Parking in The Holy Land!
History of Parking/Project Spotlight

Parking in The Holy Land!

In 1995, the team of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Rich & Associates were awarded the design of the new Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv Israel. The project scope included the design of two (2) parking garages, a new roadway system, signage and security systems. We were also responsible for planning and designing state of the art access and revenue control systems, including vehicle count systems with dynamic signage.

The Rich & Associates’ team arrived a day or two later than the Parsons’ team and we all met at the same hotel in downtown Tel Aviv. Discussions that evening planned out the next day’s activities and included updates to some of the protocols during our stay. One piece of advice we were given was not to tip any of the waiters at any eating establishment by putting it on the tab because it was a common practice there to tip in cash.

The first meetings were held at the airport facility aviation department, and subsequent meetings were switched between aviation at the airport, and the engineering and architectural offices in downtown Tel Aviv. The local Engineer was Del and the local Architect was Shlomo Aronson & Associates. The whole stay in Tel Aviv during this and other trips, introduced both teams to a new type of security that we had not yet experienced in the states. For example, we were advised to be at the airport 3 hours prior to our flights scheduled departure so that all of our bags could be checked and we could be questioned. The roadway system on the way to the airport had a security checkpoint before you even entered the airport grounds. The team tended to drive together to the airport in the mornings, and during the evenings we would usually meet up to cover the days activity.

The initial design was to put the garage parallel to the terminal building which meant there would be a long façade of the garage facing the terminal. As more schemes were developed, the local architect decided that there should be a garden in this area so that all visitors in the baggage claim and transportation areas could view the garden.

To achieve this garden, we changed the design from one long garage, to two garages perpendicular to one another so that the garden could be developed in between both garages.

In Israel during this time, everyone had military experience as both male and female citizens were required to serve. During a meeting in the local architect’s office, the architect was interrupted by his secretary who came in and told him that he was needed on the phone immediately. The architect came back into the meeting, put his pad down on the table and said he had to leave because his tank division was called up regarding something going on near the border. The architect had been called on to active duty and left the meeting immediately.

As part of the design of the garage facilities, we were responsible for the signage, the operating equipment, the functional planning, the lighting, and the security systems. We requested discussions with the security guards who were going to be active in the garage to go over security camera locations and the voice operated emergency systems. The security guards asked a question in the meeting about where to place the cars they towed, I told them we had space next to the garage to store these cars. Their response was “you don’t understand, the cars we tow tend to blow up, so we need an area with a blast fence around it to tow these cars!” Following that, we asked about additional security measures at the airport and it was pointed out that there were hatches in the walkways leading to the terminal building which opened up to an underground area. We asked what the underground area was for, they said it was a blast area for suspicious bags that had been left unattended or possibly contained explosives.

The conditions we were working under made for a very interesting project overall. The trips back and forth to Tel Aviv, each trip lasting approximately one to two weeks, gave me some personal time to explore many things in Israel and for that I am very grateful. One experience in particular that I really enjoyed, was taking a cable car up the side of a mountain in Southern Israel to tour Masada and then stopping to go in to The Dead Sea. I was also able to explore cities like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Jericho, which really made this project a once in a lifetime experience. In review of this project, I started to reminisce on other projects I have done, and realized that I have had the pleasure of traveling to 14 different countries to work on projects. There were about 6 other countries that we had done designs for which I did not travel to, one of those countries being Saudi Arabia. I was advised not to go to Saudi Arabia because my passport had shown many visits to Israel.



If you think the Parking Industry isn’t exciting…think again!
History of Parking

If you think the Parking Industry isn’t exciting…think again!

A Northwest Airlines jetliner returned safely to Miami after it was hijacked from Milwaukee to Havana, Cuba, with 60 passengers aboard, by a man armed with a hatchet and claiming to have a bomb hidden in his briefcase“.

This is the opening line to an article published in the 1971 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel. One of those 60 passengers aboard the hijacked flight to Cuba was our very own president, Richard C. Rich. We’re back this month with another one of his once in a lifetime stories from his first 55-years at Rich & Associates. If you thought the Parking Industry wasn’t exciting…think again!

“The plane, a Boeing 727 landed in Miami after being in control of the hijacker for about 8 hours. Architect Richard C. Rich, 39, was on his way home to his suburban Detroit home from Nicaragua, where he is doing Architectural work, when he stopped in Milwaukee Thursday to visit his parents”…Here is what Richard C. Rich recalls from his unplanned and unexpected trip to Cuba!

