Women In Parking – We’ve Come a Long Way…and We’re Just Getting Started

A guest post by Vicki Pero, principal of the Marlyn Group

When Women In Parking became a formal organization in late 2011, there were no guarantees in terms of what the future held.  Since that time, WIP has grown and matured and it’s clear to anyone who has attended an organization event that it’s here to stay and just starting to realize its potential. 

Whether you’re a man or a woman, you might be asking yourself why WIP and its desire to attract and retain talented female professionals in our industry should matter to you.  The next time you attend a new business presentation or a client meeting, look around the room.  You are likely to notice many more female faces staring back at you than there were 10 years ago.  These stakeholders want to see similar representation on your side of the table.  In addition, from the customer perspective, women make or influence over 85% of buying decisions in their households.  It’s probably a good idea to have their perspective represented within your organization, so you can better understand whom you’re selling to. 

Since the very beginning, WIP has hosted networking events at each of the national parking shows and continues to do so today.  In addition, we held our inaugural conference, with the help of John Van Horn and Parking Today, in March following the PIE Show in Chicago.  This was the first year of what will be an annual event going forward.

One of the most popular benefits WIP makes available to its members is a mentoring program that pairs seasoned industry professionals with women who are newer to parking.  This program has recently kicked off its second year with even more participants than were involved in 2013.  Programs like this touch the core mission of WIP, which is to promote advancement and achievement of women in the parking industry. 

In June, WIP is honored to have produced the entire Parking Today magazine.  This is again to the credit of John Van Horn who made his magazine available for this purpose.  When you read this edition, you won’t find articles that talk about advancing women in the industry or tips on how to help women succeed in your organization.  You will find articles written by female professionals representing their areas of expertise in various industry disciplines.

So, if you haven’t gotten involved in Women In Parking yet, what are you waiting for?  We hope to see you at our next event.

To learn more about Women In Parking, visit www.womeninparking.com

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Mike Simmons Returns to T2 as CEO

 From T2:

 Indianapolis, IN – May 6, 2014 – The Board of Directors of T2 Systems (T2) and Digital Payment Technologies (DPT) announced today that Mike Simmons, chairman, will take on the additional role of chief executive officer, effective immediately, replacing Dave Sparks, who is no longer with the Company.

“Mike is the visionary behind the unique customer experience that is at the core of this company’s success,” said Walker Simmons, board member and Partner at Pamlico. Pamlico Capital is a private equity firm that made a $28 million equity investment in T2 Systems in 2011. “Mike is enthusiastic about returning to the role of chief executive officer for the long term and excited to lead the company and its dedicated employees to even greater heights of achievement.”

As chairman and chief executive officer Simmons will be responsible for the overall strategic growth of the organization, which now includes recently acquired Digital Payment Technologies, with a predominant focus on innovation, thoughtful execution and relentless focus on the customer experience.

Simmons said, “The Company is financially strong, and continuing to experience strong growth in 2014, having just recently been awarded some of the largest projects in the histories of both T2 and DPT. I am truly excited for the chance to return to the industry I have been a part of for over 20 years, to work side by side with people I truly care about, and to help deliver industry-leading parking solutions to parking and transportation operations.”

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A little bit of parking for a little bitty park

There’s a lot of parking out there, and it seems some people think we could turn over a few spots for the greater good. Minneapolis has just kicked off a pilot program for turning parking spaces into little parks, or “parklets.” According to an article on BringMeTheNews.com:

Jon Wertjes, the director of Traffic and Parking Services with the Minneapolis Public Works Department, told BringMeTheNews that the city will be spending $75,000 from its traffic and parking services operating budget related to pedestrian safety and livability improvements to introduce two to three public parklets as part of this pilot program.

I suppose this move could be seen as antagonistic toward parking, but it doesn’t have to be. Create a  gathering place and you create a need for parking – in fact, you create a demand for parking.

Minneapolis is taking a careful approach to the addition of these parklets by making them portable. They’ll be set up for the summer, measured for use and popularity, and taken down for the winter. Eventually, they will be turned over to the community.

Minneapolis Pedestrian Planner Mackenzie Turner told the Southwest Journal that the city will develop design standards for the parks so when the pilot program ends, businesses and community sponsors will maintain them instead of the city. Parklet sponsors will be able to apply for permits to design and build their own parklets, Turner says.

