Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa, San Jose best places to park our cars

The International Parking Institute on Tuesday chose a dozen outstanding parking places in North America by handing out its 2011 Awards of Excellence. The best places to park, experts are saying, are in Illinois, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California and Saskatchewan.

Criteria for the awards included innovativness, efficiency, eco- and user-friendliness, cost-savings and collaboration.

Award winners in the 29th annual competition included three places in Chicago, which is the most eco-friendly place to park in America, according to the institute.

"Our 2011 winners serve as models for overcoming the myriad challenges facing the parking industry today, including overtaxed and outdated systems, increased use, and limited funding and resources," said Shawn Conrad, said executive director of the institute.

"Whether they have rehabilitated aging facilities or addressed parking issues with innovative alternatives, these projects all have advanced the industry and improved the future of their communities."

Categories: Architectural achievement, best design of parking facilities with less than and more than 800 spaces, innovation in programs and operations and rehabilitation/restoration. Winners were chosen by panelists who included architects, parking-structure owners and city, airport and university officials.

The top three winners are Chicago's Greenway Self Park, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's Rental Car Center and Colorado State University's Lake Street Parking Garage.

Also cited for excellence: The Tampa Port Authority Channelside Parking Garage, Tampa; Durham Centre Parking Deck Rehabilitation, Durham, N.C.; Mountaineer Station, Morgantown, W.Va.; Click and Park, a Division of Standard Parking, Chicago; SPokes Bicycle Lending Program, Chicago; Mineta San Jose International Airport CONRAC (pictured), San Jose, Calif.; Parking and Transportation Services at the University of California at Irvine, Irvine, Calif.; City of York Market Street, York, Pa.; and Royal University Hospital Parkade Garage Complex, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected]

Image source: International Parking Institute

Other cars stories you might like ...

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.