“People may think it’s pretty boring doing parking garages but being in the industry has really afforded me some experiences that otherwise couldn’t be. One of the most exciting was a return trip from a project in Nicaragua.  I decided to stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit my parents on my way back to Detroit from Nicaragua. I spent the night in Milwaukee and my parents drove me to the airport the next morning. I got on the Northwest flight to Detroit, sat in the second row in first class and the plane took off.

Everything seemed normal until there was some kind of commotion coming from the back end of the plane. The next thing I knew there was a man standing at the doorway to the cockpit with a hatchet in one hand and a briefcase in the other, demanding to talk to the captain of the airplane. I think it was the flight attendant that got him on the intercom, told the man to be calm and that we had to land in Detroit to get refueled.’

Some of the people in first class with me left for the back of the airplane once the hijacker approached our section. Two or three of us remained in first class. I figured I paid for first class so I might as well stay there, since it wasn’t going to be any different in coach. But I seemed to be the best target sitting in the second row so I asked the hijacker if I could move a couple of rows back and he said ‘OK’.

When we landed in Detroit there was quite a bit of discussion on the plane. The captain parked the plane in a field far away from the terminal and I could see activity around the airplane from my window. The captain and one of the crew came back to talk to the hijacker when he said that he wanted to go to Algeria. They explained to him that we were on a Boeing 727 and that this plane didn’t have enough fuel, even with a refill, to get to Algeria. So they asked him if he had a second choice like Cuba, and he said ‘yes’. The plane was refueled and we left for Cuba. I don’t remember much discussion after that.

I usually carried a small camera on my business trips and I kept thinking ‘he appears to be accommodating enough to respond to us, I bet he would let me take his picture standing there with the hatchet and the briefcase’. But as chance would have it, my camera was packed away in my checked luggage.

When we landed in Havana, the Cuban authorities got on the airplane and the hijacker handed over the hatchet and briefcase. When they opened up the briefcase and handed it back to him, we all realized that there was no bomb. The Cuban authorities took the hijacker off of the airplane, and the next thing I knew we were ushered off of the airplane into immigration. We were questioned regarding our names, occupations, addresses, and a few other things. We were then ushered into a room that looked like it could’ve been a cafeteria. They were walking around selling some cigars and cigarettes, and we eventually had a meal. One of the flight attendants came over to my table and said ‘you better enjoy the meal, it’s going to be the most expensive meal you’ve ever had.’ She said that over in the corner there was somebody from the Swiss Embassy negotiating with the pilot for a ransom to be paid for the airplane to take off and I recall her saying it was going to cost something like $200,000.00!

After the meal, and I guess a successful negotiation, they put us back on the airplane and we took off for Miami. In Miami, we had to go through customs and immigration again. It was surprising to me that customs asked everyone who had purchased Cuban cigars to turn them over. Fortunately for me I didn’t smoke cigars so I didn’t waste any money. They asked all of the first-class passengers to come to a specific table. They called us by name and at that point I turned and went to a table where they had about 5 pictures spread out. They asked all of us from first class to identify the man from the pictures. I immediately recognized him and pointed to his picture. I was amazed how they had pictures of him so quickly. They then put us on another airplane to Detroit and there wasn’t much discussion during the flight. We finally landed in Detroit late or very early in the morning.”



President of Rich & Associates Goes to Extraordinary Lengths to Prove Integrity of Firm’s Parking Garage Design…
History of Parking

President of Rich & Associates Goes to Extraordinary Lengths to Prove Integrity of Firm’s Parking Garage Design…

This is the story of the extraordinary lengths Mr. Rich went to prove the integrity of his design of a garage in Dayton Ohio in the late 1950s, as told by Richard C. Rich.

“This was a two-module garage with a sloped floor and a parapet wall in between that was approximately 24-30 inches in height and 4-5 inches in width. The City (Engineers) would not approve the garage to open, maintaining that the parapet wall wasn’t strong enough to withstand the impact of a car going between 12-15mph and directly hitting it. It was hard for me to understand how a car would get going that speed in a garage and into the wall”. We sent some of our engineers down to discuss this problem with them further. Our engineers came back stating that the City did not budge on their findings regarding the wall. The City had hired some independent engineers of their own who came up with a formula showing that the wall would break down upon impact from a car hitting it directly at 12-15 mph. I’m not a formula kind of man, so I went with our engineers to the next meeting to resolve the issue so that our client could open their garage.

