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The Word is Out No Vendor Pitches

February 17, 2020

Julie Dixon

The Parking Resource Forum is returning to PIE 2020! Last year was such a great success introducing the Mid West Parking Resource Forum in Chicago that we are incorporating the California regional Parking Resource Forum Groups into one dynamic meeting session. This is a great opportunity to contribute your experiences and to listen and learn from your industry colleagues. 


If you haven’t attended the Parking Resource Forum, you should know that we began with our first meeting in August 2014 when the (then) San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. (SFMTA) Parking Meter Superintendent George Reynolds approached me and suggested that we coordinate a gathering of municipal parking meter personnel from around the Bay Area to discuss their parking programs and operations. We solicited local agencies with the original invitation to the San Francisco Parking Meter Forum:


The SFMTA Parking Meter Division will be hosting a forum focused on parking technology solutions and a discussion on general best practices for on-street parking. Through this event, we aim to establish a resource group within the region that can provide a support network for operational, performance support and overall parking issues. 


It seems like such a simple idea, but no one had coordinated something like this free event. The response was overwhelming (it didn’t hurt that the SFMTA Meter Shop provides a delicious BBQ lunch). Since August 2014, the lively and interchanging group has met quarterly with various representatives from agencies of all types and department representatives. The group evolved to become the Northern California Parking Resource Forum. We quickly found that we weren’t just discussing parking meters, but all aspects of a parking program including technology, operations, maintenance, enforcement and administration. The candid and open discussions were engaging and informational with the attendees learning from each other. Word got out and vendors requested to attend to learn from those on the front line sharing their experiences. There’s always been one rule – No Vendor Pitches! – and most everyone has respected this approach and found the value and opportunity to understand the challenges of the day-to-day operations.   


Following the success of the first gathering at the SFMTA Meter Shop, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Ken Hustings suggested that he could provide a meeting facility if we could coordinate a similar event in Los Angeles.  In October 2014, we hosted the first Southern California Meter Forum with the same invitation and a vendor sponsored lunch. The response was overwhelming and we have over 80 attendees at the inaugural meeting.  Similar to the first group, the interactive discussions quickly expanded beyond a meter discussion and this group also transformed into the Southern California Parking Resource Forum and we meet twice per year (January and July).


It’s been exciting watching these networking groups develop and witnessing the direct impact of peer feedback on the parking programs throughout the State. There are over 600 California Forum members who have participated at some point over the last 5 years. The meetings have moved throughout their regions including visits to San Leandro, Alameda, Sacramento, LA Metro, Oceanside, Seal Beach, Garden Grove and LADOT. But, everyone is always stoked when we head back to the SFMTA Meter Shop to not only experience and learn from the SF Crew but also to partake in some fabulous BBQ.  


Now, while we can’t bring the BBQ experience to PIE 2020, we can bring the PIE Parking Resource Forum to San Diego. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to share your experiences and learn from your peers. This interactive session is a great way to initiate your PIE engagement. Last year, we gathered in Chicago with a diverse representation of parking programs from across the country. Everyone is asked to participate and discuss their operational experiences and lessons learned. This is how we can establish industry best practices and not be destined to repeat the same mistakes. We can learn from each other and the PIE Parking Resource Forum is the opportunity to start the process.


This is also an opportunity to unite the Northern & Southern California Resource Forums in one venue. We will retain the format.  Everyone will introduce themselves and share a detail about their parking experience and then the conversation begins. No topic is off limits and we tend to cover a lot of ground.  Looking forward to seeing everyone in my hometown as we welcome you to San Diego.


Julie Dixon is CEO of Dixon Resources Unlimited – She can be reached at julie@dixonresourcesunlimited,com. 


   



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