing them with bucolic fields of green.
The conversation was at the Women in Parking Reception and we had all had a few adult beverages (except John) but I will try to report what she said. Mary did promise to do an article for me soon. John’s smile wasn’t quite so broad when he heard her story.
The deal is this. It has to do with driverless cars and the so called ‘zip car’ concept. When you want to go somewhere you will hit a code on your phone and in a few minutes a car will appear in front of you. You will get in and be driven, by computer, to your destination. When you get out, the car will move on to pick up someone else who needs a ride and so on and so on. It will never park, never need a parking space, and our industry will be destroyed.
Mary says it costs 65 cents a mile to drive your own car, this will cost 15 cents a mile. It makes perfect economic sense. It also makes sense when you consider you don’t have to deal with a car, parking, maintenance, or the like, but you STILL have the freedom that individual self drive cars give you. The technology exists today and at the rate things happen, two decades might be the outside limit. What’s not to like.
Mary says the initial studies have been done, the numbers are in. This concept is a go.
There are a number of companies working on this technology, the most prominent is Google which has got test models running on the streets of the US now. Manufacturers are touting the technology — you can see it in the latest Audi commercial (Old Spock vs New Spock Watch it here — see it completely to the end)
When you consider the economic ramifications, its mind boggling. For instance, how can one accurately compute a PPP, if such technology is looming on the horizon. And that’s only the beginning.
I like it — instead of two or three cars cluttering up your driveway, you invest in one”fun” car and drive it yourself when you want to have fun. Mary says that this concept will reduce traffic on the freeways so driving will actually be fun again.
John, who owns a number of garages in Chicago and other cities, is now wondering if he should sell now or later… and invest in Google.
And congratulations to the folks in OZ. I know some of tmangers at this beautiful western Australia city and I’m certain they deserve the award. All the best to them
I wonder, however, what happened to our cities here at home. Granted the IPI is trying to make the “International” in their name really mean something, with their event in Latin America and their recent push to bring all the worldwide parking associations under the IPI umbrella. But with all the CAPP graduates running cities throughout the US, aren’t their any potential winners here in the US?
With over 3000 medium to large size cities spread across the fruited plain, one would have thought that somewhere excellence in parking organization must be lurking about. I understand Houston is doing great things, as are Denver, Portland, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Albany, State College, Las Vegas, and dozens more that have taken their parking organizations from almost nonexistence, and built well run, going parking concerns. And yes, even some of them a green.
That doesn’t even take into account the hundreds of universities, hospitals, and airports that have professional slam dunk parking programs, many of which are actually larger than most municipal operations.
This is the problem with these types of awards. How does one pick the “best” with so many from which to choose. Now that the search is world wide, wow — the effort is even greater.
Maybe I’m just”‘parkinged out” after the IPI Show. Congratulations to Perth. Wear your honor with pride.
Its all over but the shouting and the IPI has put on an outstanding exhibition. There is no questions that it was big, well attended, and the exhibitors were very happy. Kudos all around.
It was crowded on day one, a tad less so on day two, and as expected, pretty empty on day three. I did my thing and visited most every booth, looking for something to “knock my socks off.” I asked people who I thought would know what they saw that was really new and innovative. Most mentioned this:
No, not the ticket dispenser, but the artwork on it. Its a ‘wrap.” That is a film that is put on the outside of the machine (could be any machine, POF, gate, TD, etc) and it can be printed with any art you like. The innovator? 3M. Seems its the same stuff they put on buses to advertise the latest movie, or the sleaziest lawyer. They told me that it needed a bit of work so it could be easily changed, but think of the advertising opportunities. Or, if as above, you are a university, you could put the upcoming schedule, the menu in the local cafeteria, or the ‘hot’ courses coming in the fall. I liked it.
Amano is coming out with a new line of parking equipment, called “Opus” and it has some snazzy features, — A QR like bar code is printed on the ticket at each step in the transaction. It carries the information about the ticket, validations, and the like.
Here Nancy Evens uses one of the new Opus Pay on Foots. It will be available Q1 2014.
There were a number of companies touting ALPR — and they all said they could get well above 90% valid reads. I guess that’s OK, but if you are using the licenseplate to replace a ticket or entry credential (for a monthly) maybe not so much. Its impressive when TIBA actually prints the license number on the ticket as you enter. But they still have the credential. Its gotta be 100% to work without a ticket or entry code, and I believe the industry will get there. Someday.
