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Latest Test for the Law Review

This must be my week for pictures. I drove to Beverly Hills for breakfast at Factors Famous Deli — Surely you have heard of it, its “Famous.”  I decided to park in the neighborhood a few blocks away to get a few steps on the fitbit. As I pulled up, at 8:15 on Sunday Morning, a stalwart Los Angeles parking enforcement officer (Seems I was parking in LA, not BH) rolled up and began writing a ticket for the car in front of me. A man came running out of the house nearby in his pajamas, an plead his case. He lost.

I glanced at the sign above my car and began to wonder. I asked the officer to translate

He said that the  “Two Hour Parking 8 am to 6 pm except Sunday meant that you couldn’t park there on Sunday.”  Fair enough.

I drove around the corner to Pico Boulevard and came upon this sign:

It was above a parking meter.  Now I know that this sign meant that I could park as long as I wanted on Sunday without putting anything in the meter. Or does it.  The exact same sign a block away meant that I couldn’t park at all.

Can someone explain this to a lowly editor. Was the enforcement officer wrong?

I think its time to call in the experts. Julie Dixon, over to you.

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Budding Parking Designer

As I took the pooch for a walk the other day, I came across some chalk drawings on the sidewalk. There was no one around, but the results and the location told me that the artist was in the 4 to 8 year old range. I have come across similar drawings in that area, but they were of a world class hop scotch design and not a rendering of a roadway and a building complex.

And another view

I don’t know if this design meets parking minimums in the neighborhood, but I’m sure she does as well as many in our local government.  If anyone wonders, we can check with an expert. Don Shoup call your office.


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Twitter, Social Media and PIE

Kathleen Laney and Bob Harkins spoke about Social Media at PIE 2017. However, Astrid and I spent the days leading up to their presentation tweeting everything we could find about PIE. Hundreds of tweets, which begat 100s of retweets reaching around the world.

Two cases in point.

Astrid was live tweeting Paul Barter’s keynote on Wednesday (above) and we actually got responses while the talk was ongoing asking us to ask Paul specific questions about his talk. Let me tell you I was impressed. I also got an email from Australia  that said in part “I see from twitter PIE is going gangbusters and Paul Barter is speaking. Since he is from Singapore, do you think he would be a good fit for our events here in OZ.” The Prez of the Parking Association of Australia was following twitter. Who would have thunk it.

Kathleen pointed out that social media is a long slog — we have been working twitter and its ilk for a couple of years. Astrid has 1840 followers, I have 1409. (She works harder than I do).   It turns out that there are two issues when tweeting  – one is “Hashtag #” the other is including someone’s twitter handle.  Hashtag is a way of searching  – if you put in #pieshow2017 anything with that hashtag will show up. If you include @laneysolutions Kathleen will be notified that she was mentioned in a tweet. So the more hashtags and handles you include, the wider the reach.

How did I learn this — by doing.  I’m still not very good — and never will be since I’m not 14 years old. But experts like Kathleen and Astrid can wow the twitter universe.

Try it, you might like it.





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PIE 2017 – In the Record Books Thanks to YOU!

Nearly 1100 parking pros flocked to Chicago to participate in PIE 2017. It was four days of learning, exhibits, networking, and yes, even a party. And from the reaction I have gotten both in person and from our Twitter feeds, the event was a super success.

I would like to personally thank those who attended, and also those who supported their efforts but were unable to attend. Mounting an exhibit 1500 miles from home is not only expensive, but requires a ton of work from those who didn’t visit our event. Plus those who attended the show left behind those who work with them, and they too will profit from the knowledge gained.  Thanks to all.

As for our crew.  They are simply the best.  I received no end of compliments about the PIE staff from attendees and exhibitors alike. “Sure there are bumps here and there, but the PIE staff was on the spot and smoothed them out quickly. They are the best.”  That summarized dozens of like comments.

Eric, Marcy, Astrid, Joyce, Kelley, Sue, Francine, Robyn — each had assigned tasks and executed flawlessly. I have never been so proud of a group of people. And honored to work with them.

We will be reporting on PIE 2017 in PT the next few months so if you didn’t attend,you can see what you missed. And will be alerting you to PIE 2018, back in Chicago next March.


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Parking is No Holiday in Waikiki

A lot of parking issues only exist in specific scenarios. Manhattan has different parking challenges than Overland, Kansas. Las Vegas has different parking  requirements than Juno, Alaska.

My hometown, for instance, doesn’t have a lot of parking issues because it’s small, lightly populated and light on traffic. There is a problem near one neighborhood where truckers have begun to congregate. Either they live in the area and park their trucks while they stop by home or they’re tired and need a nap. Residents don’t like the noise or the traffic, and the streets are now signed “no parking after 10 pm.”

In Waikiki, a special combination of factors make parking difficult. The city is on an island, it’s highly populated and a huge tourist destination. Parking is scarce, as well as extremely desirable. According to hawaiinewsnow.com, city leaders are proposing to double the price of metered parking.

A bill before the city council would double the cost to park in Waikiki from $1.50 to $3 per hour at a metered stall. It also would require that meters would have to be fed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Currently, parking is free after 6 p.m.

