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Showtime, Formvs. Function, and ‘Marks and Sparks’ from Page 35

SF, LA, NY, DC or just anywhere will be gratefully received.) ... Finally, we have Intertraffic 2010,

March 23-26, in Amsterdam. Strictly speaking, this is not a parking show, it covers all aspects of traffic engineering. But parking is a major lump of what’s going on, and Intertraffic gives a chance to see stuff from Europe that

doesn’t get into the UK. In some cases, this is a loss. For

example, by far the best pay-and-display parkingmeter ismade by aGerman com- pany that just will not take the UK mar- ket seriously. I thought I had himafter the last Parkex, but he got cold feet at the last minute. I will get you,Wolfgang; there is no escape!

Formvs. Function Unlike in the U.S., which seems

to have a plethora of companieswhose business is designing and building car parks, we in the UK seem to suffer – with the honorable exception of a few specialist companies – from a lack of specialists.Although we build a lot of car parks, it seems that far too often the design is left to someone who has little or no understanding of what they are doing. It could be an architect who sees

the car park as a residual activity to be fitted in ‘round themain use and often, it seems, left to the office junior. It might be an engineer who understand the function a little better, but when it comes to the idea that a car park should in some sense look nice and be people friendly, they just don’t get it, and you end up with something that looks like a plant room. This deficiency was forcibly

brought home to me in the last few days,when I set out to judge the entries for Best New Car Park in the annual British ParkingAssociationAwards. We had about a dozen entries, and

the first taskwas to get down to aman- ageable shortlist.This is done based on the submissions, and although we nor- mally list three, this year I chose four. What did I see? I saw car parks of unbelievable

structural complexity where the same facility probably could have been pro- vided better at half the cost. I saw a car park with a 6-foot 2-inch-wide space between two big columns. Have these people never seen a car? Do they not understand doors? I saw a car park built in a high

crime areawith a ground floor security grid to keep the bad guys out.Unfortu- nately, the grid would simply allow the bad boys to climb up and get in at the first floor level. The car park cleaner had worked this out on his first day, why hadn’t the architect? I sawamain pedestrian entrywith

just four steps to get in and no alterna- tive step-free route signed. In the 21st century, this should be a crime. I saw a car park designed by a

major operator – who should know better – that had a spiral ramp where virtually every curb and column showed damage, although it had been open only a fewmonths.

See us at the IPI booth #118 36 APRIL 2010 • PARKING TODAY •

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