I had advised the client (owner of the garage) that I wanted to test the wall before the meeting. I told him of my plan to drive a car into the upper level parapet wall at the 12 to 15 mph speed. He volunteered to loan me his car, but I refused since I was not sure myself what was going to happen to the car hitting the wall at that speed. So, I rented a car and made sure it was fully insured. It took me 5-7 tries to hit the wall without hitting the brakes first. I finally got up the nerve and drove the rented car into the wall at the required speed. There was not much of a mark on the wall at all, but there was certainly damage to the front of the car. I left everything as it was at the scene of impact and then went to the meeting with the City.

As everyone was discussing the formula I said ‘I don’t know anything about your formulas, but I tried it out and I’d like you to come over and see what had happened.’ At that point the whole group, including our engineers, the City and their independent engineers, went over to take a look at what had happened to the wall. The wall showed very little distress, just a few scratches from where the car had impacted it. The car, on the other hand, suffered front end damage. They all reviewed the site and concluded that their formulas did not work because it did not treat the car as a compressible object. The car absorbed the shock of the impact resulting in front end damage, but the wall showed little impact. Upon review, the wall passed the City’s inspection and our client was able to open the garage.”

“It was truly an experience. It’s tough not to automatically hit the brakes when you see the wall coming at 12-15mph.”

Closing out our 55-year celebration, an interview with Mr. Rich!
History of Parking

Closing out our 55-year celebration, an interview with Mr. Rich!

For almost three quarters of a century, Richard C. Rich has provided his knowledge and expertise in the planning and design of parking to thousands of clients throughout the United States, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Central and South America. “Dick” (is how he likes to be called), is the owner and founder of Rich & Associates, Inc., a Parking Consulting, Planning, Engineering, and Architectural firm based in Southfield, MI. This year, Rich & Associates is celebrating a big milestone as this is our 55-year anniversary. As part of our celebration we want to acknowledge our founder and one of the nation’s leading parking consultants.

Dick’s career in the parking industry started in 1948 during his freshmen year in college at Marquette University in Wisconsin. Dick took a job at National Garages as a night shift parking attendant for 90 cents an hour at a downtown parking lot to pay his way through school. “I wore myself out running around moving cars,” Dick said, “I often thought there must be an easier way.”  His keen sense of perspective for servicing the needs of the parking lot users allowed him to advanced quickly to a night supervisor’s position where he oversaw 5 parking lots and 2 garages. Dick even held a record and won an award for parking the most cars in a single day in a lot that held 40 spaces, (a total of 10 rows that were 4 cars deep) in which he ran more than 200 cars that day! When National Garages (the firm that employed Dick) decided they needed to establish a design department, they looked to him to start it. National Garages decision to move Dick to Detroit to start the design department was influenced by Dicks newly obtained engineering degree from Marquette University, and all of the previous design contributions he had made during his time of employment. While at National Garages, Dick earned a reputation as one of the industry’s most creative designers and would eventually rise to the position of Chief Designer at the firm.

However, in the early 1960’s the thought of becoming an entrepreneur began to appeal to him. While he achieved great success at National Garages, he knew that he would have much more creative freedom if he struck out on his own. So, in 1963, ten years after beginning his career with National Garages, he started his own parking design and planning firm, Richard C. Rich & Associates (now Rich & Associates), in Detroit.

Almost from the beginning, Rich & Associates was a national success, working with some of the architectural industry’s giants. Dick and his team were entrusted with the design of some of the country’s most notable parking structures. Rich & Associates was in the vanguard of the parking industry, responsible for some of the largest garages built at that time, and one of the first firms to see the benefits of mixed-use structures. Under Dick’s leadership, the firm pioneered a comprehensive parking needs and feasibility study approach that has resulted in the successful completion of more than 500 studies across the country.

Dick was also an innovator when it came to parking management.  In the late 1970s, he became the first and the only parking consultant to privately finance, develop and operate his own parking structure. He used his ownership opportunity as a platform for testing new parking technologies, products, and design ideas to improve the firm’s clients projects. Dick was the first in the country to use neon signage as an experiment in a garage in Des Moines Iowa which was published in the Des Moines press as one of the garages with the best signage in the City. Dick was also able to use his own facility to compare new lighting fixtures which allowed the firm to be on the cutting edge of new technology.

After 65 years in the business and 55 years at the head of Rich & Associates, Dick Rich continues to go strong. He is proud of the fact that there are thousands of garages in use throughout North America and overseas that he and his firm had a critical role in designing. The journey we have been on, reminiscing over our past 55-year, has been a melding and culmination of Dick’s and his firm’s work.

