Professor Parker Archives

 

THERE WILL BE A TEST AT THE END!

 

 

EVENT PARKING

 

For the Parking Professional, "event parking" is an a special kind of parking: almost all the parking demand arrives at the same time, and just when this half-hour demand period will take place is known weeks in advance. Moreover, all parkers leave at the same time. "Events" that can attract a wide public most often do not occur during working hours. Much of the parking public that attends a given event will not return. These facts affect the kind of operation put into place by the people that make it possible for you to park for a fee (these by the way are the same people as the people that make it necessary for you to pay a fee in order to park). For instance, the operators in this case charge for parking in advance so they don't have to wait around for the drunks to get back to their cars. A few instances of "event parking" will illustrate how multi-faceted this kind of parking can be.

 

Event Parking Case 1: An NFL Football Game in a Stadium in the Suburbs

Here maybe half the Parking Questers are season ticket holders who do not get drunk until they have reached their parking station or garage. This means they will remember where they parked last time, and last time is two weeks ago max. (except for the first home game of the year, when a little more time finding the parking is usually allotted). The parking operator usually wants to sequester these parkers so that he can manipulate the others, that is, the ones who were given their tickets and are coming for the first time they can remember, or at least the first time this year. For the season ticket holders he therefore offers the service of providing them a map, allowing them to pay for Preferred Parking in advance to park in a special Preferred Area that normal schleps have to pass by in order to reach their lot. This is an all-around winner for the season ticket holder, especially if he actually makes it to the game (unused parking passes are non-refundable since they are "only good for the date shown," and by the time you try to cash them in they are worthless): it is slightly better for the operator since he can sell 110 parking passes for every 100 Preferred Parking Stalls. (They don't call you up on Monday morning and say "Gee, where WERE you?"). The other group -- the one-timers-- are particularly easy to overcharge and confuse, with signs like "Last Chance - $30.00" on a mud lot one mile away from the stadium where the operator is paying little or not rent to the owner if any.

 

Event Parking Case 2: A Baseball Game taking place in a Downtown Stadium

"Downtown" means there is a demand for business parking 252 days a year, where the price for parking all day will be about 1/4000 of the average annual salary before taxes. This demand is the governing influence shaping the parking supply: downtown stadiums tend not to have parking lots that serve them only: the income generated from parking 20 or 80 times a year does not warrant such a dedicated use for expensive downtown space. In the case of football stadiums, there are only a few parking days per year and almost every one of them is a Sunday. But on Sunday the existing business supply will be empty anyway and usable for football; and all the given operator has to decide is whether to "open" his facility, which means unlocking an lighting and manning a garage, or manning a surface lot (surface lots with pay machines or pay boxes are "open" all the time, in the sense that you can be towed from them for parking without paying, anytime). He will not go to the trouble unless his facility is close enough to the stadium that the demand wave wil reach him.

In the case of baseball stadiums, there are about 80 home game days per year; interestingly, only about ten percent of these 80 games take place during business hours. Thus, 72 games a year are night games or weekend night or day games, and the baseball parking demand for these games is served the same way that the football demand was. What is most interesting is that for the 8 or so times a year that a game takes place during business hours (namely, daygames during the week), and the ballpark parking demand is added to business parking demand, ALMOST NOTHING CHANGES. Although the rules of supply and demand indicate that the doubled demand for parking should raise the price since the supply is fixed, the fact is that operators do not want to alienate their day-in day-out customers who are parking 252 times a year, by raising the fees on game days. So, the lots fill up in the morning with the usual business customers, and when game-time arrives there isn't much parking available.

 

Event Parking Case 3: Friday Night Bingo at St. Cecilia's

Go around the back and park on the playground of the high school: careful not to run into the basketball uprights.

 

Event Parking Case 4: A Billy Graham Convert-a-thon on a Saturday Afternoon at a Downtown Baseball Stadium when the Home Team is away.

The public for this event will not be coming again, unless they happen also to be baseball fans. If they are coming from the surrounding rural areas (which is not un likely), they will be duly wary of parking downtown and will look for a way to set up their parking plans before they get into the car. And so, wherever they get their ticket for Billy Graham they will also be ready to get there parking there. You can be sure that somebody will be ready to serve them and serve them well.

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HAVING READ THIS LESSON YOU ARE EQUIPPED TO ATTEMPT PARKING PUZZLER #1:

 

PARKING PUZZLER 1 : "Event Parking" (Word Problem)

There happens to be a website called EventParking.com. On the page where they describe themselves, http://www.eventparking.com/About.aspx , you will find the following copy (we reproduce the very words in BLUE):

 

We are changing parking as you know it...

We Are The Largest In The World...Event Parking and 1-877-PRE-PARK combined are the largest interactive confirmed parking listing guide and parking reservation service in the world. We work with major parking operators and owners to provide millions of customers with a complete, free directory of thousands of parking facilities nationwide, event happenings and the ability to purchase a confirmed space in advance.

Confirmed Spaces... Event Parking enable event parkers in most cities to purchase a confirmed parking space in advance using a charge card. This service, which includes a nominal per-space service charge, is especially valuable for eagerly-anticipated events that are likely to sell out. Using this option, parkers can be sure to get a conformed space days or even weeks in advance of an events opening.

