JVH’s Corner

Point of View: Air Travel, History, More on Tech

I took a quick trip that required air travel. I have a couple of comments.   First, air travel seems to be “back.” I took four flights, and every one was completely full. The days of stretching out and using that empty seat next to you are gone.   One

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Point of View: Passages

It is difficult to realize that as people age, their abilities in certain areas change. A friend pointed out that when running the Boston Marathon, to qualify at age 30 one has to run at a certain time, but at age 60, it is a different (longer) time. Those in

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Point of View: Mind Boggling, a Favorite Law, the News

January 2024   would have thought that a business transaction in the parking industry would involve the number $1.5 billion? What venture capitalist would consider dropping that kind of change to purchase a parking operator? It boggles the mind.   Yet, apparently, it has happened.   Metropolis has attracted the

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Point of View: Privacy, Time, and of course, EVs

John Van Horn   Privacy, is it important?   A friend of mine has predicted that the government will shortly outlaw the use of $100 bills. The reason? That will force us to use credit cards. A number of stores are becoming ‘credit card only.’ That is, if you want

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It Depends

October, 2023 The Ins and Outs of EV Infrastructure John Van Horn   Ask ABM   When I asked Justin Halstead, VP of eMobility and Electrical Infrastructure at ABM, about electrical vehicle (“EV”) charging infrastructure issues, he often started his responses with: “It depends,” reflecting the complexities involved with evaluating,

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Larry Donoghue, 1919-2023

John Van Horn   For those of you who were honored to know Larry, you know that he was a good man, a gentleman, and a wonderful story teller. We received this from his daughter Patti. I post it without any changes. “Laurie?” Who Knew… Take a few minutes and

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Point of View: Why I Love Parking, and Taylor

October, 2023 John Van Horn   Bill Smith wrote a great piece in the September issue of Parking Today on why he loves parking. I would like to add my two cents.   Parking can be a complex process. Sure, you can just open the gates and let people park, but that’s

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Point of View: It’s a Contract – and 15 Minutes…

September, 2023 John Van Horn   Let’s tell it like it is. Our industry has a bad reputation. Garages are dirty and filled with crime. Prices are through the roof ($30 for the first 10 minutes in some places). Citations are given without forethought. PEOs are so afraid of their

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What is Mobility? Plus, it’s Hard to Make it Easy

Just what is “mobility”? The best answer I can get is that it’s the use of some way to get from Point A to Point B without using a privately owned vehicle. Consider: bus, bike, scooter, feet (walk), light rail, and metro.  They all get you from A to B

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Point of View: My Normal Self, and, of Course, EVs

June, 2023   For those of you who might have noticed that I haven’t been my normal self lately, I thought you deserved an explanation. Seventeen years ago I had a heart valve replaced. I was told at the time that the new valve would last between 15 and 20

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Point of View, a Retrospective?

May, 2023 I have been distracted with PIE and other issues, so I decided to look back a few years and rerun a few postings from the past – they seem to still work today. I have become so disheartened with the news and other programs on television that I simply

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Point of View: Our Psyche and THE LAW

March, 2023   I have received a gazillion emails touting local health spas and online health programs. Get your body in shape for the new year. Yeah, right. Not that getting in shape isn’t a good idea, but aren’t we forgetting one part of our psyche? Our mind. What can we

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Point of View: Are We Doing Ourselves a Disservice?

February, 2023   Astrid Ambroziak, our Parknews.biz editor, reports that she is getting news every day that crime in parking, read that in garages and with PEOs in on the rise, up in some areas as much as 95 percent. What are we, as an industry, doing about it? It

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…And He Was Frightened

From Point of View, December 2021 – I cannot improve on it. The phrase “In Hoc Anno Domini” refers to the conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Every year, on Christmas Eve, the Wall Street Journal reprints an editorial under that title written for its pages in

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A Great Leader

I’m pulling together the October issue of PT and am humbled by the articles we have on hand. We reached out to organizations industry wide and received nearly 30 responses. The goal was to have a description of ‘leadership.’ In other words, “what makes a leader?” We gave them a

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Parking is Necessary

We are constantly harangued by those who know more than we do that the world’s problems relate back to parking. There is too much of it. It costs too much, or too little. It takes up space that could be put to better use. You know the rest. Nature has

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Top Gun and A Personal Battle with Covid

From time to time I attempt a movie review. I will not in this case. There is no need. The public has spoken, as have the professional reviewers. This is one hell of a movie.  It’s a wild ride, but the underlying message is far too important to skip over.

