Parking Ambassador Provides Assistance During Construction

Construction can be a daunting and frustrating time for many, but a friendly face at the center of it all can make a huge difference.

Michael Foster has been an employee at Republic Parking in Ferndale for the past three years. Most of his time has been spent doing the tasks of a parking attendant—patrolling the streets, checking meters, and writing tickets—but this year he was given a new title: Parking Ambassador. This title comes from a recognized need for someone to be in the thick of construction to assist business owners, residents, and construction workers in navigating the new terrain.

“I feel responsible to create an atmosphere to help everyone. I want to make sure business owners get what they need, deliveries get delivered, and visitors find the best parking options possible,” said Foster.

A majority of his day is spent explaining how to get around the construction site and surrounding areas.

“I’ve made sure to spend extra time explaining what is going on. Most of the time people are confused and frustrated and I’m the one who gets to explain everything to them. My goal is to change their mindset and give them a better understanding of what’s happening, why, and what their best options are.”

It’s evident that creating relationships is a strength of Fosters’ and those relationships have helped him gain the trust of those directly effected by construction. From the delivery truck drivers who know he will help create a space to unload, business owners who have learned that if they explain their situation he will do his best to accommodate their needs, and construction workers who call on him directly when needed.

When asked if he had advice for everyone during the construction period, it was simple—be patient.

“I treat all of this like a new baby, which means you have to be willing to adjust and understand that things aren’t always going to go how you expect. But at the end of the day, the City of Ferndale and parking enforcement are here and willing to help,” said Foster.

When Foster isn’t on the construction site, he is regularly having meetings with his supervisor to discuss what he is seeing and where there is room for improvement.

“I’m here to help. I care about you and your situation and it is my responsibility to help you the best I can.”