The firm’s thorough grasp of the theoretical and practical applications in parking design is born from a combination of designing more than 3,000 parking garages and the firm’s private development and management of its own parking facilities. Dick has over the years, successfully built and held together a truly world class team of parking designers and consultants at Rich & Associates. Fostering what at one time was an evolutionary environment that has morphed into a genuinely revolutionary, 21st Century state-of-the-art parking, planning, design, and engineering firm. “As far as I’m concerned, this is the most exciting industry there is,” says Dick. “Transportation is constantly evolving, and there is no end to the opportunities we have for new discoveries. Why would I give this up?”

1) What is your fondest memory of the last 55-years at R&A?

“Meeting Minoru Yamasaki and being his consultant for about 5 years until his death and establishing a relationship that allowed me to continue our work with the Yamasaki firm.”

2) What is your funniest memory of the last 55-years at R&A?

“There was a parking operator that contacted me who had about 10-15 locations in the city that we did some consulting for to help improve his parking lots and to improve his income. We asked for his financial figures to input them into the computer and after we ran all of the material that he sent us, it was obvious that he wasn’t making any money. I called him and his response was,” “I sent you the wrong set of books, those are the ones we pay taxes on, there’s a factor of 3 you’ve got to multiply all the numbers by!”

3) What is the greatest lesson you have learned in the parking industry?

“Security for the cars and for the patrons is number 1. Whatever you do you’ve got to make it easy on the patron, and make sure he or she is safe and secure while in the garage. That’s why we are an advocate, starting in the mid ‘80s, of TV monitoring of our own parking structures and recommending it to all of our clients. One of our own structures in Des Moines had sound monitors and TV cameras. If there was a loud scream in any one aisle the cameras adjacent to that row and in that row were capturing video so we could see exactly what was going on.”

4) What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to for work in the last 55-years?

“Cali, Columbia. The first project I did down there was in the late ‘60s, I did a parking garage where we convinced them to put a 12-story apartment house on top of the garage. The owner became one of my best friends and our relationship continued for more than 3 decades until his death.”

5) What is the best advice you have received and the best advice you can give to somebody in this industry?

“Do the best you can with what you’ve got & pay attention to the little details.”



* The Detroit Free Press

*The Parking Professional

The Y2K!
History of Parking

The Y2K!

As we continue our journey of reminiscing over memorable & influential projects from our first 55-years here at Rich & Associates, we’ve made our way into the 2000s! The 2000s are most remembered for encompassing worldwide projects from both Rich & Associates and MedPark, Inc. that paved the way in their modern design & thorough planning.

City of Warren, MI. Civic Center Parking Garage

In 2005, Rich & Associates had the honor to work as parking consultants and structural engineers to Neumann Smith Architecture on a 710-space parking garage as part of the new Civic Center development for the City of Warren, MI. Not only did the Warren Civic Center project win a 2008 AIA Michigan Honor Award, it marked the first parking garage project that Rich & Associates designed as consultants to Neumann Smith.

The new landmark Civic Center lines the east edge of a new city square park consisting of formal green space, a fountain/skating rink, and a pavilion building. The modern glass and brick design recalls the City’s roots as an important industrial, research, and development town, whose great icon was the GM Tech Center.  The new building, which features a 7-story clock tower, creates a powerful visual “bookend” to the Vehicle Engineering Center, the tallest building on the GM Tech Center campus.

The new 710-car parking structure abuts the City Hall/Library and is located so that it can also serve the neighboring police and court buildings and any future mixed-use developments.  The scale and mass were designed to maximize the level of user service, to minimize the use of valuable land, and to be recessive to the City Hall/Library building and future development.

Since the completion of this project, we have had the privilege of collaborating with Neumann Smith on the design of eight successful parking garage projects including the multi-award winning ‘Z’ Deck in downtown Detroit.

Veterans Administration Regional Office and Parking Structure

Jesse Brown West Side Medical Center – Chicago, Il.

In 1996, the US Department of Veterans Affairs issued a request for proposal for the private development of a 1,000-car parking facility (surface parking and structure).  It was issued under the newly adopted Enhanced Use Lease program, where the private developer was encouraged to provide other revenue generating uses within the structure to help subsidize the cost.  MEDPark, Rich & Associates’ private parking development affiliate, determined that the parking project would not be feasible without subsidies due to the DVA policy of free patient parking.

Despite the lack of feasibility, MEDPark and Rich & Associates submitted a proposal response offering alternative development scenarios.  MEDPark was selected over eight other submittals. Over the next four years the team and DVA met on several occasions to finalize a successful development approach that satisfied all parties. During this time, the project program grew to include a 1,600-space parking structure and 100,000 square foot office building for the Veterans Administration Regional Office.