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EVs, Human Centric, and Industry News

Chase is launching a program to place EV charging at 50 of its branches across the fruited plain. They are partnering with EVgo and plan to expand the pilot program to an additional 400 branches by the end of the year. More power to them. Pun intended. Chase publications note

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Toledo Ticket Technologies – How a Company Pivots

Just what do you do when you are looking disaster in the face? One company did everything possible to keep going in the face of Covid, and then made a perfect pivot. It kept its heritage and opened a new chapter in its history. “We really weren’t sure what tickets

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I Eat Some Crow

I will open this with a bit of crow eating. My buddy Tony in Portland has criticized me for using the term “our betters” in various articles I have written over the years. It is a facetious way to name the elites, the government officials, and those who run the media

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A Keynote, Defending, and Yes, Vegas Baby

Our Keynote speaker next month at PIE is an old and dear friend of mine, someone I knew when we both were new in parking, Cindy Campbell. I first met her in person when she was running the parking operation at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in California. She was

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Against my Interest, Curiosity, MaaS

Bloomberg labs has published an article by Eric Jaffe on a study done by a bunch of Italian statisticians concerning folks’ preference to cars over other types of transit, even when it costs more to drive the car than take rapid transit or other types of transportation. Their theory is

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Dog Bites Man, Can you Focus?

I blasted through a headline over at Parknews.biz concerning parking at Trader Joe’s. It was, I thought, a ‘dog bites man’ story. After all, we all know that every Trader Joe’s is a small store with a large clientele, and a correspondingly small parking footprint. You know that if you drive

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The Biggest Risk of All…

From my Blog, December 2020: The phrase “In Hoc Anno Domini” refers to the conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Every year, on Christmas Eve, the Wall Street Journal reprints an editorial under that title written for its pages in 1949 by Vermont Royster. It doesn’t mention

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Are we Binary? And, the Chicken or the Egg?

Let’s start with a quick note – take the time to read Jeff Pinyot’s column on page 14 in this issue. It is perhaps the best thing he has ever written.  Sometimes, I think about right and wrong, yes and no, up and down, on and off, in and out.

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Reading and Driving

Reading can be recreation, like watching TV. Except that when you watch TV, no mental activity is required. You simply sit and it washes over you. When you read a book, your eyes, your brain, and dare I say it, your very psyche are engaged. You are required to translate

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Planners Disregard the Facts

“It is of concern that civic planners, garage designers, developers, and academics concerned with the future of parking facilities seem to disregard the facts of the automobile population and the purchasing power of the millennial generation when discussing the future of the parking industry. The numbers fly in the face

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Rethinking Parking, Indy at 40, Common Sense

I know, I know – I’m a contrarian. Someone says up, I say down. Someone says white, I say black. I get this from being right so many times. (No arrogance there). My contrarian roots got tickled by an article in the Wall Street Journal. Astrid grabbed it and the story

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It’s the Right Thing to Do!

I have spoken to a number of people who have been vaccinated, and their experiences have been positive. Not just that they are now protected from the virus, but the people they met at the vaccination center were happy, positive, and as one colleague put it, high on Pfizer. Robyn and

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Automated Parking at Helms Campus

When you see a fully automated garage it can be impressive. When Dasher Lawless President and Founder Christopher Alan gives a tour, you literally climb into the machine and get to watch it work from the inside out. This one is a five-story stand-alone fully automated parking structure, with 247

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We’re Back, Live and in Person

I was in Las Vegas last month and the city was abuzz with the news that the World of Concrete would be held in early June at the city’s convention center. The in-person convention is expected to bring more than 50,000 people to the gambling mecca. The city’s mayor, the Nevada

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How Do You Monitor and Enforce Drop-off Rules?

The Curb…it’s a place to park, it’s a place to drop off, it’s a place to wait, it’s a place to unload. The problem, from a city’s point of view, is how to monitor and enforce the rules for all that activity and not break the bank doing so. The

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Secom – 45 Years of Parking Innovation

“From the beginning, over 45 years ago, we felt that the system in a garage had to be online, and frankly, if it went down, it went down. We have never believed that offline works at all. It was rough sledding in the beginning trying to convince customers that there

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The Original Nine

When I ran a small country newspaper, one of the merchants came to see me and told me “I never want to see the Fillmore Herald in print without my store’s name in it.”  If you are not in the publishing business, you may not realize just how important advertising

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From the Blogosphere

These three blog posts on parkingtoday.com drew a lot of attention over the past month. I felt it appropriate to reprise them here. Editor Open Schools, Stop the Domino Affect It seems that many areas around the country have ‘met’ the requirement to open schools, but have not because ‘teachers

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25 Years and a Zero-sum Game

