Your reporter is here in the center of the parking world, blogging live from the National Parking Association convention near Washington DC.  Today I was impressed at how this organization got itself inside USA Today’s front section with a story headlined “Parking Drives Transit Movement.”

The story related how the much maligned parking structure is actually key to the success of ‘green’ mass transit. Because if we want light rail to succeed, we’ve got to be able to park and ride.

Martin Stein, president of the NPA, was quoted speaking of the importance of convenience, and how transit-oriented developments, clustered at the junction of light rail lines are becoming the new in-demand housing option. The irony is that unless there are parking spaces, you’re not going to get people to use mass transit.

“Green is the new black in planning, design and construction philosophy, and it’s no different for the parking industry. Parking designers are embracing recycled materials, solar panels and energy-saving lighting and turning concrete rooftops into green surfaces to reduce storm water runoff.

But ‘no matter how green a parking structure is, it still means people are driving,” said a detractor.