Mobility in Motion


Mobility in Motion

I’m not new to this word “mobility.” Being mobile has been a priority for a long time. I want to be physically mobile, with flexible joints and muscles; I try to be mentally mobile with an open and adaptable mind; and it’s definitely a goal to be upwardly mobile – and I don’t just mean financially. I’d like to think that I am always in motion in a direction that is positive. 

More and more, I hear this word “mobility” applied to parking and transportation and it definitely fits. 

Flexibility – In parking, making things work in a complicated setting requires flexibility. As a driver and parker, I’m required to get myself to so many different places in different kinds of traffic with different parking options. 

During the last week, I have parked in a paid garage, a free garage, a free lot, a metered street and valet. I unintentionally parked my own car in the valet area at my local mall last weekend. I stepped out of my car just as the valet attendant walked up to the podium and opened the umbrella. I thought valet was closed and the open parking spots were up for grabs, but it turned out, I’d arrived at the exact moment valet service commenced. I had no idea what to do, but the attendant offered to let me move my car or turn in my keys. 

Neither one of us was sure about the rules in this situation, but he bent a little and I bent a little and we decided to leave my car in place. I gave him my keys and when I returned, he brought me my car and I gave him a tip. It worked, because we were flexible.

Adaptability – I took a trip to San Francisco with some friends and found the joy of the Uber. In truth, I found out a lot of things about Uber, such as, some Uber drivers don’t smell good and others don’t know where they’re going. But the truth about how easy and convenient it is to summon a car was my main discovery. 

This is a trend I had not yet adapted to or even experienced. I was hugely intimidated by the idea of riding around with a stranger and using an app to organize my transportation. I’m old fashioned that way. It helped to try it out with friends who adapted a long time ago and thought it was no big deal. Now that I’ve tried it, I see how simple it is. I might just use it the next time I’m tempted to wait for the car dealerships’ courtesy shuttle. I will definitely use it when I travel in the future.

Positivity – my childhood coincided with the age of the Yuppie, and the phrase “upwardly mobile” still brings to mind shoulder pads and BMWs. I had strong faith in the idea that it was essential and important to increase the security of my position through education and expanding prosperity. But it wasn’t just about money to me, it was about an attitude that people can achieve anything if they work hard enough.

The belief in moving forward with purpose propelled me through high school, college and the early years of my career. It pushes me now as I try to share that approach with my children. And it works in places like the parking industry where change requires a commitment to exploring opportunities and possibilities.

I took my daughter to the dentist last week and while I waited for her to have her teeth cleaned and pronounced cavity free, I began a conversation with a man in the lobby. He appeared to be in his 70s and he was waiting for his wife. Both of them are partially blind. We were all departing at the same time when I heard them discussing their Uber reservation. 

I felt real concern as they squinted at their phones, scanned the parking lot for a “silver Camry” and eventually drifted out into the parking lot’s passing lane. The thought of them struggling to use this really helpful service made me frustrated. It’s great that they can get around as they need to, but it shouldn’t be so hard.

I wished they had a handicapped placard that they could use to ensure their ride began from a handicapped parking spot. Or it would be great if there was a designated loading zone or parking spot for shared rides. These would be positive changes – especially for people like this man and his wife. 

I like the words “parking” and “transportation” – but here’s to “mobility,” the word that puts them together and requires them to evolve.

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick
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