Making Parking Easy since 1947
DIFFERENT KIND OF “PARKING SPACE” WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR EASYPARK
(VANCOUVER) Once again, “outside-the-lot” thinking has earned EasyPark major honours from the International Parking Institute (IPI) at its annual Conference in New Orleans. And this time, the award is for an initiative centered on parking people, rather than cars.
“EasyPark Lot 19 Plaza – The Perch” has received a “Best of 2017” Parking Matters award for Marketing and Communications. For years, the roof of EasyPark’s underground Lot 19 plaza has been a concrete space, and not much more. It sits at the foot of Hornby Street, nestled between the prestigious Terminal City and Vancouver Clubs in the Hastings West area of downtown Vancouver.
In 2013, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) approached EasyPark with a plan to transform the plaza into a “people place”. EasyPark donated the space, landscaping and janitorial services and equipment storage, while the DVBIA bought street furniture and developed a program of summertime activities; thus was born “The Perch”.
With active and passive entertainment for members of the public to enjoy, people very soon stopped “just passing through” and started lingering, watching and taking part. The Perch developed, organically, into a neighbourhood hub.
By July 2013 – just two months after The Perch opened, the number of people coming through the plaza had increased 44 per cent, and 73 per cent more people stayed; “lingering” time increased from seven minutes to 21, and the pedestrian count for Wednesdays at noon hour had more than doubled to 300.
“We were very excited when the DVBIA first approached us to turn what had been empty space into a real ‘people place’,” says EasyPark CEO Nigel Bullers. “Now, we’re just as excited to see this ‘outside-the-lot’ thinking recognized by others in the industry with this award.”
Activities in “The Little Park with a Big Personality” have included art installations, street theatre, a mini-library, a Friday yoga series with proceeds going to the Fukushima Yoga Project, Simon Fraser University’s City Conversations program and even Pokémon – EasyPark bought tower activation time so customers can sit and catch Pokémon on social media. EasyPark also holds its annual Summer Barbecue at The Perch at Lot 19.
Employees at some local businesses are even holding informal boardroom sessions at The Perch, moving the brightly coloured furniture around to arrange seating for up to ten people.
“The Perch at Lot 19 has turned into an oasis in the midst of one of the busiest parts of Vancouver,” adds Lincoln Merraro, Director of Opertations at EasyPark. “It’s a place where people can hang out and chill on their own or engage with one another in various activities. The fact that the DVBIA is now using it as a model for other projects around the city shows you the positive impact this has on livability.”
The cost? The DVBIA allots $5,000 each summer for the activities, while EasyPark continues to provide the storage, landscaping and janitorial services.
This is the third straight year that EasyPark has won a “Best of the Year” award from IPI – a great achievement that once again, puts Canadians on the map in the industry. EasyPark received Brand Awareness awards in 2015 and 2016 for the EasyPark App, which provides motorists with parking information before they reach downtown, the FlexPass and the EasyPerks loyalty program.
Founded in 1947, EasyPark has one mission: “make parking easy”. Our mandate is to provide safe, convenient and affordable parking. EasyPark’s operations have grown to encompass more than 135 parking facilities in 60 diverse client accounts in Vancouver and British Columbia under the EasyPark brand. In 2011 EasyPark launched the first parking app for the Apple and android markets (http://www.easypark.ca/easypark-lots/mobile-parking-app.aspx) in order to “Make Parking Easier” and in late 2013, the EasyPark FlexPass made its début, allowing people who only drive occasionally to park at a discount over the regular hourly rate.