Greener Urban Areas – Eco-Boulevards

Each year the jury of the The Buckminster Fuller Challenge awards $100,000 in prize money to honor and encourage further development of the winner’s work. Finalists provide a workable solution to one of the world’s most significant challenges such as water scarcity, food supply, or energy consumption.

One of this year’s finalists was Eco-Boulevards from Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen of UrbanLab, a research-based architecture and urban design practice. (http://www.urbanlab.com/h2o/)

Chicago discards over one billion gallons of Great Lakes water per day. This “wastewater” never replenishes one of the world’s most vital resources.

The Eco-Boulevard concept transforms existing roadways, sidewalks and parks, which comprise more than a third of the land in a city such as Chicago, into a passive bio-system for filtering / recycling water, promoting walking / biking, and fostering green-jobs. Treated water is then returned to the Great Lakes, closing Chicago’s water loop.

All urban areas can benefit from more green spaces, safe places for walking / biking and common areas in which people can interact. Just imagine taking half of the space used by downtown parking and turning this into parks, walking paths or other open areas for people. Think it can’t be done? Automated, robotic parking garages can reduce the space needed for parking by 50%. This creates space for greener cities and systems such as Eco-Boulevards while still reducing the traffic congestion and pollution of people driving around looking for parking places.

Advertisements

Oil from Spill Could Have Powered 105,000 Cars for a Year

As of today (Thursday, June 17th), if all the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been used for fuel, it could have powered 105,000 cars and 8,800 trucks for a full year plus 146 container ship days, according to University of Delaware Prof. James J. Corbett. That’s based on scientists’ recently updated (June 15th) average estimated spill rate of 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

Corbett, a professor of marine policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, works on energy and environmental solutions for transportation. He launched a website that reports the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in terms of lost uses of the lost fuel on a daily basis. (http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/getinvolved/oilSpill.aspx)

Here are just a few of Corbett’s findings:

* By May 5 (15 days after the spill), the oil lost could have fueled 470 container ships serving New York and New Jersey ports for a year.
* By May 31 (41 days after the spill), the lost energy could have fueled one freight truck on 17 trips across all 4 million miles of U.S. highway.

Corbett says he developed the website to help put the oil spill in a perspective to which everyday users of petroleum, including most Americans, can relate.

This oil spill is of particular interest to Robotic Parking Systems for numerous reasons. One reason is that our 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility and corporate offices are located on the Gulf coast of Florida in the Clearwater – Tampa Bay area. We’re fortunate so far that the spill is still quite some distance away from us, and our shores have not yet been directly impacted.

Additionally, Robotic Parking Systems has always worked to contribute to the green building efforts of architects and developers to create greener and more livable cities.  By parking twice as many cars in half the space, our automated parking garages helps builders achieve additional green space or use the space created to provide other benefits for their projects or the community. This robotic technology significantly reduces gas consumption, carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.

More economical uses of petroleum and other energy resources will reduce the need for future deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Architects and developers create space with Robotic Parking Systems

Robotic Parking Systems works with architects and developers around the world to design automated parking garages for a wide range of project ideas, from retail to hospitals to financial centers to mixed-use developments.

In many cases space is at a premium, and the project can’t go forward unless the architect can somehow “create space” to get the parking density needed. The solution – compact, robotic parking garages.

It comes down to available “footprint”. And, it’s the job of the Robotic Parking Systems’ design department to come up with parking solutions that fit within the available space.

Minimizing the impact of parking creates more space for design and development that can be used for green space, common areas for the community or other uses that benefit the project as a whole. Not only can Robotic Parking Systems park twice as many cars in half the space as compared to conventional garages, but these car parks offer more security, less emissions and greater convenience for users.

As an example, look at a preliminary automated parking design for a hotel property planned for a very limited site. In a “footprint” of only 100 feet by 230 feet we were able to offer 1,500 parking spaces. The required throughput of 440 cars per hour is achieved with eleven entry / exit bays. To stay within a height limit of 100 feet, the garage is designed with 12 levels above grade and four levels below grade.

Click here to see the design.

Robotic Parking Systems can help urban areas with both parking and pedestrian-friendly spaces.

In his column in Next Americn City, Yonah Freemark writes about the dynamics of downtown pedestrian malls and the various and diverse reasons for their successes and failures.

Mr. Freemark states “Even as New York City makes big news for transforming parts of 34th Street into a pedestrian mall, Sacramento is pulling back from the concept. Four decades after first closing a section of downtown’s K Street to automobile traffic, the leaders of California’s capital have had enough. They want the cars back to bring new vitality to the city’s streets to save businesses threatened by extinction due to a lack of traffic.”