MEDPark served as the developer responsible for the design and delivery of the entire project.  While Rich & Associates provided architectural and engineering services for the garage, MEDPark hired SmithGroup JJR to design the office building. Our team was responsible for the entire project providing project management services, guaranteeing the final cost and project schedule. We administered the design and construction process and negotiated the final GMP with our design/build partners Walbridge.

Completed in 2005, both buildings were successfully completed on time and under budget. Today, MEDPark Management is operating both facilities.

*Richard C. Rich, President/Founder of Rich & Associates & MEDPark, Inc. pictured second from right

Central Market Street Mixed‐Use Development – Moscow, Russia.

Rich & Associates was involved in the planning and functional design of a 450-space multi-level below grade parking structure in Moscow, Russia. As a consultant to the development team, we worked closely with their design team to produce this new structure.

Our role as parking consultants involved preparing a functional design package to be used by the owner’s architect in the final design and engineering of the parking garage portion of the overall development. This functional package was essentially the detailed layout and design of the parking floor plans including grading of the floor and ramps, stall layout, traffic circulation and markings, signage, and entry and exit details.

We studied numerous alternative design concepts based on the previous programming and preliminary design prepared by the architect. We also studied alternative mechanical parking structure systems versus conventional parking garage. Our mission was to develop functional plan that improved the efficiency of the traffic flow and efficiency of construction to reduce the project costs.

Since our work on this project, we were retained by another Russian developer to work with them and their lead architect SOM, on the design of a 2,000-space parking garage to serve a large mixed-use hotel, office and residential development in Moscow.

Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion Parking Garage, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI.

Fast-forward 20 years to mid 2018, Rich & Associates recently completed design of a 700-space parking garage that will serve the new Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. As parking consultants to lead architects SmithGroup JJR, Rich & Associates is providing parking consulting, design and engineering services. Currently under construction, the parking garage features a 2,000 sf of ground level space that will house medical data file storage, provisions for future retail space, a receiving area and ambulance bays on the ground level.

*Rendering provided by SmithGroup JJR

And They’re Off!
History of Parking

And They’re Off!

And They’re Off!

As many of you know this Saturday, May 5th is the 144th annual Kentucky Derby! In honor of this historical event, we’ve decided to look at some facts about the race, the way horses were originally used as a mode of transportation, when transportation evolved from a horse to a vehicle and how the vehicles created a demand for the parking garages and studies we are involved with today!

The Kentucky Derby, first held in 1875 at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, is the longest-running sports event in the United States. The mint julep, the Derby’s traditional drink, is wildly overpriced at $11 a pop. Connoisseurs of bourbon consider it a waste of good whiskey. On Derby Day the infield will hold around 80,000 revelers, making it Kentucky’s third-largest city, behind Lexington and Louisville. The 1¼-mile distance has been standard since 1896. The first 21 Derby’s were contested at 1½ miles.

The domestication of the horse dates back to around 6000-5500 BC and has had a significant impact of many aspects of human history and culture. Although there is much debate about the history of domestic horses, research indicates that horses were first domesticated by the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan. Primarily between 1815 – 1915 Concorde buggies were a primary mode of short-distance, personal transportation, while horseback riding in towns and rural areas was much less common.  Buggies required at least crudely graded main roadways, where horses could go almost anywhere. The growing use of buggies for local travel expanded, along with stage lines and railroads for longer trips.

In cities and towns, horse-drawn railed vehicles gave carriage to poor workers and the lower middle class. The upper middle class used buggies, as did farmers, while the rich had the more elegant 4-wheel carriages for local use. In the late 19th century, bicycles became another factor in urban personal transport. In the United States, hundreds of small companies produced buggies, and their wide use helped to encourage the grading and graveling of main rural roads and actual paving in towns which provided all-weather passage within and between larger towns. By the early 1910s, the number of automobiles had surpassed the number of buggies, but the use of buggies continued well into the 1920s in out of the way places.

As more and more people bought cars, the need for a place to park grew immensely. The first ‘parking garage’ dates back to the early 1900’s and doesn’t look like most garages we are familiar with today. Parking garages in this time were multi-car buildings which often mimicked the look of homes or multi-story commercial buildings. Sometimes parking garages were horse stables, where they would charge the same for parking a car as they did for stalling a horse. The first multi-story parking garage that we know of, was built in 1918.