Twenty-Five years seems to some like a long time, but for me it went by in the blink of an eye. Parking Today Volume One Number One was a little shaky. We knew little about layout, printing, and finding good content. Google was only a dream in Larry Page’s and

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The PT Team Speaks Out

Robyn Van Horn Director of Marketing and Operations While I have only officially worked at Parking Today for just over five years, as John Van Horn’s wife, I have been intimately involved in the company since before the first issue was published in April 1996. That magazine, and many more,

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25 Years, Getting Out, The Price of Stuff

It was 1996. Bill Clinton was elected president. Gas was $1.22 a gallon. The Dow closed the year at 6,400. Mad Cow Disease was ravaging the UK. Prince Charles and Diana were divorced. Nintendo 64 and DVDs were launched in Japan. Gunmen attack in Scotland and Tasmania. The summer Olympics

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Park a Car, Rent a Scooter: A Solution to the Last Mile Problem

“Now is the time for owners and operators to be looking at more diverse revenue streams in their garages. As we emerge out of the pandemic, daily/monthly parking with office buildings will return. However, the needs and expectations of customers has changed.” Thus Tyler DuMont, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

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Cars are Freedom, How Can We Help?

There are two articles over on Parknews.biz that caught my eye. One has to do with “Parking Hunger Games,” the difficulty of finding on street parking in New York City, and the other commenting on how people are buying cars like mad so they will have a way to get

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Airplanes, the TSA, and PIE

I hadn’t been on an airplane for nine months. For most, that doesn’t seem unusual, but checking my calendar for 2019, I was averaging two to three plane flights a month. The pandemic had put me on the ground.  I was reacting to news stories and empty parking lots at LAX.

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The Holidays, and MeTV

The holidays shouldn’t be too difficult this year. What with politics, the virus, and our betters telling us not to celebrate, what could possibly go wrong? Here I am the day before Halloween (cancelled in Los Angeles, but going on, nevertheless) writing about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ah, the foibles of

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Bored, a Serious Crisis, Busybodies

I have been sitting here trying to figure out what to write. Normally, I am bubbling over with ideas to put down on paper, or planning the next interview, or making sure the sails of the good ship PT are properly furled and checking my calendar to be sure I have

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I Can Upgrade my Existing Car to “Park Itself”

Sure, I saw the commercial on the Super Bowl where the car parked itself, but I don’t want to have to rush out and buy a Hyundai. I have a perfectly fine 2018 Toyota. But those self-parking features looked great! Enter Dr. Anuja Sonalker, CEO of STEER Tech, a Maryland

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Buying Cars Out of Fear, The Button, and Pray or Park

Over on Parknews.biz, Astrid has posted an article from the The Atlantic Magazine. The article posits that millennials are buying cars. Yes, this group that shunned personal vehicles is buying them in very large numbers. Although the person quoted in the article (it’s actually a podcast interview where an Atlantic

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Is Parking Back? The Little Things, Opportunity

Celebrations like Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day are among the things that define the American Experiment. When we declared independence from England nearly 250 years ago, the country didn’t magically become ‘free’ and all our people ‘equal’. We took off one cloak and replaced it with another. The

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Is Parking Back?

Is parking back? Will the recovery be a “V” or a lopsided “S”? The answers to these questions mean jobs, profit, and, in some cases, survival. Parking Today reached out to industry leaders and received encouraging news. In some cases, it was counterintuitive. An owner in Chicago, for instance, is

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Racism? Here’s what I think…

With the furor surrounding Black Lives Matter and the tendency to find racism in virtually everything, I find it difficult to write about it. Simply put, I don’t believe that systemic racism nor ‘a racist under every rock’ exist in America today. Are there racists in America? Of course there

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Of Race, Humanity, and AI

We are getting a lot of reaction to Astrid’s first-person blog post last month on the riots in Los Angeles. I just reread it and I believe the positive reaction is because her post comes from love, not hate and anger. It’s so easy to criticize and show your anger.

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Experts, Churchill, and Ad Space

Author Erik Larson writes historical nonfiction based on tremendous in-depth research about his subject. He quotes sources and diarists and blends two or more complex tales to bring us terrific books like “The Devil in White City”, “Thunderstruck”, “The Garden of Beasts” and now, his latest, “The Splendid and the

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Recovery, Hiatus, Dispersion

As I write this in the first week in April, I pray that when you read it, we will have turned that famous corner. My prediction is that we will have done so.  I’m preparing May issue of Parking Today and have come across an article we will be featuring.

