Sharring experiences in urban infrastructure delivery.

Archive for the ‘Parking’

Cell-on-Wheels aka COWs

February 28, 2017 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking, Recent Posts, Sidewalk Features

A COW in a parking lane on Walker St. at Smith St.

Given that the tech side of our society loves acronyms, the positioning of COWs in Houston for SuperBowl 51 (SB51) was discussed in meetings with at least a few snickers and rolling eyes. The Cell-on-Wheels (COW) is a temporary telecommunications package used to boost connectivity when a special event will call for a large increase in bandwidth capacity.

Two different installations types were used in downtown Houston for SB51. The one with only the chain link fence enclosure shown here is in two parking spaces. The more attractive red installation is in Discovery Green park across the street from the NFL Live events in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Those that leased parking spaces were equipped with their own electrical generator.

Repeater in Discovery Green park.

Even though both are temporary installations they are included here to share our experience with how the telecom industry met the high bandwidth needs of a special event when hundreds of thousands would be accessing their smartphones. They had also installed permanent mini-towers around Discovery Green but still deployed the repeaters.

There was always the question in my mind if the devices were repeaters (expanding service range but not bandwidth) or truly an additional broadcast point with a feed from a fiber optic cable. The reps I talked to said they would have connections to the fiber where possible. I doubt that many did as that would have required installing a conduit into a vault under the street. I personally did not see any locations where that had occurred. Neither of the two setups in the photos here had a connection to fiber under the street and there is no overhead in this part of downtown.

We also heard similar setups referred to as NOWs; i.e. Node-on-Wheels.

Parking Configurations for a Person with Disabilities

May 07, 2012 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking

rI was sent a very insightful email with reasons why one parking configuration, angle-in, has advantages to those with disabilities over the more common parallel style. Everyone that works on improving the streets and street scape struggle with getting the required slopes, widths and surface textures in the right places. We also include handicap parking spaces where we can and too often it is a parallel space adapted to meet the dimensions.  When I received an email with the pros and cons for a parking style I realized after all these years I still did not totally anticipate the experience of a person with disabilities. I offer it here as I believe it may help others. (more…)

Controlling Commercial Parking

July 31, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking, Recent Posts

CIMG9752.JPGHouston is well known for pickup trucks and I think one of the things that made some decide to drive one was our “Truck Loading Zones”. The zones were conveniently placed to serve the businesses nearby. But, any truck could park for free. So, the zone were often used by non-delivery trucks and hence did not serve the purpose for deliveries. A control scheme had to be found that provided for deliveries to the businesses in the CBD. (more…)

Alternative to the White Line

April 02, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking, Placemaking

Buttons.JPGNote – This is a followup article to Trees in the Parking Lane on Dallas St and Leaves Stamped in Concrete.

There is another thing we tried in the Dallas St. project to give it a special urban identity. The traffic engineers–correctly applying the requirements of the traffic control manual–said there had to be a continuous white line between the parking lane (with the trees) and the lane of moving traffic. We have enough of the unappealing look of chipped, ragged thermoplastic stripping and the fading painted stripes. Besides, that is so typical and this street needed to have its own character–like many others in downtown Houston–but with a limited budget. (more…)

Parking Meters: Pay-&-Display Implementation

March 06, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking

Grid powered pay and display parking meter under trees. Not sufficient "sky view" or time to charge battery  for number of customers.Our last Mayor, Bill White, and his transportation czar decided a way to increase revenue and improve the service to the public was to exchange the old style parking meters and also new, electronic meters we installed in the Cotswold program in downtown to pay-and-display meters. There are advantages to the new meters but not as many was we were told. The pay-and-display meters came with the new technology of wifi connections so they can take credit card payments. In addition they are inexpensive to install with the solar powered battery recharging system plus other claims that were to offset the high cost per unit. (more…)


Trees in a Parking Lane on Dallas Street

February 21, 2010 By: Tom Davis Category: Parking