In areas where winter weather affects the operation of a parking structure, removal of snow and ice is necessary, if not paramount, for functional performance, the public’s safety, and the long-term durability of the structure. Snow and ice removal can be difficult depending on the size, timing, and type of storm, and also the area to be maintained. For these reasons, knowing with what and how to remove snow and ice can greatly affect the operation of the structure. The basic parameters for snow and ice removal include planning, proper equipment, chemical deicers, written procedures, and how-to instruction for snow removal personnel.
When removing snow and ice, planning plays an important role for a successful operation. Basic planning and specifications for snow removal begins during the initial design phase of the parking structure. The owner, architect, engineer, contractor, and precast/prestress concrete manufacturer must all be involved in determining how snow and ice will be removed. Operations such as removal of snow and ice from the deck surface, storage of snow and ice, and the use of certain types of equipment can cause major functional and performance problems to the structure if not properly addressed during the initial design phase.
When an architect or engineer begins considering the location and layout of a parking structure, snow and ice removal operations should be based on local climate conditions. Anticipated maximum snow fall and frequency will influence planning strategies. Once parameters for snow and ice removal have been established, features for storage or removal must be designed into the structure. Removal of snow is typically handled by moving the snow to a snow chute or snow melting equipment, or by moving to and through a gate opening in exterior spandrels.
Storage of snow requires strict operating procedures and protected dumping zones to ensure the safety…
Nothing is possible without the genius of the human being
Smart parking: the importance of the human factor
In a world where everything is becoming automated, where machines that make our daily life simpler become more and more intelligent and autonomous, interpersonal relationships are becoming a major asset in the employment market – for the good and simple reason that it is still very difficult for a computer to simulate human interaction.
After all, our ability to interact with our entourage is the result of thousands of years of human evolution. In the work place, these skills allow teams to combine their strengths and adapt to changing environments. They are at the heart of man’s advantage over machines.1
Where parking lot management is concerned, the latest technological advances can lead us to believe that these spaces, which are so indispensable for urban vitality, will no longer need humans to function effectively. Smart parking, smart car, smart city, everything is automated: cars drive themselves, a parking lot is found and is paid for remotely thanks to smart phone apps, and city streets are decluttered thanks to real-time signage that directs us toward available spaces.
However, these devices and smart equipment are still far from able to respond with a smile to the various very human questions and requests of users or even to indicate a secure route for money used in transactions, from its entry into the payment system to its deposit into the safes of the parking lot owner.
Parking, even if it is automated and becomes more and more “intelligent,” will still need humans for a long time yet in order to guarantee operational efficiency essential for individual mobility. Moreover, it is the perfect marriage between humans and technology that allows us to target the full potential of parking both today and tomorrow.
What Lies Ahead for the Canadian Parking Industry?
It’s always fun to speculate about what the future holds. When it comes to parking, it’s particularly enjoyable because the industry is progressing so rapidly. Change has always been a hallmark of the industry as over the years parking designers, planners, and technology developers have worked to keep up with the evolution of the car.
The last few years have been among the most exciting we’ve ever experienced. Recent years have brought the groundbreaking planning innovations of Donald Shoup and his many likeminded colleagues. They’ve also brought a host of design and maintenance innovations that have made parking facilities more useful and durable than ever before. And of course they’ve brought an incredible array of new parking technologies that have transformed the parking experience for drivers while making parking more manageable and cost-effective than ever.
But as exciting as the past few years have been, there are many more exciting parking developments right around the corner. From design, to planning, to technology, we are on the cusp of an extraordinary parking age.
It’s like that song from the eighties said: The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.
Planning for the Future
Planning is one of the most exciting features of the parking industry today. Urban planning has undergone extraordinary change in recent years, and parking planning is keeping pace. Some of the most exciting urban planning approaches, such as New Urbanism and Complete Streets, revolve around making cities more pedestrian-friendly and reducing vehicle congestion on the streets. Parking planning plays a vital role in the success of each.
One of the most important elements of parking planning is to use parking resources to influence driver behavior. By strategically placing parking resources, cities and towns can encourage drivers to park and make the transition from driver to pedestrian…