Wednesday, June 1, 2011

International Parking Institute Conference 2011

Last week I had the great opportunity to meet parking professionals from all over the country and beyond at the International Parking Institute's (IPI) Conference and Expo at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

The conference brought together more than 2,000 industry leaders and featured over 40 education sessions, various workshops, countless networking opportunities, and an expo hall with approximately 200 vendors of parking technology, mobile parking apps, car sharing services, and more.

This year's conference focused on the "vital role parking and parking professionals play in transportation, economic development and revitalization, traffic flow, college and university life, hospitality, commercial and residential real estate, sport and entertainment venues, retail, security, law enforcement - and more."  IPI introduced the new Parking Matters campaign at the opening session of the conference with this great video:

The conference also featured a Sustainability/Transportation education track that featured workshops regarding developing a sustainable parking and transportation plan, using technology to achieve sustainability in parking, building a bike farm, a case study regarding the design and building of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and more.

I got some great ideas from "Building a Bike Barn In Your Organization" hosted by JC Porter, Assistant Director of Transportation at Boise State.  JC shared Boise's experience in designing and developing sheltered and secured bike parking in one of their parking facilities, the Brady Garage.  The Brady Bike Barn can store up to 65 bikes in a fenced in area of the garage that is accessible via a keycard entry gate.

While at the conference I also got to catch up with our friends at Zipcar.  Our account manager, Rich, was on hand with one of Zipcars new Prius plug-in hybrids that they've introduced in Boston, Cambridge, San Francisco and Portland (OR).  These new Zipcars are part of a larger pilot project being tested around the U.S.  The new Prius plug-in can charge in about 1.5-3 hours depending on the voltage of the connection(110-220) and can run for about 13 miles before reverting back to its standard hybrid operation.  According to Zipcar's chairman and chief executive, Scott Griffith, about a third of all Zipcar reservations are made for trips equaling less than 13 miles.

The expo featured some other great advancements in technology, including an array of mobile apps.  One such app, developed by Streetline, allows users to find available parking on their mobile device, thus eliminating congestion and emissions associated with cars circling the streets or garages looking for open parking.  Another great app, developed by ParkMobile, which allows users to pay parking fees on their phone instead of using single space meters or multi-space meters.  Parkmobile even has the ability for electric car parkers to pay charging fees.

In other P&T news, while I was away our Operations crew was able to post the signs at the newly installed crosswalk at Rotunda Alley.  The crosswalk came from the efforts of Range residents Thomas Berenato and Ilon Weeldreyer who brought this safety concern to Helen Wilson (Architect's Office) and myself.  Rotunda Alley is located just off of Hospital Drive and acts as the entrance to the East Range area.  The Range itself creates a large blind spot to motorists approaching in both directions, putting pedestrians at risk while crossing.  We presented this issue to the University's Security and General Safety Committee, which Helen and I both serve on.  The committee is compromised of faculty, staff and students appointed by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  The committee unanimously voted to support the placement of a crosswalk and signage to alert motorists and hopefully cause them to slow down through this area.  The crosswalk was painted by Facilities Management and our sign shop installed the signs in late May.

And finally, I leave you with this photo from a restaurant in Pittsburgh.  Nice try Pittsburgh, but nothing beats The White Spot in Charlottesville.