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Will Facilities Be Facing A Parking Shortage?

With more employees returning to the office, FMs can implement these short- and long-term solutions to balance parking needs.

Parking garage

As mask restrictions ease and vaccination rates increase, more employees will start to return to the office. But how will they get there?

There are still questions about whether building occupants will use public transportation or instead opt for the safety and security of their own personal vehicles. If employees choose the latter, will this result in a "car-pocalypse" that will have facilities scrambling for available parking spaces?

In this video, Dan Weltin, editor-in-chief of the facility market, which includes the fnprime membership, talks with Nicole Chinea, the senior project manager for WGI about parking in the "new normal." The two discuss short-term and long-term solutions facility managers can implement to help navigate potential parking shortages caused by the influx of employees returning to work.

Here's a preview of the interview:

fnPrime: Today we're going to be talking about reopening of commercial facilities and kind of the concerns that come along with parking. Nicole, as employees return to work why is parking such a concern?

Nicole: I think you know, like everything else, the concerns really stem around uncertainty. When the pandemic, happened everybody kind of switched really hard left to remote work and this left a lot of the parking empty. Some places already had some parking problems so to speak, which were alleviated during the pandemic. But as they go back and kind of transition back into filling up and at a hundred percent, there are still concerns that there may or may not be enough parking. But the truth of the matter is, many folks across all sectors — private healthcare, public — are still not 100 percent back in the office, so it's not something that we're seeing right now.

I know a lot of healthcare here in my area, they're only still at 30 percent so remote work is something that folks have embraced. I think in all sectors of our industry, public and private, I think a lot of projects that we saw that were coming online that were initiating additional parking have kind of stopped and come to a halt as we try to kind of get a better grasp of what does the future look like in regards to parking, and capacity, and the demands that it will drive and what will that demand shift. So a lot of the work that we've been doing we've considered 2020 kind of a wash as far as behaviors and trends, and we've kind of gone back to the 2019 as a base point of normal.

Because of 2020, you can't use any of that information, nobody was reporting to work and so a lot of the projects that were scheduled have kind of paused and they've kind of gone back to kind of the study were looking at how has the demand changed. How is the office being programmed? Have some of the companies embraced 100 remote, and then how will that look going forward because it may not change necessarily drastically whether they do or don't need more parking, but it may change the amount of parking that they do need in the future.

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