Attracting people to a pedestrian-friendly urban area usually means attracting their cars. This is where Robotic Parking Systems can mitigate these contrary factors.

Because the Robotic Parking Systems garage is half the size of a comparable concrete structure there are more opportunities to centralize parking and locate it close to urban centers. The space created by this compact parking structure can be used by architects and developers for green space, pedestrian areas or other features to improve the community. Additionally, the facade of the garage can be customized to fit the architectural style of any urban neighborhood.

Always a concern in downtown areas, safety is a key benefit of automated parking garages such as Robotic Parking Systems. People don’t have to wander around dark, deserted garages. Cars are dropped off and picked up at well lighted, ground level bays.

The speed of the Robotic Parking System allows it to rapidly absorb the flow of traffic and, because people are not circling the streets searching for parking, the automated parking garage by itself reduces vehicle traffic.

Automated parking is the perfect solution for those cities that want to attract drivers to their downtown areas plus provide pedestrian-friendly spaces.

Robotic Parking Systems Can Improve Urban Landscapes

A recent article in the Winnepeg Free Press stated that “parking lots are asphalt deserts that create pedestrian dead zones” and are a “blot on downtown landscape.”

Winnipeg is reported to have some of the largest urban parking lots in Canada. Downtown residential population is low and the usage of public transit has declined which results in a high demand for parking for daily commuters

Developers are arguing that the redevelopment of adjacent sites can not happen successfully without the drive-up convenience of adjoining surface parking.

However, a clean, safe, walkable and interesting urban experience attracts people. Increased density and improved urban quality is a catalyst for residential growth. This in turn improves the perception of safety and provides support for new amenities and commercial activity. Downtown surface parking lots dilute all of these desirable characteristics.

The car is not the enemy, nor is the elimination of cars the solution. Successful cities manage their parking requirements with centralized parking structures that provide safety and convenience while maintaining a cohesive urban form.

Automated parking garages provide the type of centralized parking structures that improve urban landscapes. A Robotic Parking System that parks twice as many cars in half the space:

  • gives architects and developers more freedom to design and create greener and more livable communities without the need for sprawling parking lots.
  • provides safe, convenient parking that gets cars off the road and creates space that could be used for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • offers the convenience of valet parking without the valet.
  • generates less pollution and greenhouse gases.
  • provides complete flexibility in the design of the facade which can increase aesthetics and allow the garage to blend with any neighborhood or project.

Robotic Parking Systems offers solutions for urban environments that create more green space, less parking space and remove the blot on downtown landscapes.

via Winnepeg Free Press

Driver Reverses Car Through Wall of Parking Garage Seventh Story – This Can’t Happen With a Robotic Parking System

A driver reversed his Mercedes through a brick wall on the seventh floor of a multi-story parking garage after getting his foot stuck between the brake and the accelerator as he attempted to back into a space in the Bank of America building’s parking garage in Tulsa, OK.

While no one was hurt, around half a dozen vehicles parked below were hit with bricks from up to 70 feet in the air. More damage was averted as the car came to rest with its trunk hanging out of the building.

One woman said the roof and windows of her 2008 Toyota Corolla had been smashed by the falling debris. “Basically, everything has been damaged but the back bumper.”

This can’t happen with a Robotic Parking System. You drop off and pick up your car at well lighted, ground level entry / exit stations. No one enters or drives within the inside of the garage since the vehicles are moved via a computerized system of machines and lifts. Automated parking garages offer safety and security.

United Kingdom Sets Policies to Control Carbon Emissions – Robotic Parking Systems Can Help Reduce Greenhouse Gases

The United Kingdom is reported to be implementing regulations that are specifically designed to control carbon emissions, and not just for commercial buildings. The government has set a target of 60% reduction of its total CO2 emissions by 2050. Every household in the United Kingdom will need to reduce resources consumed to meet this challenge.

Additionally, Great Britain has already adopted policies that require all new housing stock to be Carbon Neutral by the year 2016. They are working towards implementing carbon taxes to motivate companies to look closely at the way that they consume energy and goods, and reward citizens that show initiative in responding to this crisis. The act of carbon counting is beginning to permeate a multitude of sectors in the UK.

Robotic Parking Systems offers parking solutions that help reduce carbon emissions. In a car park recently opened in Dubai, CO2 emissions were reduced by more than 100 tons per year with comparable reductions in other pollutants and greenhouse gases. It additionally saved 9,000 gallons of gasoline per year contributing significantly to a reduced carbon footprint.