The Choice Is Yours... Our application offers parkers the opportunity to choose their confirmed parking spaces whether it be closest to the stadium or most economical. Our goal is the elimination of traffic congestion, long parking lines and last-minute rushing. Reserved spaces are available at select facilities to parkers who purchase a reserved space via www.eventparking.com or 1-877-PRE-PARK.

 

Having read the claims made by www.eventparking.com , explain how it is that you can show up at the last minute and drive right by everybody in line to get into the parking lot at a big event, simply because you made a reservation on the internet: don't peek at Mr Parker's answer (immediately below) until you have written and turned in your own essay to pq@parkingquest.com.

Good answers will be rewarded your choice of a ParkingQuest t-shirt (baseball sleeves, X-large ONLY) or a ParkingQuest mouse pad.

Duedate: 16 October 2002 FIRM

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ONE MAN's ANSWER PARKING PUZZLER 1: Here is Mr Parker's Mad-Magazine paragraph-by-paragraph Translation of the Event Parking Spiel:

 

We are changing parking as you know it...

We are changing parking as YOU know it, but the operators know we aren't changing a damn thing!

 

We Are The Largest In The World...Event Parking and 1-877-PRE-PARK combined are the largest interactive confirmed parking listing guide and parking reservation service in the world. We work with major parking operators and owners to provide millions of customers with a complete, free directory of thousands of parking facilities nationwide, event happenings and the ability to purchase a confirmed space in advance.

We are the largest in the world: There is really only one company still doing this scam, since Event Parking and 1-877-prepark are just names for how to reach us on the web and the telephone: "We" are sitting on Peachtree St in Atlanta, at least 1000 miles from every lot we send you to, and therefore at least 1000 miles from you, too! We are waiting here for credit card transfers to arrive from YOU to US! We provide a free directory of parking facilities nationwide, including four of the 863 facilities that ParkingQuest lists, also for free, in San Francisco, and two in Nashville, and three in Boston. But we won't mention ParkingQuest to you since there you could find out that the two parking lots we list for the Giants games are so far away from the stadium that they will never be filled, and would not even be opened on weekend and night games when we offer your reservations, unless WE got a few suckers (i.e., some of YOU) to prepay to park there. Same with the two other lots we list for the San Francisco Symphony and Opera House (curiously the other special "event venue" covered by ParkingQuest for the last three years: are we original or what?). We also advertise "event happenings" (which means "events") and for which we charge the event producers, but not you! You will get an objective description of the event including misleading banners and maybe an MP3 sample!

 

Confirmed Spaces... Event Parking enable event parkers in most cities to purchase a confirmed parking space in advance using a charge card. This service, which includes a nominal per-space service charge, is especially valuable for eagerly-anticipated events that are likely to sell out. Using this option, parkers can be sure to get a conformed space days or even weeks in advance of an events opening.

Confirmed Spaces: You can pay for a "confirmed" parking space in advance: in case you do show up and we have to forward to the operator some of the money you paid us, we offer you the extra added opportunity to pay for the space weeks and even months in advance: one of our execs is an MBA who says that this way we will make money on the "float" whatever that means! You'd better consider getting a parking spot in case the event sells out!

 

The Choice Is Yours... Our application offers parkers the opportunity to choose their confirmed parking spaces whether it be closest to the stadium or most economical. Our goal is the elimination of traffic congestion, long parking lines and last-minute rushing. Reserved spaces are available at select facilities to parkers who purchase a reserved space via www.eventparking.com or 1-877-PRE-PARK.

The Choice is Yours: We offer (more exactly, we hope someday to offer) a distinction between closest and cheapest, just like ParkingQuest did two years ago when the Giants opened their new stadium in San Francisco, except that (1) the parking that Parking Quest reserved for you as "closest" was actually the closest, and (2) the parking that ParkingQuest reserved as "cheapest" was actually cheapest since it was FREE. Moreover, ParkingQuest did not charge you for the reservation! In our case, the cheapest is the lowest price lot we have made a deal with, and the closest is the nearest lot we have made a deal with. So far this is the same lot. Our goal is eliminating traffic congestion for ourselves on the way to our bank. Reserved parking is available at select (i.e. few) facilities, namely, lots that are sure to be empty even when the event is a sellout, since they have always been empty and their operators are perfectly happy to promise space in a lot that is always empty during special events and does business on workdays only. Now these lots will experience a demand created by US and for US, at your expense!

 

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GOT ANY ENERGY LEFT FOR PARKING PUZZLER #2?

PARKING PUZZLER #2 Bonus Question: (Send to pq@parkingquest.com: you could win BOTH the shirt and the mouse pad!):

How was ParkingQuest able to offer 3,000 reservations for the Opening Day of the Giants new ballpark in April of 2000, that were truly CLOSEST to the stadium (they were within the Giants own parking lot), especially given the fact that it was a Tuesday day game? And how was ParkingQuest able to offer reservations for truly CHEAPEST parking (so cheap it was FREE)?

 

 

ParkingQuest -- No more, No less