In the true spirit of making a commitment to a renewable way of life, driving more is not one of those ways. Which is why the construction of new open-air “surface” or enclosed “vertical” parking facilities would seemingly give motorists more reasons to drive—and thus add to their carbon footprint.
However, new parking facilities that are being built within a renewable, green template are the ones that win high marks for their efforts. Plus, those parking facilities that make better accommodations for electric vehicles—seen through the increased availability of electric charging stations or plug-in—are providing motorists with more impetus to acquire or lease electric vehicles. As it currently stands, many consumers who have entertained the idea of buying e-vehicles reconsider that plan due to the logistical uncertainty of re-charging them.
Well, the good news for people who drive into an urban area is they are finding that parking facilities are becoming more sustainable than ever before. The International Parking Institute (IPI) recently recognized 12 of the industry's outstanding parking facilities and operations with its 2011 Awards of Excellence, noting common threads of innovation, efficiency, eco- and user-friendliness, cost-savings and collaboration among its winners.
Award winners in the 29th annual competition ranged from Chicago's first and only eco-friendly parking facility to the online reservation system that managed public busing for the multi-venue 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
"Our 2011 winners serve as models for overcoming the myriad challenges facing the parking industry today, including overtaxed and outdated systems, increased use, and limited funding and resources, " said IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE. "Whether they have rehabilitated aging facilities or addressed parking issues with innovative alternatives, these projects all have advanced the industry and improved the future of their communities."
Award categories included architectural achievement, best design of parking facilities with less than and more than 800 spaces, innovation in programs and operations, and rehabilitation/restoration. Winners were selected by a panel of judges representing architects, parking corporations, and city, airport and university officials.
Following are four of the award recipients:
Award for Architectural Achievement
Award of Excellence: Greenway Self Park, Chicago, Ill.
Owner: River North Self Park, LLC
NORR Illinois, Inc. (formerly DM Design Group), Architect-of-Record
HOK, Design Architect
Walker Parking Consultants, Inc., Parking Consultant & Engineer
Standard Parking Corporation, Parking Vendor
Chicago's first and only eco-friendly parking facility, Greenway Self Park in the popular River North neighborhood is architecturally-distinctive, fully automated, and designed for sustainability. Its design incorporates a water and power recycling systems, electric car plug-ins, a state-of-the-art music video floor reminder system and a future green roof. Together with custom artwork, efficient billing and valet systems, superior accessibility, marketing outreach and other enhancements, Greenway Self Park provides customers with an unparalleled parking experience.
Award of Merit: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - Rental Car Center, Atlanta, Ga.
Owner: Dept. of Aviation, City of Atlanta
Walter P Moore & Associates, Parking Consultant & Engineer
PGAL, Overall Project Design Architect, Architect-of-Record for the Terminal
RL Brown & Associates, Inc., Architect-of-Record for the Parking Garage
The new Rental Car Center is part of a $6 billion capital improvement program at the world's busiest airport, and is the largest consolidated Rental Car Center in the world. The $242 million facility features two four-level parking structures accommodating 8,700 vehicles and four pairs of stacked external express ramps that separate customer and rental car employee traffic. A four-level Customer Services Center provides retail counter space for 12 rental agencies, and its top level serves the Sky Train that connects customers to the Central Passenger Terminal and adjacent Convention Center and hotel complex. Quick Turnaround Facilities supply 80,000 square ft. of vehicle service space and surface parking for 2,300 vehicles. The Rental Car Center is an architectural, operational and technologically advanced facility that will serve as a model for future consolidated rental car facilities.
Best Design of a Parking Structure with 800 or More Spaces
Award of Excellence: Colorado State University Lake Street Parking Garage, Fort Collins, Colo.
Owner: Colorado State University
Colorado State University Parking Services
Carl Walker, Inc., Parking Consultant & Engineer
H+L Architecture, Architect
Increases in enrollment and campus buildings had all but obliterated surface parking at Colorado State University, but its new, 868-space Lake Street parking structure has freed up the campus core for pedestrians and public transit. The open, well-lit, and secure structure houses more than 20,000 square-feet of retail and office space, as well as the University's Parking Services operation. Its sustainable features include reserved parking for low-emitting vehicles, on-site power via a 9,000 photovoltaic array, and on-site water management and treatment. In keeping with CSU's international reputation as the "Green University," the project is seeking LEED Platinum certification and has been added to the Green University Walking Tour, which highlights environmentally friendly elements on campus.
Award of Merit: Mineta San Jose International Airport CONRAC, San Jose, Calif.
Owner: Mineta San Jose Int'l Airport
Watry Design, Inc., Structural Engineer & Parking Planner
Hensel Phelps Construction Company, Contractor
As part of a comprehensive improvement program, Mineta San Jose International Airport launched a two-phase relocation of its rental car center and Terminal B parking, starting with a 3,000-car, six-level structure that houses a Customer Service Building. Phase II will replace an adjacent, on-grade parking lot with a seven-level structure, supplying more than 2,000 additional public stalls. The consolidated rental car facility, or CONRAC, is characterized by a distinctive, 70-by-1,200-ft. art façade on the freeway-facing side, where 400,000 white plastic dots create a monumental image of waving hands. A 4,660-panel, 1.12-megawatt solar array on the structure's four-acre roof, one of the largest airport installations in the country, offsets about 20 percent of the structure's overall energy use. This project represents a genuine public/private partnership, with 94 percent funded by the rental car companies and the remainder by the airport.