There were a number of absolutely new companies present. The one with the biggest booth, but with the least marketing information, was IPParking. They are from Holland, seem to have their roots in WPS, and have equipment that looks like this:
They claim to be the only company in the room that is 100% cloud based, with every transaction being handled by an off site computer. I’m sure a number of companies would argue that point. They have sold no equipment here, but have a couple of hundred systems running in Europe. I can only wish them all the best.
A parking sage and former president of the IPI told me that most of the things he saw were pretty much what he dealt with 20 years ago, just a bit more technologically advanced. Everyone is talking “cloud” but in the end, we are still processing transactions. Pretty much.
It is true that the technology is more reliable today that it was even 10 years ago. The boxes are sexier (one manufacturer told me that “well, we took all our circuit boards and stuff and put them in a neater box, but its pretty much the same.”) The software is more fancy – it seems that manufacturers may be listening to their customers. There are some neat maps that show…well they show… well they… you can find parking spaces and see where your enforcement staff are working.
Mine is better than yours. Ours has a widget theirs don’t have.
ParkMe has the right idea. Now if they would give one of these away with every order, we would have something:
Tony Stark AKA Iron Man drove an Audi R8 like this one in the latest IM flick. I had to stand back to keep my drool from spoiling the wax job. Its one fancy car.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of things on display, and many newcomers were ‘wowed.” Some companies had new deals working but you had to swear you wouldn’t tell anyone, yet. I am also certain that some of the features we saw were attractive to some potential buyers. They fixed problems, added sizzle, and perhaps made the parking experience a tad better. That’s was trade shows are all about.
There were the required parties, usually three or four on the same night. I tried to keep up and one night made it to three, using a boat, taxi, and car. Thanks to all the vendors who spent treasure to provide booze, fun, and food. It was great.
There were seminars and sessions, I understand one was a debate and at another, we were told we were basically out of business. See my comment on that one below.
Advocates for the disabled in San Francisco are calling for an end to free meter parking for placard holders. It’s logical, but sad. People who are actually handicapped can’t get anywhere near a meter because they’re all taken up by the people pretending to be disabled. Read the article here.
“Current disabled parking placard and blue zone policies are failing to increase access for people with disabilities, and reduce parking availability for all drivers.”
The only way to end the cycle is to take away the incentive. If only there were another way. If only there weren’t so many legitimately selfish and unprincipled people out there.
The IPI has done itself proud — the exhibition is good, big, and complete. There are a few hiccups with shuttles, and the like, but stuff happens. It shouldn’t take away from the fact that the IPI has done a good job. They are to be commended.
Now — about the exhibition itself. There is little ‘new’ here. Nothing to really knock your socks off. There are a number of companies that you haven’t seen before, and my guess is that half of them will not be there next year. That’s how it works.
Most of the really REALLY “new’ stuff is technology that has not been proven in the real mean streets of a parking garage or city street. It works great in the lab, or in the ‘test’ but lets see it under battlefield conditions.
I am spending today searching out the really new.
Hub is new, in name, but it is promoting its time tested products, Zeag and Datapark. Amano has “opus” and I’m going to check it out today and see what its all about. 3M is new to the IPI, and has a fancy booth, we shall see about what’s ‘new.’
And there are a lot of snazzy marketing pushes, with great booths, elephants and dancing girls. But as one CEO told me in Europe — “We are seen to be selling commodities.” Is that the case, or is it a perception.
Someone told me that a certain company had the greatest software. Another told me that a different company had the best software. HUH? Can both be right?
Something is certainly ‘new’ — Streetsmart is now FYBR pronounced ‘fiber,” and is announcing a ‘new’ technology with in street sensors. They will be installing the first one soon.
There are lots of pay by phone, sustainability is fading into the background. Its there, but not with the vigor of past years. So far the folks who have really profited from this show are the booth designers. Everyone has done a great job in that department. I’ll take more pictures and put them up on Thursday when I get back. My technology is limited here.
There is a new technology I am to see today, but only after I take a “blood oath” not to tell anyone about it. Sigh. Sure I’ll do it and keep quiet, but…
Six more hours of exhibits, spread over today and tomorrow, the traffic will slow today and even more tomorrow, its the nature of these events. Parties in the evenings, cruises on the inland waterway to check out all the billionaire’s second, third, and fourth homes. The Bimini Boat Club is getting a lot of play with two parties on successive nights.
And the Parking Life goes on…
I’ll see what I can scare up today
PS Park Me impressed — but I love Audi’s R8 and they have one in their booth. Better than a dancing girl.