The early parking garages were staffed with parking attendants who would park the car. In some cases, the car was placed on a platform with car lifts and would automatically be moved to an available parking space.

In the 1950’s there was a construction boom when it comes to parking garages with self-service parking garages. There were several innovations in the design and construction self-service parking garages. Most of what we see today in North America are self-service parking garages. However advancements in technology are leading to increased construction of automated facilities.


Continuing our 55-year anniversary celebration!
History of Parking/Project Spotlight
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Continuing our 55-year anniversary celebration!

As we continue celebrating our 55-year anniversary at Rich & Associates this month we are stepping back into the 1980s to recall some of our most unforgettable projects from the decade!

The Wayne State University Parking structure #5 is the fourth project designed by Rich & Associates on the Wayne State University campus in Midtown Detroit, it marks the first parking structure designed by the firm in collaboration with Walbridge Aldinger Construction of Detroit (now known as Walbridge). While this successful project is a fairly simple structure, it represents the birth of a long term successful relationship with Walbridge that spans more than 30 years. Since the successful completion of Parking Structure #5, Rich & Associates has had the honor of working with Walbridge on 26 parking garages, totaling more than 34,000 parking spaces, across the country.
The WSU Parking Structure #5 contains 1,078 parking spaces and was successfully completed in 1987 at a cost of $5 million.

While this successful project is a fairly simple structure, it represents the birth of a long term successful relationship with Walbridge that spans more than 30 years. Since the successful completion of Parking Structure #5, Rich & Associates has had the honor of working with Walbridge on the successful completion of 26 parking garages, totaling more than 34,000 parking spaces, across the country. Some of the more memorable design/build projects with Walbridge include;

Compuware Parking Garage (now One Campus Martius Garage), Detroit, MI.

  • 2,200 spaces
  • Ground level retail
  • Constructed over existing elevated people mover tram that remained in operation during construction
  • Two levels below grade and nine levels above grade.

Pierce Street Parking Garage, Tampa, FL


  • 580 spaces
  • 10 levels
  • Constructed on tight downtown site

General Motors Warren Tech Center Parking Garages, Warren, MI.

  • 5 parking garages totaling more than 9,000 parking spaces


Rich & Associates, and our parking development and management affiliates MEDPark and MEDPark Management, were first involved with Iowa Methodist Medical Center (IMMC) in 1983. The 30-year relationship began when Rich & Associates first performed a parking demand study for the Hospital. The purpose of the study was to determine the parking space requirements for a new medical office building to be built adjacent to an existing medical building, and to project the future campus needs. A detailed economic feasibility analysis for a new 600 space parking structure was also completed as part of the overall study

Six months following the completion of the parking study, IMMC decided not to finance the much-needed parking structure and invited private developers to provide development proposals. MEDPark, Inc. was one of three competing proposals that the Hospital received. Upon review, MEDPark’s proposal was deemed the most financially sound and advantageous to the Hospital

Financing was secured and construction began the week of July 8, 1985 and the building opened December 23, 1985. From the time of selection to opening of the structure, the time frame was only 18 months. This included the re-design of all of the paid and employee surface lots.

In 1988 the Hospital was planning several construction projects and required additional parking. The Hospital approached MEDPark with the issue. Since MEDPark built into the original structure capacity to add two more parking floors, MEDPark was able to meet the Hospital’s needs. We were able to fast-track the financing, design and construction of an additional 400 spaces. The expansion was completed in August, 1990 bringing the total capacity of the structure to 1,000.

The final expansion of the structure was to the south and involved an additional 800 car spaces and 94,000 square feet of office space on the first two levels serving as the Hospital’s Medical Education and Research Center (MERC). The MERC includes an auditorium, physician seminar room, health sciences library, classrooms, banquet facilities, and Hospital administration offices. This expansion brought the total capacity of the structure to approximately 1,800 cars.

As owners and operators of the parking structure, MEDPark has invested considerable time and money improving the facility serving the hospital patients, staff and visitors. Columns flanking drive aisles were candy striped in black and yellow because an ophthalmologist reported that some of his patients had trouble distinguishing between shades of gray. We upgraded the lighting, testing new fixtures in the deck to provide better light distribution for patrons to feel secure. MEDPark also made a significant investment improving accessibility for the disabled by enlarging access doors to the Hospital and constructing a larger lobby and wheel chair drop-off area.