Parklet programs have been created in San Francisco, Seattle, New York city and Dallas. Click here to read the rest of the article.

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LAX Computer Glitches Cause Parking Pile-up

Yesterday, technical difficulties forced Los Angeles International Airport to shut down for at least an hour. Travel chaos ensued as incoming flights were diverted, outgoing flights were postponed, and any number of sad vacation-goers missed their connecting flights to Hawaii.

Parking chaos also ensued because thousands of people waiting to pick up/drop off passengers waited around to see if the airport would resume operations. Parking structures 3, 4, 5 and 6 were filled to capacity and officials asked drivers to try structures 1, 2 and 7 and a nearby offsite lot. According to LAtimes.com:

Throughout the day, 27 arriving flights were canceled, 212 were delayed and 27 were diverted to other airports, LAX says. And 23 departing flights were canceled, largely because of unavailable aircraft from canceled arrivals, and 216 were delayed.

The airport released a statement that operations would return to normal by midnight.

You never know how someone else’s technical issues are going to affect you. Some of the ebb and flow of doing business is predictable: large events, major holidays, inclement weather are all on the board well before the swell arrives. But a situation like the one at LAX is totally unexpected and quite possibly, a valuable learning experience.

Read the article here.

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Amnesty – Another Seven Letter Word

Maybe its just me, but when I hear about a city declaring parking ticket amnesty, I get all flustered and irate. The latest is Detroit.  They are going to give a 30% discount to any ticket more than three years old if you pay it by May 15. Read all about it here.

Then the city is going to get tough on scofflaws, by golly. They are going to boot, tow, and impound. They are going to collect the money due them.  After six tickets your car is gone in Motor City.

Does anyone honestly believe that they are really going to get ‘tough.” I don’t. They haven’t been ‘tough’ up to now. What’s changed?  And then there’s “Amnesty.”

The politicos in Detroit must have felt that raising parking fees and getting “tough” was going to cause them some problems with their constituents, so they softened the blow by telling three year scofflaws that they could reduce their fees and penalties by a third if they pay up. Right.

It seems to me that ‘amnesty’ comes about when the ‘powers at be’ simply don’t enforce existing laws and then people break them in larger and larger numbers and then the amnesty comes into play so they don’t have to enforce the laws now.

My solution is to close the border, completely, send anyone convicted of a felony back to the country they came from, and then forget about everything else. In a few years, the problem has taken care of itself. No, wait.  That’s a different amnesty.

JVH

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Parking Even Gets in the “Biggest Sports News of the Decade”

Yes, we are all sick of Donald Sterling and his racist rants and his loss of the LA Clippers. But here is a little tidbit on TMZ Sports that may have made it past your sharp, parking eyes:

Donald Sterling just can’t catch a break … now, the embattled Clippers owner is being sued by a woman who claims she was badly injured in a parking lot he owns.

Roselee Fagan filed a lawsuit in L.A. claiming she was walking through a parking structure in Hollywood back in February when she tripped on an uneven concrete service and fell down … causing “severe and permanent physical and bodily injuries.”

Fagan also claims the lighting in the structure sucked and created a hazard … and blames Sterling for not posting a sign warning people to watch out for uneven surfaces.

When it rains, it pours …

Maybe if he spent a little more time worrying about his businesses and a little less about the color of the men his girlfriend watched basketball (well, ok and did other things) with, he could keep his butt out of court.

Heh!

JVH

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Paul and Brandy to Toe to Toe and the “gotcha” moment.

In the post below, Paul talks about Boston and the fact that 5% of the tickets are voided administratively. The assumption being that the tickets were improperly written. Brandy points out that in many cases the driver hadn’t displayed a permit but had a valid one, and then the city, in being reasonable, voided the ticket.

I wrote a piece not too long ago similar to Paul’s about a parking app that helps people fight improperly written tickets. Its being beta tested in San Francisco.  I came down on the side of the app, noting that anything that brings some transparency to the system is a good thing.

In fairness, Brandy and the Parking Head in Boston, Gina Fiandaca, make good points in that it actually saves time and money to dismiss those citations that are prima facie  problems, like people who can prove they have handicapped permits, but for whatever reason didn’t hang them on their mirrors, etc.

