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Focus for This ParkingManager “Although we have a number of permanent staff, many of


our employees are students. The problem there? Turnover. They are bright, learn quickly, and are good workers. But just about the time you get themat 100%, they graduate or their schedules change and they leave.We are in a constant training mode.” Campbell is proud of her university. She gives a tour of


the residence halls with their related parking structures. “More than 2700 people live in this complex. It’s like a small city with a market, post office, coffee house and two restaurants. Of course, it also has parking. More


than 1,800


spaces between the two structures.” The Cal Poly cam-


pus is eclectic. It does- n’t look like the tradi- tional


“ivy-covered


halls.”The buildings lookmore like the subjects that are taught in them. Engineering has sharp lines and lots of steel and glass. Fine Arts is soft lines, fountains and trees. This was originally an agricultural campus, but now is also renowned for its engi- neering and architecture. “I wanted to make some changes to one of the entries into


campus,” Campbell told PT. “We had a great design with new roads, landscaping and customer service buildings. Now may not be the time.We have a furlough program going – all of us are off two days a month. Not the time to be spending roadway improvement money.” Campbell came to Cal Poly from the San Luis Obispo


Police Department. She was originally a dispatcher when one of the lieutenants asked her if she would like to help with the parking program. “The rest is history.”


How the cookie crumbles


“We have a program where a police officer and a parking officer observe an intersection,” Cindy Campbell said. “When they see a bike rider obeying the rules, they call them over, thank them for their good citizenship, and give them a certificate worth a free meal at a local snack bar, plus give them a giant cookie.


“This has made a huge difference in the relationship between the students and the enforcement staff.We are talking to them when the situation is not argumentative. Most people see enforcement only when they are on the receiving end of a citation.”


“In some schools, parking is independent from law


enforcement. My boss here is the chief of police. It’s rare that law enforcement, either on-campus or in a city, looks at park- ing as an asset. Often they miss the fact that parking isn’t sim- ply enforcement but is a service as well. “We are able to get the police more involved, showing


It’s difficult to justify the need to hire someone to run an IT section or provide customer service specific to parking; however, adding enforcement is easy to justify.


them that the parking officers can go a long way to making our campus safer. At first, it was difficult to show the sworn police staff that parking deserves respect.We have made a great deal of head- way by having a sworn police sergeant super- vise the parking serv- ices and events man- agement sections. He is constantly finding ways to integrate serv- ices with sworn and


non-sworn personnel. This is a position that rotates so all of our sergeants get an opportunity to work parking. I enjoy showing them that we are a service business. “My goal? Provide support to the other functions of the


university.We are not a business in and of ourselves, but we are self-sustaining. The money? Permits and fines.We are a parking and transportation department, all about biking, telecommuting, buses, ridesharing and parking. Over 7,000 students live on campus. But we have a daily population of over 30,000. “Accepting credit cards for fees and fines used to be an


issue. As a service business, parking wanted to take anything and everything.Make it convenient. The easier we can make it for our customers, the better job we will do. “What has made the biggest difference? Technology.We


have an extensive online permit- and citation-management sys- tem. ... This system has turned customer service completely around.We can provide permits online, customers can track their citations, and in a few weeks will be able to challenge and adjudicate their offenses on the ‘net. It takes a tremendous load off our in-house staff and, frankly, most students and staff would rather deal with us online than stand in line. “Professionalism. That is what I am seeing in our depart-


ment. The California State University system requires that of our agency. It can be difficult.There is no “POST” (peace offi- cer standards and training program) for parking services staff. We have to train, set up procedures and set benchmarks our- selves.And we have done so. “I am fortunate to have the support of my administration


so I can use all the resources of the California Public Parking Association and the IPI, where I can network and find solu- tions. Often it’s just comforting to get on the C-parkL list and see that others have the same problems I have. But sometimes I can offer a solution.”


Contact Cindy Campbell at ccampbel@calpoly.edu. PT SEPTEMBER 2009 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com 27


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