In 1984 at the Puerto Rico Medical Center there was no organized parking system. For the most part the parking needs were met by approximately 3,000 uncontrolled off-street spaces. Rich & Associates approached the challenge in two phases. The first phase involved the analysis and preparation of a parking allocation plan for visitors and patients, employees and students. Based on the plan our team then laid out a campus wide system of access and revenue control systems that included cashiered transient lots and card-controlled employee/student lots. Our work included preparing plans and specifications for the construction of new entry and exit plans, and the installation of access and revenue control systems.

In the second phase, MEDPark, Rich & Associates parking management affiliate, put together a partnership with a local partner to finance the parking improvements and operate the entire campus parking system for the hospital.

Then in 1985, Rich & Associates’ planning team conducted an exhaustive demand and economic feasibility analysis for the planned construction of an 800-space parking deck. Based on the demand and economic feasibility study results, MEDPark and their partners financed, developed and operated the parking deck and the campus wide parking system over the next 20 years.

We’ve made it to the ’70s!
History of Parking/Not Parking
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We’ve made it to the ’70s!

Continuing Our 55-year Anniversary Celebration!

As we continue to celebrate our 55-year anniversary here at Rich & Associates, we’re looking back in to the 1970′ at some of our firm’s more noteworthy projects!

The ’70s were a notable decade at R&A for many reasons. During this period, we expanded our services to include the private development and operation of parking garages and designed a garage that would later be recognized on a list of historic places worthy of preservation by the National Register of Historic Places.

First on our list is the Davenport Bank & Trust Garage in Davenport, IA.

Rich & Associates was first hired by the Bank to provide concept design studies for a parking garage to serve the Bank’s existing building. During the process, the project evolved to include four floors of new banking facilities adjacent to the garage and one level of office space above the garage.

Before moving into detailed design, the bank president, knowing of Richard C. Rich’s personal relationship with renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki, asked if we could engage Mr. Yamasaki in the architectural façade design of the project. As a favor to Dick Rich, Mr. Yamasaki agreed to provide the façade design on one condition. The condition was that his name and his firm’s name were not to be associated with the project in any manner. At that point in his career the scope of the project was not something that he or his firm normally took on.

The project was completed in 1971 and included a 220-space parking garage, 36,000 square feet of banking facilities adjacent to the garage and 28,000 square feet of office space atop the garage. On May 12, 2016 the Davenport Bank & Trust Garage was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places Program and placed on the official list of the Nation’s Historic Places worthy of preservation. The Davenport Bank & Trust Garage is noted as being exceptionally significant because of its multi-use function as a parking garage and office, unique within Davenport, and as a distinct high-style parking garage that exemplifies late Modern Movement Architecture.

Second is the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority Garage in Oklahoma City, OK.

This unique 1,500 space parking structure spans 3 city blocks. It features 28,000 square feet of ground level retail spaces open to 30-foot-wide interior light core in the center of the garage. The light core provided natural light into the lower parking levels and ground level area for restaurant seating. An articulated glass enclosed stair and elevator towers extends 26 feet from the parking structure providing connectivity to an adjacent hotel.

Rich & Associates provided parking consulting, architectural and engineering design services for this project which was completed in 1972

Coming in at number 3 on our ’70s list is the Locust Mall Parking Structure in Des Moines, IA.

In 1976 Rich & Associates provide parking consulting, design and engineering services for this mixed-use parking garage in downtown Des Moines. The Locust Mall Parking Structure, as it became known, was the result of a revitalization program in Downtown Des Moines, IA.. The site was surrounded by two large office buildings, a major department store and the site of a new hotel. Through careful planning, design and engineering, Rich & Associates was developed a successful parking plan that included parking for 711 cars and 96,000 square feet of retail spaces. The Locust Mall Parking Structure also featured an overhead bridge connection to a major department.

Rounding out our list of memorable ’70s projects at Rich & Associates is the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, MI.
This project represents the first parking garage privately financed, developed and operated by the firm through an affiliate company now known as MEDPark. Rich & Associates was first engaged by Hurley Hospital to complete campus parking demand study. At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that the Hospital was deficient of parking needed to support existing campus activities and the future construction of a new medical office building. Due to certificate of need restrictions, the Hospital decided to solicit proposals from private developers to design/build, own and operate a 660-space parking garage.

In 1978. the principals of Rich & Associates formed an affiliate company and was one of four (4) competing proposals submitted. We were successfully awarded the contract to develop and operate the parking garage as well the 45,000 square foot medical office building. We owned and operated both buildings for several years before eventually selling the facilities back to the Hospital. Since this time, Rich & Associates and MEDPark would go on to privately develop more than $90 million in parking projects and operate more than 10,000 parking spaces.

