Free Parking for Veterans

In New Jersey, according to NJ.com, state leaders are considering bills that would offer free meter parking for disabled veterans and Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients.

“…these warriors would be exempted from paying fees at municipal parking meters if their cars display the state-issued license plates denoting their classification.

Although largely symbolic, the gesture is an elegant and altogether fitting way for the Garden State to say “Thank you” to its sons and daughters, many of whom interrupted their own lives to put their country first.”

The benefits would be provided only to those whose vehicles have to correct plates. It is reported that the state has issued about 100 such plates in the last four years, so the loss of income for municipalities would be minimal.

If anyone deserves free parking, it’s disabled and distinguished veterans, but this news item brings to mind a similar benefit offered to the handicapped that causes no end of parking enforcement issues. It’s one thing to pretend to be handicapped or make use of a fake handicapped parking placard, but to impersonate a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient is a crime of a different magnitude. You know there will be people who will try it and others who will abuse the privilege offered to qualified friends or family members.

This is a terrific idea, as long is it is set up in a way that prevents fraud and guarantees enforcement.

Read the entire article here.

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Selfish Parkers Fined in England

In the West Midlands area of England, a parking authorities serving railway and metro stations are cracking down on “selfish” parkers. It’s a surprising, yet refreshing, approach to parking enforcement, and I like it. According to expressandstar.com, rude individuals are having a negative effect on more thoughtful motorists, and they will be punished for it. Fines of 100 pounds will be imposed on those who park “poorly,” whether they cross the lines of parking stalls, creep onto sidewalks or double park.

Councillor Roger Horton, Centro lead member for rail and Metro said: “Incorrectly parked vehicles have seen other motorists blocked in for hours at a time, while pedestrians are put at risk because of cars parked on pavements.

“Then there are emergency service vehicles that may need to access the station being obstructed by badly parked cars. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“Park and Ride has been a real success story in the West Midlands. We want that to continue and a selfish or thoughtless minority cannot be allowed to undermine it.”

You never hear of people being fined for selfishness, though many could use a thump on the head for their narcissistic tendencies. You could just as easily say the fines would be issued for breaking parking lot rules or local parking laws, but sometimes it’s nice to hear a spade called a spade.

Read the rest of the article here.

Social Share Toolbar
1 Comment

Hankins, Given Win PIE Registrations at MAPA Event

The Middle Atlantic Parking Association held its annual conference yesterday in Baltimore. The Parking Industry Exhibition was fortunate enough to be able to sponsor part of the event and award two free registrations to the event to be held at the end of March in Chicago

The winners of the registrations were Chris Hankins, CPP, Vice President, Colonial Parking and Ron Given, Director of Financial Services, Brekford. They join Charles Kindred, Parking Manager of the City of Pasadena, CA, who won a full registration at the Parking Mixer held two weeks ago in Los Angeles.

MAPA held its event at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the historic Westminster Hall, a beautiful former house of worship surrounded by an ancient cemetery, where many revolutionary war luminaries, and fabled author Edgar Allan Poe are buried.

The event ended with a reception at the fabled Camden Yards Baseball stadium followed by a Baltimore Orioles/Toronto Blue Jay game.

MAPA President Larry Cohen of Lancaster PA hosted the event along with MAPA Administrator Dawn Newman.

 

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Parking Reform and Affordable Housing in NYC

I’ll admit, I’ve never thought about parking reform and affordable housing as a combination, but then, I’m not an industry expert. So, I read this article on curbed.com and learned some things I really didn’t know.

Contrary to what I saw in New York City last time I visited, there’s a ton of parking. According to curbed.com:

3) On the economy of space, “If you add up all the street-level parking spaces on housing authority lots around town, you get more than 20.3 million square feet, well over half the size of Central Park.” Side note: whoa.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has is deeply concerned about creating affordable housing in Manhattan. A group of architects, Peterson Rich Office and Sagi Golan, have come up with a plan, called 9×18, that, in short, proposes changes to parking regulations to reduce the amount of space dedicated to parking. According to the 9×18 summary at pro-arch.com:

9×18 is a study of how current parking requirements in the NYC zoning regulations have manifested in underutilized space and problematic urban design, and it asks whether challenges to the code could create new potentials for affordable housing.