In the end, however, it’s my position that the more citations that are brought to the attention of the parking offices with errors the better. Sunlight is the best antiseptic. Of course officers make errors, they are human.  I’m sure its the goal of all well run enforcement operations like Brandy’s and Gina’s to ensure that citations are properly written.

People hate to get parking tickets, but really hate to get tickets that just aren’t right.

I received a ticket the other day because I put the money in the wrong meter. (Angle Parking, put money in the meter for the next space).  The enforcement officer watched me do it, waited until I walked away, and then wrote the ticket. I know he watched me do it as I caught his eye and we smiled at each other. I checked on this and the ticket was written one minute after I put my credit card in the wrong meter.  Of course I was ticked off. Mostly at me, a parking pro of sorts, doing a boneheaded thing like that, but I was also ticked off at the officer, who could have pointed out my error and then allowed me to put money in the right meter, saving beaucoup bucks and making a good PR move for LA Parking Enforcement.

The message he sent was “I’m in the gotcha business, and I gotcha, sucker.”  His little action made me suspicious of all tickets it get.  He needs some basic PR skill training. My guess is that had I wanted to fight it, I could have gotten the ticket reversed.  My error was unintentional, and I did pay for the parking. But who has time to do all that.

Then you wonder, if 5% are dismissed out of a million plus, what is the real number of errors.

Well, you get the point.

JVH

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Busy Work Costs Everyone Time and Money

It has been reported that in Boston nearly 72,000 parking citations were dismissed in 2013. A Bostonherald.com article says:

“71,922 of 1.3 million tickets issued in fiscal 2013 were dismissed, and that … the most common reasons were drivers being slapped with violations for parking in handicapped and residential spaces — even though they had valid permits to do so — as well as duplicate tickets issued for the same violation at the same location.”

Nearly everyone sees it as problem that parking enforcers are writing so many unenforceable tickets. The parking clerk’s office is working thousands of hours handling appeals and members of the public are spending thousands of hours making those appeals. According to the article:

“At-large City Councilor Michael Flaherty said he plans to take the issue up with the Boston Transportation Department, along with a host of other complaints — including “convoluted signage” — that he says are hindering businesses and residents.”

While people fume about the situation, Gina Fiandaca, head of Boston Transportation Department’s Office says all is not at it seems. Her office’s policy is to give the public every opportunity possible to appeal tickets.

“If we can dismiss the ticket before the hearing, then we do,” Fiandaca said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there was an error made and that the ticket was invalidly issued. But there’s a reasonableness assessment, that a reasonable person could probably make that mistake and park somewhere in violation. And, in that case, the hearing is an opportunity to educate the customer.”

That’s a lot of teaching moments costing everybody too much time and money. Sounds like a meet-in-the-middle moment to me.

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Parking Networking in Southern California

April 30, Rush Street Lounge in Culver City…

Whitney Taylor of Sentry Control Systems, began her career in the parking industry 2 years ago. After attending a few industry shows and attempting to network at non-industry specific events; she decided to establish a local networking group in Southern California, The SoCal Parking Network (SPN) is tailored to the parking & transportation industry. SPN is having its 4th networking event on April 30th at Rush Street Lounge in Culver City, CA. Now that SPN has grown a membership base of 120+ parking professionals, Whitney has created the East coast equivalent,  The Beltway Parking Association (BPA). She will be hosting their first event in Washington DC on May 7. Both groups have LinkedIn pages to help members stay up-to-date on upcoming events and other industry information. Whitney plans and executes events every 3-4 months. Contact her with any questions: whitney@sentrycontrol.com or (310) 779-8002.

Come out and meet your parking pros.

JVH

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Come On, POF Suppliers, Let me see what you got!

I wrote this article a week or so ago:

http://www.parkingtoday.com/blog/2014/04/ive-been-saying-this-for-years-but-nobody-listens/

Basically I challenged the Pay on Foot/Display/Space equipment manufacturers to show me how they have addressed the five issues that some folks in Seattle have with their equipment.

One responded and invited me to their factory. I was there yesterday and frankly, was impressed.  I will post the information here, but would like to post others. Come on, companies, you can reach me at :

310 390 5277 ext 2 or jvh@parkingtoday.com

Don’t be left out — this is free advertising.

JVH

 

 

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