Last week, the International Parking Institute announced their 2015 Seven ‘Best Places to Park’ list, and the highly controversial results are sending shockwaves through an industry that is no stranger to drama, danger, and massive volatility. We at Jalopnik would like to issue a plea for calm and reason in the parking industry.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The actual facts about the awards are accurate, as is Conrad’s initial quote, but it’s possible many of the other events and details of, well, everything else, have been fabricated in an effort to try and make a report about parking lots less fucking boring. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience.
The announcement of the 2015 picks was made in Las Vegas on July 1st, and global parking professional and enthusiast communities have been in near-constant conflict since. Shawn Conrad, the executive director of the International Parking Institute, said this of the winners:
“The seven winners of the International Parking Institute 2015 Awards of Excellence may vary significantly in use and appearance, but they collectively symbolize a new way of thinking about parking.”
The seven winners were, from the press release:
Top Award for Architectural Achievement
Oklahoma City Arts District Garage, Central Oklahoma Transportation and ParkingAuthority; Oklahoma City
Best Design of a Parking Facility with Fewer than 800 Spaces
Philadelphia Zoo Centennial District Intermodal Facility, Philadelphia Zoo; Philadelphia
Best Design of a Parking Facility with More than 800 Spaces
American River College Parking Structure, Los Rios Community College District; Sacramento, Calif.
Best Design/Implementation of a Surface Parking Lot
3885 Yonge Street (Jolly Miller), Green P+, Toronto Parking Authority; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Innovation in a Parking Operation or Program
City of Las Vegas Parking Services; Las Vegas
Best Parking Facility Rehabilitation or Restoration
Helix-on-Main Parking Structure, LexingtonParking Authority; Lexington, Ky.
Award for New Sustainable Parking and Transportation Facilities Excellence
Parking Garage Enhanced/Sustainable LED Lighting, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Washington, D.C.
Almost immediately after the winners were announced, the room erupted in chaos. The international parking community is known for their Byzantine relationships, alliances, rivalries, and warring factions, and it seems everyone found something to be angry about. The pick of Las Vegas for the Innovation award was widely seen as a kickback for hosting the conference, which seemed to start the general unease, but things took a turn for the worse when the Maple-Free Stationary Vehicle Foundation (MFSVF), a virulently anti-Canadian parking organization, began to protest the selection of an Ontario Surface Parking lot for a coveted “Parkie.”
The leader of the MFSVF, Vesuvio Nonrealguy, lit the powder keg in the room when he leapt onto the stage immediately after the formal presentation ended, siezed IPI director Shawn Conrad’s arm, and sunk his teeth deep into his bicep.
Security guards attempted to separate Nonrealguy from Conrad, resulting in a roughly gumball-sized chunk of Conrad’s arm being bitten off. The rest of the MFSVF rushed the stage and pulled their blood-soaked leader away from the security guards, starting a chain reaction of violence, rage, destruction of property and general insanity.
Las Vegas police broke up the melée shortly after midnight, but parking lots and structures across the world have been battlegrounds for skirmishes between parking lot factions ever since.
Currently, an uneasy truce has been called by the one man seemingly universally respected in the parking community, a mysterious figure only known as “Big P.” Big P is probably best known to the mainstream automotive world for his 1988 appearance on 60 Minutes where he bragged to Ed Bradley that he could “Park the [redacted] out of any [redacted] car” right before punching Bradley in the jaw and walking off set.
The request for a truce issued by Big P, in the form of a Betamax tape sent to Kenya’s largest TV station, is notable as it is the first public appearance of Big P since his conviction of human trafficking charges in the UK in 2009, and his subsequent disappearance.
At this point, all we can do is pray for reason and sanity to take hold of the international parking community, and for all of us as auto enthusiasts to remember just how important and unsung the act and logistics of parking our cars can be.
Parking community, please. Put your differences behind you, and let’s all try to work together. If not for us or for yourselves, then, please, think of the cars. Do it for the cars.
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