Being green can land you rock star parking

  • Article by: SUZANNE ZIEGLER
  • Updated: August 8, 2010 - 3:24 PM

Eco-friendly buildings are starting to give fuel-efficient cars priority.

A sign seen in a parking ramp at 8200 building at Normandale Lake Office Park.

Driving a gas guzzler? Don't plan on always getting a primo parking spot.

Signs that read "ECO VEHICLE PARKING Violators Towed at Vehicle Owners Expense," have appeared near the door of the 8200 Building at Normandale Lake Office Park in Bloomington, which is home to the new Parma 8200 restaurant. Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op in St. Paul also has designated three prime spots for fuel-efficient cars.

Jim Gefre, property manager of the 8200 Building, sees it as a way for companies promote green alternatives.

"We will definitely see [eco-friendly spots] more and more," he said. "It's already popular out West, in Colorado and California. But you'll see it pick up more in the Midwest and the East."

To get the gold-level LEED certification, Gefre said 5 percent of the building's 1,200 parking spots were set aside for fuel-efficient cars, hybrids and those with low emissions. So far, the parking is operating on the honor system, but he suspects that may change.

"As the demand for spots increases, we will have a more formal monitoring program" he said.

But if non-green cars start getting tagged and towed, eco-friendly parking may stir up some controversy.

In the late 1990s, special " stork" parking slots reserved for new or expectant mothers started showing up outside shopping malls. But some stores, including Target, later abandoned the practice because critics questioned why mothers should be singled out for special treatment and some bristled at the idea that pregnancy was seen as a disability.

Suzanne Ziegler • 612-673-1707

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