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Roll the Dice, Classwork, It’s Obvious

The State of Nevada has changed the requirements to get a driver’s license. They have removed the part of the driving test that asks the driver to parallel park. Seems that this is the part of the test most failed by the prospective driver. So, naturally, why not just remove

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Look Outside, Silicon Valley, Social Media

Longtime readers know that I love to take the temperature of one issue or another by simply looking around. Weather – look outside. Automated vehicles and electric cars – check out the neighborhood. Is the Metro popular – count the number of people on the train as it whizzes by.

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Inaccessible Parking Facilities

Under the UK’s Equality Act 2010, businesses and organizations have a responsibility to make sure that disabled people can access their goods and services as easily as non-disabled people. This is known as the ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’. Within the parking sector, this duty is usually met by operators providing wider

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Connecting the Last Mile of Mobility

The Arrive/Flowbird sponsored roundtable held at CES in Las Vegas brought some surprises that even the organizers might not have expected. Technology is the leader, but in a number of cases, those using the technology found it to be wanting.  Arrive CEO, Yona Shtern opened the event with a summary

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Why I Love Parking

I don’t think I ever really loved parking – Joe Sciulli, CAPP Just reflecting, but I don’t think I ever really loved parking. I LOVE airplanes! But second to that, I like helping people — A LOT.  Short of being a flight attendant (which crossed my mind when I was thinking

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Separate the Parking Experience from the Money

When I spoke at a recent regional parking event, I was riffing on the money involved in municipal parking. I told the story of a parking manager who, when asked if he was there to protect the asset known as parking or collect money, asked “on the record or off

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Frictionless, The Belly of the Beast, and Merry…

I’m writing this the day after Halloween, so it’s difficult to get in the Christmas spirit. I usually reserve most of the gift buying for the week (if not the day) before Christmas and put great pressure on FedEx.  But this time of year isn’t about gift giving, unless you

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Speak up – It Could Change your Life

I’m honored that we could devote an entire issue of parking today to veterans and promote stories about their experiences and how those experiences transfer to job skills here in the nonmilitary sector.  In reading the articles I noted one theme that comes across time after time, that of teamwork.

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The Veterans in Parking Issue

When John Van Horn approached me to serve as Guest Editor for this November issue of Parking Today – the Veterans in Parking Issue – I was naturally humbled and honored. The coincidence of the timing was not lost upon me, either. It was 30 years ago to the month

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VC Money, Clarity, and the Big Apple

Over at his Power 2 Go blog, Keith Jones expresses concern that mergers and acquisitions and the influx of venture capital money into the parking operations world may affect the way operators see their customers. His concern is that once VC money arrives, a company’s concern may move from customer

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Off Airport vs. Airport Parking: Competitors or Partners?

PT: Airports often see Off Airport Parking Operations as direct competitors. How do you see your relationship with land-side airport operations? JF: I see our relationship with airports as partners first, and competitors second. Ultimately, we are both working toward the same goal: to provide a great experience for travelers

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Hard Core and Commoditization

“Wow! He’s really hard core, isn’t he”? That’s the response I got when I gave a five minute talk to the Parking Resource Forum held last month in Southern California. I seemed to have tweaked a few sacred cows. The Forum is primarily designed for municipalities and discussions are relevant

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Heart of Darkness, FOMO, Road Diet

Melbourne’s Elizabeth Taylor has written a fantastic piece for the online publication of Monash University which takes us through the maze of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and likens our industry’s major issues to the obsession of Conrad’s major character. For those of you without a literary background, like me,

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Twitter, a Blood Sport, an Agenda

My comments on my blog about Tony Jordan and Portland created a Twitter storm, well maybe a Twitter drizzle, and I found myself lambasted from as far away as Singapore and as close to home as the PDXshoupistas. My problem isn’t criticism, I have a fairly thick skin. My problem

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Chalking, Taxis, and Micromanaging

A federal court in the Midwest has ruled that chalking is no longer legal in five midwestern states. What the heck is that all about? It seems that a lawyer in Michigan took a parking citation all the way to Federal Court and won. The court ruled that chalking was similar

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Stress, Uncertainty, and Selling Bananas

The Parking Industry must adapt to changing times. We must become involved in planning and government as urban areas evolve. Parking is part of the future. Terms like ‘reinventing,’ mobility, planning models, and ecosystem are sprinkled liberally in sage publications like this one. Wags like me post platitudes, like those

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Conference Featuring Israeli Parking Technology

Conference Featuring Israeli Parking Technology Israel is known for its high-tech sector, and parking is not forgotten. The Israel Conference on Parking, Traffic and Transportation will be held in Jerusalem on May 15 featuring companies from across the country and presentations by leaders in the field. Conference Organizer Pini Cabessa

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Parking Industry ExpoĀ  2019 Breaks All RecordsĀ 

PIE 2019 is in the record books and broke its attendance records with nearly 1,200 attendees visiting Chicago the second week in March to attend the event. “We are proud of our event this year. It was exciting, informative, and fun,” commented Show Operations manager Marcy Sparrow. “Our heartfelt thanks

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George and Gracie

I’m told I’m a story teller. I was asked to craft a story to go with Dale Denda’s presentation last month at PIE. He posits that we may be looking at the numbers, or failing to look at numbers, concerning auto travel from a perspective that could cloud the issue.

