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Why is Parking Considered a “Four Letter Word?”

I received a “T” shirt yesterday from Get It Corp.  It was inscribed “ Parking Is not a Four Letter Word Anymore”  I know this is a catch phrase promoting Get It, however it got me to thinking.

If “Parking” is or was a four letter word, why is that?

I was having breakfast at a nearby deli. It is in a strip center and not within walking distance of anywhere. It does a land office business all day.  Why? It has 20 or so parking spaces conveniently located in front just off the street. Folks can roll in and out easily. Without those 20 spaces, this business and others near it would cease to exist.

Sorry, mobility fans, but no amount of buses, bikes, electric scooters, and the like would save this business if parking wasn’t available. The average age of the customers is 70, not your basic scooter or bicycle crowd.

“Parking” certainly isn’t a four letter word for the owner of this deli. He is very much aware that those 20 spaces are critical to the success of his business. He may not think about it every day, but the reality is there. Those 20 spaces here, 30 spaces there tucked in front or behind businesses make them accessible to customers.

The way it works is that if the lot is full, there’s a good chance the deli is pretty full. If there are spaces, there is room for you inside. By the way, parking here is free and uncontrolled.

With a nod to Don Shoup, of course the parking isn’t free, the cost of maintaining that parking space is factored into the cost of your pastrami sandwich. So be it.

My friends at Get It Corp indicate on their web site that they are basically referring to large parking operations in office buildings and hotels. And frankly, parking there can be relegated to a ‘four letter word’ category.

However ever since we parked the first cars in the homes of the horses they replaced, parking has been a necessity both for the driver and the merchant. If it became a ‘four letter word’ whose fault is that. It’s yours and mine, kind readers.  We, as an industry, have focused on reducing cost, reducing personnel, and putting technology in place. Has all this really helped, or has it moved us into the “four letter word” category?

The Financial Times in the UK asked its readers (find the article on Parknews.biz) how they felt about technology and the like and were deluged with complaints, most from those with a little gray on the roof. The apps may be convenient for those who are familiar with smart phones but many are not. I loved this comment from the FT:

Further into the future, you might not even need an app to park at all. Your in-car computer system will simply flash up “Do you want to pay for parking?” when you pull into a space. This sounds like the height of convenience. But maybe you’ll need your children to explain how it works.

JVH

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