Automated Robotic Parking

A professional look at the automated parking industry.

1.2 million spaces but nowhere to park

Posted on | January 16, 2012 | No Comments

I was recently reminded of the phrase “the cobbler’s children have no shoes“, referring to a phenomena where people who are successful at doing something but don’t demonstrate that in their own backyard, or in this case, their parking lot.

An article in The Tennessean tells how Central Parking, a company which has 2,500 parking facilities and 1.2 million parking spaces, has run short of parking spaces at their headquarters. This causes employees to park on the nearby residential streets causing frustration to those who live there by blocking driveways and disrupting trash pickups.  Perhaps I should send some sample designs of our Boomerang System, which could add parking spots while saving space.   Read the article here

It may be hard to fathom, but Central Parking has run short of employee parking spots at its headquarters, and neighbors in nearby Hillsboro Village say workers are blocking driveways and causing unnecessary congestion.

“They just don’t care,” said Susan Spry, whose home is closest to Central Parking’s headquarters at 2401 21st Ave. “It’s totally ridiculous. I’ve lived here 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before. The people who park here are rude and mean.”

Frustrated neighbors who live along West Linden Avenue say problems started in the spring when Nashville-based Central Parking System consolidated some operations into its headquarters at the corner of 21st and West Linden avenues. They say not enough has been done to fix things since.

“We call and nothing happens,” said resident Mary Skinner, who said she couldn’t go to a doctor’s appointment one day because her driveway was blocked.

The company, which has 2,500 parking facilities and 1.2 million parking spaces nationally, says it’s trying to work things out. Neighbors say a solution hasn’t come fast enough.

“I have a major problem in front of my home,” West Linden resident Nancy Nace said, pointing at a car partially blocking her driveway and another one in front of a fire hydrant near her house. “My friends can’t even visit anymore because they can’t find a place to park.”

Other residents say Central Parking employees even move residents’ garbage cans onto sidewalks on trash day to free up parking spaces, and trash goes uncollected.

“It’s become a battle between their employees and us,” said resident Maryjane Wright. “Central Parking doesn’t want to spend any money to help the employees find parking, so they’re letting us fight it out.”

Problem acknowledged

“Central Parking has been going through a significant transformation since 2010, and its corporate office has made a substantial investment in the Nashville community by adding nearly 100 new jobs to the existing workforce at the company’s headquarters,” the company said in a statement. “At times this has put pressure on available parking.

“We have been working proactively with neighborhood representatives, including a Metro government council member, Burkley Allen, to minimize any issues, and we have instituted telecommuting to minimize any congestion,” the company said.

Central Parking said it has a neighborhood liaison, or point person, ready to take complaints by phone or email.

Allen, the District 18 councilwoman who was elected from the area that includes Hillsboro Village, said Central Parking is short about 40-60 spaces.

“They are centralizing their field functions, pulling people into that office, and that is causing the problem on West Linden. It’s that way in neighborhoods bordering Vanderbilt and Belmont universities, too. But in most of the affected areas, there are ongoing communications with the neighborhood groups. Belmont is working to build more parking as fast as they can.”

Central Parking officials have met with Allen, West Linden residents, Metro police and the city’s Public Works Department.

Resident Cleve Weathers, who is a lawyer, said he has been inconvenienced by the overflow of vehicles.

“Central Parking has multiple solutions they could use,” Weathers said. “It might cost them some money, but why should they do it when we’re providing them with free and relatively convenient parking? I don’t blame them for not doing anything. I wish they were better citizens, but that’s just the nature of businesses.”

Remedies offered

Allen has suggested that Central Parking help its employees use alternative transportation by providing bus passes and encouraging carpooling or cycling. There also have been discussions about shuttling employees from remote parking lots, perhaps at nearby churches. But so far, the company hasn’t come up with any effective solutions, the councilwoman said.

The Metro Public Works Department is “considering several options” to help discourage the on-street parkers from blocking driveways, spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins said. One proposal that has had mixed reaction from the residents is to put up signs marking “No Parking” zones within several feet of the driveway entrances. Some residents think the signs would be eyesores.

“We haven’t made any final decisions yet on what we’ll do,” Hopkins said. “But we do hope to be able to come up with something that would be an acceptable option.”

Adapted from The Tennessean, January 12,2012

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