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It’s All About Clarity

I have been musing about name changes and when I did my daily review of Parknews.biz I noted that a large number of the stories focus on “Mobility” in their headlines and leading paragraphs. In some cases, parking isn’t mentioned until halfway through the story. Every one of the companies mentioned

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PIE, Gas v. Electric, and a Unicorn

When you come to PIE, you bring a world of experience to share. You also bring issues to solve. Whether it is curb congestion, revenue collection, enforcement, your customer’s attitude toward parking, or confusion over technology, they are all on the table at PIE 2019. It seems that we all

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Carbon Footprints and Mobility

The World Resource Institute is hawking a blog that is bemoaning the fact that urban sprawl exists and therefore an individual’s carbon footprint is larger since they have things like houses, gardens, and cars, plus have to drive farther to get to work. The WRI posits that we should live

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The Holidays, a “Mamil,” Landlords in East Orange

It’s All Hallows Eve as I write and the mind immediately turns to the holidays. Thanksgiving and then Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Chinese New Year. Except for Ramadan, these holidays fall during the winter months. They all involve celebrations and have roots in religion. I know little of the others, but

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Disruption in Parking – Another Look

Back in Early October, I wrote an article poo-pooing disruption in our industry. At the recent Temecula Group gathering, some members expressed disagreement. It may have to do with definitions. Consider this one: A disrupter creates new markets and value networks and eventually displaces existing market leading firms’ products and

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Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Well that was scary, for a minute, anyway. When I was given the honor of being this month’s editor for the special Women in Parking edition of Parking Today Magazine a few things immediately went through my mind. At first, I was wondering just what the heck John Van Horn

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A WOW Year for WIP

One year ago, I was approached and asked to be the incoming Women in Parking chairperson. I was honored and flattered. For the past five years I was the numbers girl behind the scenes as the WIP treasurer. I paid the bills, I made sure we didn’t spend too much

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A Chat with JVH

Back in 2011 founder of Parking Today Magazine, John Van Horn, felt women in our industry needed a voice. His wife, Robyn Van Horn, said he should create a women’s group and let it take off. So, in May of 2011 he assembled nine women in a room and then

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Bob Dylan and the Arena

Back in the day, particularly in Manhattan, but in other places as well, parking was all about price and availability. If there was space, you charged what you could get, collected it, and let the driver park the car. Garages were cold, dark, and frankly, pretty dirty. You parked, found

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It’s About the Curb…

When I suggested to a group of municipal parking gurus that there was a program that could allow delivery companies to reserve curb time to make their deliveries and stop that incessant double parking that clogs our streets, I got one response: “How would you enforce it?” and then the

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Donald Shoup’s New Book

UCLA Professor Donald Shoup made a name for himself and the parking industry in 2005 when he published his treatise The High Cost of Free Parking. The book made him a “Parking Rock Star” and the “go to guy” for media when sage parking quotes were needed. “Many people think

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Are We Individuals or Sheeple? The Carrot and the Stick Theory

I had a nice chat the other day with David Straus, Executive Director of ACT, the Association for Commuter Transportation. According to its website it’s an organization that works with the government to make commuter transportation less focused on single occupancy vehicles through Transportation Demand Management. Fair enough. Reading through its

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Expensive Solutions, Summertime, and The Big Apple

When I was rereading a piece found in my favorite magazine about TDM and how our betters seem to go for the big, expensive solution to all our problems, I got to thinking about some big, expensive solutions and just how well they succeeded. Consider the high-speed rail line being

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Obituaries

Tim Flanagan, Sentry Controls With a heavy heart, I need to let you know that Tim Flanagan passed away. He went peacefully with his family at his side. Tim’s spirit and passion for his employees and our business was unmatched. One of my favorite things he always said was, “Take care

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Optimism of Youth, Transportation, and Bots…

I have been to two parking trade events so far this year, the IPI and PIE. I’ll tell you about the IPI in a minute, but first I want to comment on a feeling that seems to be in the air. I felt it first at PIE. There was an indescribable

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John Van Horn is the founder and editor emeritus of Parking Today. He can be reached at jvh@parkingtoday.com

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