The Temecula Parking Group met this past weekend in, guess where, Temecula, California. We talked, argued, laughed, ate, drank and generally had a perfect parking weekend.
The theme was ‘technology’ and the group held that though technology was important to our industry, that the policy that the technology enabled was more important. It also held that delivery of the technology was a major issue, with grave concerns about the RFP and bidding process.
There were new members to the group, particularly from the municipal and collegiate arenas and these so called ‘newbies’ brought considerable information to the table.
Over the next few weeks you will see articles here on the blog and also in PT that originated from discussions held over the past weekend. Feel free to weigh in. The first one follows
In a stunning turn of events, parking authorities in England have recommended motorists fight more parking tickets and have a plan to make it easier for them to do so.
At present, motorists who appeal a ticket miss their window to pay they lowest fee applicable, so, many weigh the risk and decide to just pay the ticket – even if it was a mistake. The new plan would stop the clock on the payment due date once an appeal was filed.
Other reforms to give motorists a fairer deal would include giving drivers “five minutes grace” after their time at a metered or pay and display parking space expired.
“A common-sense approach to parking enforcement should minimise the issuing of Penalty Charge Notices to motorists who make honest mistakes,” the MPs said.
The Committee’s investigation was launched against a backdrop of councils’ soaring revenue from parking charges and fines.
It seems, the committee was not pleased to find that the 350 councils in the country were set to make 635 million pounds off parking tickets this year.
“…the MPs said motorists believe they are being treated as a “cash cow”.
It’s good to see a group of leaders truly consider the needs of the public and take steps to meet those needs. It’s even better to hear them use phrases like “common sense” appropriately. Our leaders here in the U.S. should try it.
Read the article here.
Shawn Brown, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Town of North Hempstead, NY, took Parking Today along on his trek to Rio De Janerio and its world famous Maracana Soccer Stadium. Here he is on August 28 with some high level reading material:
The Maracana soccer stadium will be the host of next year’s World Cup final game. The attached photo was taken on August 28th during a Flamengo soccer match against Cruzeiro. Flamengo won 1-0.
And you thought PT didn’t cover sports…
My guess is that the Brazilians thing. I also guess that in Rio they call it “football” as in “Football has been very good for me.” to quote Pele.
A Government functionary in the UK., one Eric Pickles, is calling for a half hour of free parking on street in the central business districts of towns and villages across the country. Our UK correspondent, Peter Guest, has written numerous articles about Mr. Pickles, ensuring he won’t be on the “Communities and Local Government’s Secretary’s” Christmas Card list.
So let’s see, Mr. Pickles, what would be the rules? You get half an hour and then have to move your car? What if you are going to shop for an hour? Are you just out of luck?
Well then, so you get half an hour free then can you go and get a P and D tag for the next hour or so.
I’m sorry, I was up late last night finishing a Martha Grimes ‘pub book’ and I’m not thinking straight. But I do remember this…
When parking was free at the local hospitals, there was no room for the patients and staff because everyone in the surrounding neighborhood came and parked there. The ambulances couldn’t get in. They put in a fee and the mess immediately was under control. Wouldn’t exactly the same thing happen in the ‘high’ street.
Just how many people would ‘flock’ to the stores if they knew that in 30 minutes they would have to move their car or get a citation? If the cities enforced the half hour limit there would be crowds in the streets with torches and pitchforks.
This is so typical of many government agencies…they think that by giving something away they are doing a good thing but end up ensuring that the law of unintended consequences is in full effect.
When I was a kid, we couldn’t wait until we could drive. I think it was 15 and a half and I got a learner’s permit. I was driving when I was 16 and never looked back. I couldn’t imagine not having a car, ever.
I learn now that in Vancouver, BC, 26 percent of the households don’t own cars, and in many cities in the US upwards of 10 percent of the families don’t have cars. I guess its true as my oldest son and his family have never owned a car. They seemed to have survived just fine on foot, bikes, buses, and shuttles. But they live up north near Seattle where everything seems to be close by.
As the current generation moves back into lofts in the central city, and abandons the ‘burbs to us oldies, they are rethinking their lifestyles. We were told by a keynoter at the NPA that suburban office buildings had a much lower occupancy rates than their urban cousins because young workers want to work, play, and live within walking distance. Those huge parking lots around suburban high rises are going empty. Smart companies are locating in central cities that have all the stores, clubs, restaurants, and apartments for their employees.
What does this mean for parking. First, many of the rules we believed about having a certain number of parking spaces per square foot are going by the wayside. Those huge garages may not be filling up. On street requirements change, too as customers walk to the bar or restaurant rather than drive.
Is it time to sell our buggy whips and start hawking sandals to the young walkers? How would I know?