I don’t see any way you could implement a plan that replaces underused parking with housing in a city like Los Angeles, but in New York City, it makes good sense. There’s already a fully-formed public transportation system and an attitude that favors public transit and pedestrians.

No one’s saying parking needs to go, but reevaluating regulations established many moons ago, especially in an area as dense as Manhattan, would be really productive. I’m interested to see how this turns out.

 

 

 

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Show Me the Money

The owners of FlightCar, a service that organizes the rental of private vehicles from airports, have just scored a $13.5 million investment deal with GGV Capital. The money will be used for expansion to Seattle and other airports.

FlightCar offers a simple, symbiotic process for travelers who need to leave cars in airport parking and those who need to rent cars while away from home. Car owners sign up with FlightCar and leave their cars in the company’s lot while they travel. Renters, pre-screened by FlightCar, designate the class of vehicle they want and pick it up at the airport. Owners avoid parking fees and get paid for the use of their cars.

CEO and co-founder Rujul Zaparde recalled to VentureBeat that he was sitting with co-founder and president Kevin Petrovic in the winter of 2012, talking about Airbnb. “If your most valuable asset is your home,” he said they reasoned, “the second is your car.”

It’s a fascinating idea, this company that runs on gasoline and trust. I don’t know a lot of people who’d be willing to lend out their cars to total strangers. But FlightCar is making it work and has the investment interest to prove it.

Read the article here.

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

You Won’t Read this in the Main Stream Media

Well, maybe in the New York Post — The entire article is here.

The gist is that climate weenies like Leo DiCaprio are railing against “climate change” and making movies and leading seminars about the impending destruction of the planet.  The problem is that he is not a scientist, and is simply wrong.  Here is the meat of the article:

And the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on the supposed “consensus” model.

Oregon-based physicist Gordon Fulks sums it up well: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”

Consider:

  •  According to NASA satellites and all ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s. This when CO2 levels have risen almost 10 percent since 1997. The post-1997 CO2 emissions represent an astonishing 30 percent of all human-related emissions since the Industrial Revolution began. That we’ve seen no warming contradicts all CO2-based climate models upon which global-warming concerns are founded.
  • Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even slowing, over recent decades averaging about 1 millimeter per year as measured by tide gauges and 2 to 3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. Again, this is far less than what the alarmists suggested.
  •  Satellites also show that a greater area of Antarctic sea ice exists now than any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. In other words, the ice caps aren’t melting.
  •  A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. Yes, Hurricane Sandy was devastating — but it’s not part of any new trend.

The climate scare, Fulks sighs, has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus.” He’s right — and DiCaprio’s film is just another vector for spreading the virus.

If you want to ensure a tummy full of acid, read the article and note the amount of money that is being wasted by the government on projects that are failing, and according to Bjorn Lomborg, who actually signs on to some of the global warming hysteria, will make no difference anyway.

Lomborg has been railing about this for years.  If we were to take the trillions being spent by governments on projects that will make no difference, and invest it in clean water, healthy food, electrification and sewage abatement in the third world, millions of lives would be changed, forever, for the better.

But that doesn’t give Leo his “good optics.”

JVH

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

The Dog Ate My Homework…

That is the timeless excuse whether you are a tenth grader trying to get a few extra days on that book report, or the IRS explaining missing emails. I have always that it was a bit lame. Why not just fess up. After all, the teacher had heard it all before.

I had a similar experience the other day that brought this little excuse into focus. As you know I wear hearing aids. And love them. I had taken them out and laid them on a towel and forgot about them. A few minutes later I dried my hands.

When I went to put the electronic marvels back in my ears I couldn’t find them. I searched everywhere. Then I stepped (Barefoot) on something that felt like broken plastic. Yep, there they were, in a million pieces, with definite doggy tooth marks leading to the culprit.