Tourists don’t have to worry about parking in Waikiki day to day, so it’s the thousands of residents and working people in Waikiki who are most affected. They’ve got to get to work whether there’s parking or not. Some are afraid higher parking costs will make life even harder. City officials say the result will be the opposite.

“When parking is free, it’s almost impossible to find,” said Rick Egged of the Waikiki Improvement Association. “I always say free parking is no parking.”

Waikiki is a good working model for any city with high need and low inventory. Time will tell whether higher prices free up parking or just punish locals.

Read the article here.

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Handicapped Parking Abusers Don’t Need a Break

Handicapped parking abuse is a theme in every city and ever town. Cheaters know they’re probably not going to get caught, so they take their chances for the convenience of easy parking – and they are usually rewarded. In Joliet, Illinois, fines for illegally parking in handicapped space are painfully high, but not enforced. Three years ago, the city voted to increase the ticket fees to $500, but signage and enforcement are not up to date. Some signs still read $250, reports theherald-news.com. Anybody who gets a ticket only has to pay the fine listed.

Changing the signs is a process that’s been approached half heartedly because city leaders don’t want to play bad cop.

“It’s not exactly business-friendly to send someone a notice to say they have to change their sign. And what do you do then?” City Manager Jim Hock said. “Give them a ticket and say they have to buy a sign? We’re trying to stay business-friendly.”

There shouldn’t be a “good cop” when it comes to protecting handicapped parking for use by handicapped citizens. There should be about five levels of bad cop and those who take advantage of the system should have a dozen good reasons to feel the risk is not worth the pay off.

I’m not a big fan of the “police crackdown” because I think sporadic enforcement makes the bad guys bolder. But for handicapped parking abuses, I support any kind of sting on any timeline – it’s better than nothing. Abusers need a reason to follow the law. Applying high fines and a creating a high likelihood that they’ll get caught is the only way to deter them.

Joliet officials know excessively high fines are often overturned by judges, so $500 could be the limit, but they’re counting on the high fine to deter some abusers. Otherwise, with a police force that does not have the resources to patrol parking lots, the city is relying on residents to report illegal handicapped parking.

I bet there are people in every city who’d volunteer to look for handicapped parking violations. There are even programs to organize volunteer enforcement.

Accessible Parking and Mobility Solutions is a nonprofit with a program aimed at dealing with handicapped parking scofflaws through an online education program. Violators instead of being fined $500 would be ordered to complete the course. The program includes volunteer spotters, who would report violators.

Read the article here.

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Smart Cities, Autonomous Cars and Parking Today

We pull together the editorial for PT a month before the date on the cover. So I am working on April. I get stories from my usual sources ( our columnists, and unsolicited “over the transom” plus the odd request from me.) PIE has been a slight distraction, so there have been few “requests” for April. Astrid and I have been talking about doing more with transportation and ‘smart cities’ but I haven’t really done much soliciting of articles except for turning her loose on a first article. (Smart Cities and LAX).

Then I noticed a trend in the articles I was editing and formatting for April. Kathleen wrote on Social Media and Smart Cities. Melissa pondered on just how Smart a city was that ticketed homeless. Wes Guckert sent in a well thought out article on autonomous vehicles, and Suzannah at Spot Hero has a great infographic on the affect of ride sharing on Parking. Gorm Tuxen supplied a super article on smart city technology and sensor technology.

What’s that, half of our articles for April deal with Smart Cities or Transportation. And we didn’t plan it, it just happened.

Folks who think about these things, are thinking about Smart Cities. But when I read through the articles, half of them approached it from the point of view of making your city smarter without using technology, but rethinking how to approach the city’s problems. Astrid mused on how to cut down the congestion at the airport, Melissa had a great idea on how to solve the ticketing of the homeless problem, and Kathleen pointed out how cities could use existing social media to determine what’s going on in their neighborhoods.

When I read articles sourced from the major “Smart City” suppliers (Siemens, Conduent, Google, IBM and the rest) the solutions are all Technology Based. Fair enough. But the wisdom shown by our three columnists in April brought me up short.

Sure, go ahead and investigate technology, but also just look at what is happening and ways to fix it now, without major outlays of funding. Governments like to throw money at a problem, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

Read all about it in the April edition of PT, in your mail box in about a month.


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10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…Counting Down to PIE 2017

4…and four great Keynote presentations — Barter (2), Goulston, and Houlihan

3...Three days of world class seminars — With Technology Featured on Wednesday.

2…Two Unbelievable Networking Events — Speed Networking and our Roaring 20’s Party on Monday.

1…Liftoff with first class Abfab presentations on Sunday — Wilson and Bootcamp, Houlihan’s keynote and “You can sell more wearing a funny hat” and Wunk and Technology Camp.

Eric tells me that last minute registrations are breaking records.  Over 50 registered on Monday, and he expects more than 100 more to register by Saturday. Thanks to you all for your support.  We are well ahead of registrations as of this date compared with 2016 and 2015. The last time we were in Chicago (2015) we had 300 walk up registrations. WOW!