It saddens me to think that the youth of today don’t have that wanderlust and independent spirit that we had as kids. We wanted to get in the car and drive, whenever we wanted and go wherever we wanted, which was usually as far as we could get and then home by curfew. Today’s kids seem perfectly content sitting in front of a computer, tapping on their smart phone, and ‘chillin.’
I would probably be horrified if my children did some of the things I did when I was a teen. But, frankly, now I’m a tad concerned that the youths of today they don’t even want to.
The headline was just a teaser – there really is no trouble at Trader Joe’s. Just because people complain doesn’t mean there is actually a problem. It’s still the place where you can get good wine and cheese on the cheap; and they have that magical concoction called Speculoos, or cookie butter, that’s so good they only let you buy two at a time.
But customers at a new Trader Joe’s location in Florida, instead of thanking the universe for their good fortune, are grumbling about a shortage of parking around the store. Some of them even got towed for parking in nearby lots that were off limits for TJ’s patrons.
“Getting in and out of the extremely popular specialty grocery store was more difficult than many people expected.
The store’s 89 designated parking spots were not enough for the influx of shoppers.”
There’s an important phrase in that quote – it’s that part that says “extremely popular.” My point is, if you and a billion other people love a certain store or restaurant, expect to find the parking lot crowded. I’d like parkers of America to follow my lead and consider the tough parking at Trader Joe’s a reaffirming part of the experience. Everybody loves the place; the stuff inside is delish; the employees are friendly; the samples are plentiful. Look forward to all those things when you’re circling for a spot and it won’t seem painful at all.
Read the article here.
Handicapped parking is a hot button for me and a lot of people. The issue with having hot buttons, however, is that they are easily, and sometimes, unnecessarily, pushed. Being suspicious of every person parked in a handicapped spot is just about as bad as being indifferent to laws regarding handicapped parking – especially if you find yourself persecuting the very people whose rights you so vigilantly intend to protect.
A handicapped parker in Michigan recently finished up his errands and returned to his car to find a nasty note left on his windshield accusing him of having parked illegally and asking him where he keeps his wheelchair.
Matt Milstead, 36, said he found the note accusing him of being an able-bodied person taking advantage of a handicapped spot.
“I would love to see your wheelchair,” the scrawling handwriting said.
But what the note writer didn’t know is that Milstead has been using a wheelchair for nearly two decades.
This note-writer probably thought he or she was doing a good deed calling out a rotten faker, but hadn’t actually seen Milstead exit his car and get into another four-wheeled mode of transportation.
As much as I dislike people who use handicapped parking spaces fraudulently, I can’t give a cheer for the overzealous who go too far the other direction. Life is not like a reality show – we don’t need to react so much. Making the world a better place is about truth and tolerance, not ignorance and confrontation.
Read the article.
In Milwaukee, a new system for parking enforcement has raised concern in residents.Now, parking permits will be issued a permit number that will be electronically linked to their license plate. City vehicles equipped with cameras will drive through streets checking license plates and confirming permit or non-permit status.
“The computer in the enforcement Jeep will beep if someone’s vehicle does not have a valid night parking permit or if the vehicle was reported stolen or if someone is a scofflaw or if someone is parked in excess of the posted time limits,” says Sandy Rusch Walton, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman. “The officer will then issue the parking citation after manually checking the license plate.”
So what if it’s an illusion that any of us has any real privacy anymore, officials who put this system in place have reassured Milwaukeeans that their personal data will be protected with a cascading list of procedures and safeguards.
“After the shift, the captured license numbers will be limited to access only by parking enforcement management staff on the city server,” Rusch Walton said. “No one else will have access to that information.”
It’s great that the city is doing all it can to respect personal data. Every effort should be made to support the notion of confidentiality and keep important information from making its way into the hands of unscrupulous individuals. But if you’re really concerned about privacy, stay home. That’s the only place you can have a reasonable expectation of privacy, unless you have teenagers.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
My friend Mike Bigbee returns to the parking industry after a decade hiatus to become CEO for the Americas of revenue control manufacturer TIBA. His duties began began in September.
I have known Mike since I started PT and know he will be a leader of integrity for the company. His last parking assignment was with Transcore. He then spent a decade with a software developer outside Parking. Here’s a snap I took of him at the NPA show.
I did an interview with Mike at the show and here’s a few tidbits:
“We are taking a Blue Ocean rather than a Red Ocean Marketing approach.”
The Red Ocean approach, he went on to explain, was when everyone has the same products, with the same features, and fight it out to sell at the lowest price. They are like sharks and fill the marketing ocean with blood, hence, Red Ocean. The Blue Ocean approach is to separate yourself from the rest and find those things that differentiate from your competition.
“Just has we have heard from speaker after speaker this week at the NPA, new technology brings the need for staff with technology experience. However that staff can cost less over all if the equipment you purchase does the job properly and has reduced down time and low maintenance costs.”
Welcome back, My friend. All the best