Suki didn’t eat them, she just chewed them up and spit them out.  The hearing aid company didn’t like my excuse any better than my 10th grade teacher. I had to pay the insurance deductible and then be told that if I wanted more insurance, I had to sign up and pay again.

An expensive lesson. With certain things, like taking pills and dealing with glasses, hearing aids, and cell phones, keep a constant routine. Trust me, when you step out of your routine, its possible for disaster to strike, even in the form of a four legged long nose…well you know what I mean.

JVH

 

 

 

 

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Wow! Parking Technology Today is HOT!!!

Our New Magazine, Parking Technology Today premiers in mid October and I am looking at some early proofs now and it is super.  Not only is the writing solid and the articles interesting, but Art Director Shelly Brown and her crew have come up with a new look for the magazine that is simply wonderful.

We are plowing new ground in this issue, as we not only have original work by experts in the parking technology field, but we also have promotional articles (they will be so noted) written by or for some technology based companies. Normally in PT we don’t print such pieces as they are often blatantly self serving. However I have been convinced by some of these companies that such promotion is good for their marketing effort. So be it. if Forbes and Business Week can do it, why can’t we.

We have new headline styles, larger and brighter layouts, and … well, you will see.

When you ask why we don’t go all out with PT on every issue consider that we starting designing and laying out PTT three months ago. This is a long and complex process. We will be lucky if we put two of these out a year.  Shelly has brought on a new person to do nothing but PTT, and we are finding such design over 68 pages is very time consuming.

Look for Parking Technology Today in your mail box in about four weeks.  Then let me know what you  think.

JVH

 

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Is Parking Becoming Boring?

I have been spending quite a bit of time on Parknews.biz lately looking for ideas for blogs. I can jump on a few of them (Parking Sensors fail in Walnut Creek, or a neat story about Near Field Communications) but I wondered that you might be bored with all that. Blogs can get boring — its often the same old same old.

Check out political blogs whether you are right or left, rich or poor, liberal or conservative there are blogs for you. The problem is, at least as I see  it, they are the same thing, over and over and over. Different words, same story.

After pondering the problem, I have decided to begin blogging about things that may interest, but aren’t the same old thing, blog after blog, week after week. Some will per personal, some focused on PT and PIE, some will have some  bite to them.  Hopefully they will interest you, and if I’m lucky, they will make you think.

Astrid as begun a program on Parknews.biz to put a pithy quote up each day.  Today it says:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

That’s it.  I’m going to the beach.

JVH

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

How can this possibly be?

I had lunch the other day with an auditor and we were laughing about an incident that happened in the Parking Today world about a decade ago.  I had in this space made a statement that I knew an auditor and he told me that in virtually any garage, on any given day, he could do an audit and find a minimum of 10% of the monies missing, and in fact he couldn’t remember when it was less than 25%.  He added that of course there were exceptions and were some very well run garages but he likened that to hen’s teeth.

I was inundated with complaints from operators calling me every name in the book and threatening my existence. I took up the gauntlet and offered a free audit on any two garages that the operators ran. If we didn’t find any issues, we would pay for the audit, if we did, they would. Of course any result would be published in PT. The result — crickets.

A decade had past and millions if not billions of dollars of technology has been brought to bear on the parking industry. I asked my auditor friend if it made any difference.

“Sure,” he said. “In some garages the managers and their supervisors use the technology and track every transaction. But then. Some of them did 15 years ago. As far as operations go, very little has changed.”

He admitted that the pervasive use of credit cards had lowered the amount of cash in play and that in itself had made a difference, but he also talked about the attention paid to contracts with monthly parkers and if cost of living increases had been made. Were there side deals with the valet companies across the street to park cars in the garage, and then he laughed and asked if there was a health club nearby.

He said that although we have the technology to lock garages down tight, do we really do it.

He reminded me of my drive through bank. I drive up to the window, make my deposit, and then drive through the lot to the exit lane where the cashier uses an access card to open the gate and let me out when I waved my bank receipt at her.

The garage had a very high tech system, but a hole you could drive a ….

In the end, it goes back to management and supervision, technology be damned.

JVH

 

 

Social Share Toolbar
1 Comment