Our Exhibition Hall is full, exhibits are being received in the staging areas, Eric is already on site directing the set up, excitement is building throughout the industry. I had 200 emails in my inbox this morning talking about PIE. This will certainly be the Premiere Parking Event of 2017, in more ways than one.

Marcy, Astrid, Kelley, Sue, Francine, Joyce, Robyn and me will be arriving on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We will be in the exhibition and registration area. Come by and let us know you are there. Registration will open at 7:30 on Sunday AM. Coffee is on us.

Register now or Register on site.

See you there.



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PIE 2017 Our “Last Day” is the BEST!!!

The “last day” at trade shows is always terrible. Most people have gone, the exhibitors are standing around talking to each other, some have actually closed their booths and left. The “Last Day” is horrible.

We have tried to give the “Last Day” at PIE 21017 reasons to stay. The exhibit hall is closed, but some of the best seminars are being held. The “Last Day” is an opportunity to hear speakers that make a difference in your business lives. to wit:

  • Social Media and Parking — Kathleen Laney and Bob Harkins talk about social media and how it has changed how we do business and react to many situations.
  • Enforcement and Permit Districts — Julie Dixon always delivers and this seminar will tell you what you need to know.
  • The Golden Age of Parking –– Welcome to the IoT. Sergio Mastronardi or gtechna and Philip Savior , Technology Officer of the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh. Who better to talk about the “Internet of Things.”
  • On Street Technology — Julie Dixon and Patrick Smith talk about what they know best.
  • Searching for Employees — Colleen Niese, CEO of Women in Parking, covers ways to hire the right person, particularly in this world of high tech and the IoT.
  • Clyde Wilson talks about Revenue Control Technology — This consultant and former operator has forgotten more about technology than most of us know.
  • Parking Apps and Connected Cars — Alex Israel and Eugene Tsyrklevich hold for on just what we will be using in 1, 2, or is it 5 years.
  • Do I have to be a Computer Expert or Hire one? — Tom Wunk calls on decades of experience working with technology to answer this question.
  • Parking Management Opens Wider Opportunities — Paul Barter finishes his Keynote address, started Monday, discussing parking in the light of other parking goals in a city, university, or organization.

Nine great reasons not to leave PIE Tuesday evening. Just because these speakers are on the last day doesn’t meant they aren’t headliners. Dixon, Harkins, Mastronardi, Tsyrklevich, Laney, Niese, Wilson, Israel, Wunk, and Barter. These names begin to define our industry. Don’t miss them

Register for PIE here.


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I Hate Politics HATE HATE HATE

I know, hate is a strong word, but I HATE politics. All politics — right, left, center, local, statewide, national, international, European, Canadian, Mexican, the concerns about the Neutral Zone and the Klingons. I hate it all.

Everything is politicized.  I can’t buy a vegetable without feeling guilty that its not organic. My car is polluting the air, there’s not enough rain, there is too much rain, you can’t get facts about anything since there is always a ‘spin.’ The Globe is warming, its cooling, no matter what its caused by the sun, moon, people, oceans, clouds, yikes.

My friend down the street produces the “Avenger” and “Guardian of the Galaxy” movies for Disney. One of her stars said publicly that maybe actors shouldn’t wear their politics on their sleeves since not everyone will agree with them, and maybe not go to their movies. I told my friend that this one ‘gets it,’ and she  deserves a raise. My friend said yes, and so many don’t get it.

She told me that her movies are financially the most successful in Hollywood (by orders of magnitude, grossing literally billions of dollars) because they tell simple stories, there are good guys and bad guys, there is no deep political meaning, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. And guess what, people love them.

Politics has become so viscous that it is separating mothers from daughters, husbands from wives. Lifelong friends cross the street when they see the other coming. What is it when you can’t advertise for a roommate without asking their political affiliation? I mean really.

I refuse to watch any live television. I glance at the front page of the paper (to be sure we haven’t been invaded) then read the funnies. But I can’t read all of them because half of the cartoons are politicized. Don’t even talk about the Oscars.

Its getting so that if I see a story in the paper, and it has any political spin at all, I believe exactly the opposite. It doesn’t matter which side. They are all so twisted there is no way of sussing out the truth. So I just give up.

Psychologists are telling us that their patients are so taken with politics that they are deep in some sort of psychosis, and that the doctors are confused as to how to help them. What the hell is that all about. This is politics, for goodness sake, not whether your mother loved you.

So I have given up politics for Lent. No news, no internet, no discussions, none nada. The depression I have been feeling has lifted. The world looks better. If someone mentions anything political I smile nicely and walk away.  If somehow my laptop locks on to a political blog, I look away.  After dinner, if I want to watch TV, its a couple of reruns of MASH and an NCIS, Bull, or Bones. Then I read mysteries set in 19th century England.

You know, I’ll bet that in a few years the sun will still rise in the East and set in the West. We will still be a free country. Food will still be on the table. Hopefully the streets will be swept and the trash picked up. People will still park their cars.  Music will sooth the savage breast.  (Yes it’s ‘savage breast’ look it up.) Life will go on.

And all will be right with the world.


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