Change in weekday parking utilization, Dec '21 to Jan '21
Parking reliability before Parkade, compared to after
Channing House is a well-known retirement community in downtown Palo Alto, Calif. About 285 residents live in the community full-time, and they are cared after by 170 employees that work a mix of shifts that provide 24/7/365 coverage. They're a car-dependent employee base that commutes long distances to work. In recent years, street parking has become harder to find, pushing them to make the best use of their existing parking.
The retirement community has 18 off-street employee parking spots in their underground garage, for 170 employees — at least 25 of whom are usually on-site. Because there are more employees than spots, parking underground was unpredictable and unreliable.
Employees frequently wasted time driving into the underground garage, only to find the employee parking spots occupied by another employee. After experiencing that unpredictable frustration a few times, employees often just opted to once again keep parking a few blocks away and walk to work.
Despite empty parking spaces underground, employee parking at Channing House often sat empty, even during prime hours. Why? Employee spots were hard to identify and not reliably empty on arrival, because Channing House used a first-come, first-serve parking system — also known as “unassigned parking.”
Channing House management considered permanently assigning the spots to specific employees — as a couple spots are already permanently assigned to executives anyway — but canceled plans. Assigned spots would sit empty when employees weren’t at work or away on vacation. Someone would also need to manage the parking assignments process, adding significant workload to someone’s plate that could be better spent on other projects.
Some kind of solution was needed.
Like many retirement communities, especially during COVID, attracting and retaining staff has become one of Channing House’s greatest challenges. Ensuring a fast and reliable parking experience for staff has steadily climbed the list of priorities for their facilities and HR teams, especially due to many employees commuting by car for hours each day.
To improve employee satisfaction and retention, and better utilize their on-site parking, Channing House started looking for a way to make parking reliable, highly utilized and flexible. They discovered Parkade — and transformed the employee parking experience.
Channing House started looking for a way to make parking reliable, highly utilized and flexible. They discovered Parkade — and transformed the employee parking experience.
It took Channing House a mere three weeks from the time they decided to start using Parkade, to Parkade taking over parking management/reservations for employee parking.
“It was something we had to do really quickly, by the end of the year,” said Angela Lamothe, Channing House’s environmental services director and de-facto parking manager.
“We contacted Parkade, signed our building up and had employee communications sent out days later announcing the change.”
Better still, Parkade kept staff’s parking workload to zero, ensured a great employee experience and pushed parking utilization rates to historic highs.
Instead of the typical unassigned parking setup most offices have, Channing House employees now book parking in advance — weeks, days, hours or minutes ahead of time. They book through Parkade’s mobile app, and then know exactly where to park.
Staff had a hunch that assigned parking would not just be more reliable, but better utilized.
“Because employee schedules are spread out over the course of each day (and week) to provide 24/7 coverage, we figured that if people reserve parking in advance, we could generally satisfy almost all parking needs with our underground employee parking,” Lamothe said.
Their guess was right.
“It’s working! We have enough parking now."
Lamothe continued, explaining,“It’s definitely helped us with the fact that we just don’t have enough street parking passes available for staff.”
One of her team members echoed the sentiment, saying “Every time that I reserve a spot, there are plenty for me to pick from. Parkade is super helpful.”
The key, of course, is that Parkade makes it so easy for employees to book their spots, on a daily or long-term basis. No one in Facilities or HR needs to serve as a go-between, wasting valuable business hours dealing with parking assignments, so they can focus on more important tasks. That also makes the system very easy for employees, as there’s never any need to wait to get your parking assignment.
A unique Parkade innovation, the few folks with long- term parking can put their spot in the pool for other employees to use on the days or hours they’re not in the office. So Channing House’s CEO, who has an assigned parking spot, can reshare her empty spot with other employees when she’s gone.
All of these factors have resulted in Channing House’s parking getting much better utilized than it was before.
Parking utilization rates — the average number of spots used at least once on weekdays — have jumped from about 50% before Parkade to 72% with Parkade.
For a facilities team charged with managing parking in a neighborhood with fewer and fewer parking spots available, that’s a success to celebrate.
With Parkade, Channing House needs fewer street parking permits and can more easily attract and retain staff. And as Lamothe said, “We haven’t once run out of parking on Parkade yet. But if the day comes that we run out of spots on Parkade, at least this way, we’re making sure all underground spots are full first.”
Parkade doesn’t just make sure that it’s easy to reserve parking. It also becomes easy to change plans, or to deal with parking problems.
While employees can book spots days or weeks in advance, “All the reminders Parkade sends help remind people to cancel their parking reservation if they are not coming in,” so their parking spot doesn’t go to waste, Lamothe said.
One Channing House employee told us “Reminders are really useful! When I had to take PTO unexpectedly, it reminded me to cancel my reservation, so someone else could use it.”
Parkade doesn’t just make it easy to reserve parking in advance, though. It’s also helped ensure that employees can always park reliably on arrival, no matter what.
In the mere two cases during the first 7 weeks that an employee arrived to find a car already in their spot, they were able to solve the problem in seconds — no staff intervention needed.
Parkade takes a report of the unauthorized vehicle parked in the spot, instantly notifies the owner via email and push notification that they’re misparked, notifies Angela (the parking manager) and, seconds later, gives the employee an alternative space to park for the day.
“Every time that I reserve a spot, there are plenty for me to pick from. Parkade is super helpful.”
See how Parkade can instantly boost your parking capacity while saving staff hours of time.
La Galleria perpetually struggled with a lack of extra parking spots for residents, staff and guests, until they discovered Parkade.Read story ›
Discover how Kairos leverages Parkade to modernize their parking to offer better, more flexible parking options at their multi-tenant office building.Read story ›
Learn how Greystar uses Parkade to boost revenue, save staff time, automate enforcement and create a top resident amenity.Read story ›