Celebrating 55 Years!
History of Parking/Not Parking
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Celebrating 55 Years!

As we celebrate Rich & Associates turning 55 this year, we’re taking a look back at some of our most monumental projects from our first decade! Rich & Associates is proud to have completed three “firsts” of a kind during our initial years!

Topping our list of “firsts” is Stanwix Autopark in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Stanwix Autopark was one of the first constructed mixed-use garages of its kind. It was designed in 1963, and combines 10 levels of parking totaling 700 spaces, ground level first-floor retail space, two floors of office space, and 12 stories of apartments. The garage also features a heated exterior express ramp, and a 76 ft. glass-enclosed carpeted and landscaped sky-walk to Horne’s Department Store! Stanwix goes down as one of our most influential projects and would ultimately pave the way for more mixed-use garages to come from Rich & Associates!

“Harry Shepard was the owner of Stanwix Autopark, I did a project for Harry three years prior (to 1963) while I was working for National Garages”, says Richard C. Rich, PE, founding President of Rich & Associates. “Together, Harry and I successfully completed one of the first self-park parking garages in Tallahassee, Florida. The project was successfully completed on time and below budget! When I left National Garages and went on to form Rich & Associates, Harry contacted me saying he wanted me to re-design his new garage known as Stanwix Autopark in downtown Pittsburgh. Harry and I had talked previously about combining other uses (retail and office spaces, apartments, etc.,) to a parking garage. Mixed-use design became a focal point of the new Stanwix project.”

“During this time, we were doing a lot of converting old attendant based parking lots into self-park parking lots, this was our main focus for the Stanwix project. Harry had an old loan out on his current garage and the only way he was able to convince the lender to allow him to tear down his existing attendant-based garage was to produce documentation outlining the costs and benefits. So, we worked with him analyzing and projecting the savings by transitioning into a self-service parking garage. We were able to demonstrate that the transition to self-service would ultimately result in the operation earning more money per space.”

The Pittsburgh Press published an article on Tuesday, March 17, 1964 stating that “the parking garage at Stanwix Street and Fort Duquesne is breathing its last today as wrecking crews will move in to raze the structure, making way for a 23-story multi-million-dollar public parking garage-office-apartment building which Harry W. Shepard Jr., (developer of the site) regards as unique, even in a city which has blazed the trail in urban renewal.” This new structure would be known as Stanwix Autopark.

This is not the only “first” that Rich & Associates experienced in our initial years. In addition to Stanwix Autopark being one of the first large scale mixed-use garages of its time, we were also responsible for designing what were to be considered the largest above-ground and underground garages at the time.

In 1966 Rich & Associates started the design of a 10,000-car garage (pictured below) at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois as parking consultants to C.F. Murphy Associates. The garage, at the time of completion, was the largest above-grade single parking garage in the world.

Rich & Associates then went on to design the largest underground garage (pictured below) at that time. We were hired by architect Minoru Yamasaki to design a 6,000-space underground garage that was built underneath two triangular office buildings known at that time as the “Theme Towers”, in Los Angeles, California.
Richard C. Rich, PE
President & Founder | Rich & Associates

Fast forward 55 years to the end of 2017, The East 2nd Street Parking Garage in Des Moines, Iowa opens!

“The East 2nd Street Parking Garage for the City of Iowa represents the 14th parking garage project that Rich & Associates has designed as parking engineering consultants to Neumann Monson Architects, of Iowa City. The relationship with Neumann Monson spans more than 30 years and has produced successful parking garages throughout the State of Iowa including Iowa City, Dubuque, Davenport, Ottumwa, Ames and Des Moines.”

“The East 2nd Street (City Hall) Parking Garage was built by the City of Des Moines to support the redevelopment of a public surface parking lot into a mixed-use retail and residential development. The parking structure features 540 parking spaces in six levels. A roof level structure over the top level of parking is designed and engineered to support the installation of PV arrays enabling the structure to achieve net zero energy.”
David Rich
Project Development Director | Rich & Associates

When we look back on the journey of these significant and remarkable 55 years at Rich & Associates we are proud of the foundation our success is built upon. We have accomplished a lot together in our first 55 years, but we believe that our greatest accomplishments still lie ahead of us. Here’s to the next 55!

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History of Parking/Infographics

Infographics: Marketing Your Parking

What’s the point of having parking if no one can find it?

Marketing your parking is just as important as having it! That’s why we’re here to give you some tips from our parking pros on how to marketing your city’s parking effectively. From branding to position of your signage, our planning team knows how to help your city maximize it’s parking potential!