Garage Safety and Security
A Parable of Parking
I’m not prone to writing technical guides, even though I am an engineer. I think a great way to get the reader to go glossy eyed and nod off is to throw some charts on a paper. I’ll stay within my comfort zone and continue to tell stories.
We’ve all heard of the parable of the Good Samaritan. You may not be familiar with the modern day (parking) version of this biblical parable:
A traveler drove his car into an unfamiliar city. It was dark, it was late, and he was weary, so he stopped for the night. He chose a budget hotel with no valet parking. Since it was a last-minute stop, he didn’t pre-book his parking with one of the wonderful parking apps available on his Android or iPhone device. He was drawn to an adjacent low-price parking garage that was dimly lit, but a value price in his eyes.
The traveler parked his car on level seven and worked his way down a dingy stairwell (the elevator was out of service and marked with a permanent sign — obviously no plan to repair it). Missing exit signs and poor floor markings caused him to incorrectly exit onto level three.
As he cautiously opened the rusty door exiting the stairwell, he was attacked. Left in a heap in a back corner of this dark and dingy “value-priced” garage, the traveler labored on the edge of consciousness.
Just then, the first of three different potential buyers of the property walked past him one at a time, each alone, assessing the situation.
The first potential buyer looked at the man who lay on the oil-soaked concrete near some really cool graffiti on the back wall. He asked the man if he had paid for his parking yet. The man, gasping for air (there was a distinct smell of urine present), said that he had. The potential buyer left him and went away, calculating the possible margins and EBIDA that his investment would yield should he choose to purchase the property.
The second potential buyer walked by the man on the ground, saw the cool graffiti, and asked him why he thought he was attacked. The man, barely conscious, said that the lighting sucked and he wasn’t sure the security cameras were working. He said that he thought the garage was not meeting the recommended 5 fc average and 1fc minimum in corners. The injured man said that the IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) makes these recommendations for safety, security and wayfinding.
He also said that he thought that the cameras, if they were in fact functioning, would probably not have shown effective images because of the “color temperature” (the lights were a yellow hue). The man said he thought he remembered that if a garage was lit with lighting that had a color temperature of 4,000 k to 5,000 k, it would help the camera to show good visual color images vs the monochrome look that the yellow lights produce for camera security.
The second potential buyer asked him if he had paid for his parking yet. The man said that he had. The buyer asked him, should he survive, would he choose to park in this garage again. The traveler said absolutely not, but the graffiti was cool. The potential buyer walked away, contemplating making an offer on the garage.
The third potential buyer walked by the man and immediately had compassion for him. He saw the situation and offered to pay for his parking. He surveyed the scene and noticed that the lighting sucked, but he knew of a really good lighting company in Indiana that could help fix the problem. He saw that the security camera lenses had been spray-painted over and were not functional.
The potential buyer smelled the urine and realized that the latest homeless person or drunk to have used the garage as a restroom had recently eaten asparagus and wondered where the guy had bought it as it was out of season.
The potential buyer helped the traveler back to his car and made this promise. “I will put you up in the Hilton, instead of your dive hotel. I’m ‘Diamond,’ and I could use the extra night stay to keep my Diamond status for another year. I will cover all of your expenses while you recover.”
Knowing that lighting, safety and security are paramount to profitability, the third potential buyer recognized that by correcting the deficiencies of the property, the garage would likely yield “sick” (that means great) margins. He immediately made an offer on the property, and it was accepted.
He called the Indiana lighting company, which immediately did a walk-thru. It did a predictive photometric analysis and replaced the high-pressure-sodium lighting with LED lighting (no-glare, of course, because of liability issues). The new lighting now holds the suggested light levels and at a color temperature that supports the new hi-definition security cameras.
The owner painted over the cool graffiti with an excellent durable white reflective paint finish, fixed the elevator, and improved all the signage and wayfinding. He also put extra lighting in the entry and exit points (both vehicular and pedestrian) for added safety and to lure potential clients to park in the now safe parking garage.
Once the project was completed, the new owner saw revenue skyrocket and realized margins that completely erased the cost of the improvements in a matter of weeks, not months, with all the new traffic the garage was getting. His monthlies were retained at record levels, and new lease agreements were collected from local businesses who hadn’t considered using that garage in years.
The traveler fully recovered, and as luck would have it, he decided to move and make the city his new home. After seeking a place to park his beautiful new car, the one he was awarded in his lawsuit against the previous garage owner, he remembered the kindness of the third potential buyer (the new owner), visited his garage, saw the massive improvements, and chose to lease his parking in the same garage where he once nearly lost his life.
Today, the former traveler now parks in what’s called, The Good Samaritan Parking Garage.
Jeff Pinyot is President of ECO Parking Lights/ECO Lighting Solutions (an Indiana lighting company). He can be reached at email@example.com.