America Needs More Robotic Parking

UrbanLand and The Atlantic Cities recently published an article by Jack Skelley on the need for Robotic Parking garages as part of the infrastructure in America. Here’s a portion of the article.

“Add another item to the list of infrastructure in which the United States lags: robotic parking. As common in Asia and Europe as streetlights, parking that automatically stores and retrieves cars is only now catching on in American cities.

More primitive elevator-style parking has been around since the mid–20th century, but advanced automatic garages are more like three-dimensional chessboards: pallets and computerized shelving park up to 250 cars per hour, with 32 cars in motion at any time. As cities become denser, the cost of high-density parking begins to pencil out for developers because it reduces parking square footage requirements by 50 to 75 percent, say experts.

‘If you have high-density development, it makes sense to have high-density parking,’ says Donald C. Shoup, professor of urban planning at UCLA. “Talk to any developer: they say for small or irregular sites, robotic parking is the answer to space constraints. It will unlock the real estate potential of many urban infill sites.’

Automated parking is an outstanding development option, says Cathleen Sullivan, San Francisco–based associate project planner for Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates and a member of the ULI Transit-Oriented Development Council. ‘It allows the same number of parking spots on a much smaller footprint, which provides much more interaction with the street environment,’ she says. ‘It’s also an interesting option for residents not quite ready to become zero-car households. They are not using their car every day, so they don’t need immediate access. For them, it’s more like storage than parking.’

How Robotic Parking Works

Sullivan says she sees it as another tool for developers seeking approval for city-friendly projects. “Anything that gives developers more space flexibility is positive,” she says. The cost of developing robo-parking is especially competitive with that of creating underground parking structures. “You don’t have to dig as deep, and you can wrap parking with other uses that generate revenue, such as retail or residential,” she notes. She and other advocates also point out the green advantages of using less fuel and fewer resources—including for lighting and ventilation—than needed for standard parking structures.

Robotic Parking System Interior

(source: The Atlantic Cities and UrbanLand)

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