I interviewed Joe Wenderoth, Executive Vice President of Lanier Parking in Atlanta this week. It’s a wide ranging discussion and will appear in November’s Parking Today. One topic struck home.
Joe says that the successful parking operators will be looking at the entire project, not just the part where cars are parked. This includes all types of transportation such as shuttles, light rail, bicycles, walking, and the rest. As the pressure to reduce the number of cars in central cities increases, operators will need to move seamlessly into the role of providing and managing all transportation systems that affect a complex.
He spoke in detail about Atlanta Station, a new complex that combines shopping, residential, entertainment, and office space in the central city. This area has parking, sure, but the majority of people come and go through rapid transit, shuttles, foot traffic, bicycles, and the like. All that has to be coordinated and his company is focusing on doing just that.
Holistic is a buzz word, but its meaning is important. In medicine it means treating the entire patient, not just the cancer or broken arm, but the emotional and psychological as well. In addressing the issues of building complexes, holistic refers to all parts of the project. That means parking, but parking affects the design. Environmental concerns are on the top of everyone’s list. That means rapid transit and how people get from the local station to the complex. That means signage and traffic flow, security and information.
I think Joe is on to something. As automation kicks in and fewer and fewer people are needed to run garages, the successful operators will change their approach. And they had better start doing it now.