The West Hollywood city council unanimously voted on Monday to build an automated vehicle and storage retrieval system (AVSRS) as part of the new City Hall Automated Garage and Community Plaza Project.
The automated parking system will accommodate 200 cars and utilize computer-controlled, motorized vehicles, lifts, conveyors and shuttles to transport passenger cars to and from the entrance to a parking space, without human assistance. The retrieval process can take approximately 90 seconds depending on the size of the system and location of the car.
“We’re very excited about this new system,” Mayor John Duran said. “It’s such a challenge to find a parking space with the parking shortage in mid city. This solves the problem.”
The city awarded the contract to Unitronics, which likens the automated parking system to a “complete valet experience without the valet.”
West Hollywood’s AVSRS will be the first municipal automated parking structure west of the Mississippi. There is currently a small, hydraulic-based parking lot on Hollywood Boulevard near the Pantages Theatre where cars can be stacked on top of one another, but West Hollywood’s AVSRS looks to really ride the wave of new technology.
With Unitronics onboard, the city will now hire a general contractor and plans to break ground a year from now, with a projected completion date of roughly May 2013. Cars at the new City Hall Plaza will be parked door-to-door and bumper-to-bumper. The structure will be open to the public and will use reduced lighting.
Currently, West Hollywood City Hall offers free, limited outdoor parking, and according to Duran, that may continue.
“During daytime, for city hall business, parking may still be free,” Duran said. “In the evening, we’ll probably have a reasonable fee after city hall hours.”
Unitronics work on the AVSRS is budgeted at roughly $2.6 million, and according to Oscar Delgado, director of Public Works, the entire project should cost approximately $13.3 million. Funds will come from the city’s parking improvement fund, which is generated from revenue the city generates from parking operations.
While it may take some motorists time to get used to the new system, Duran is confident people will embrace the new technology.
“People are more accustomed to parking their car themselves, and finding it exactly where they left it,” Duran said. “This requires a bit of trust. In communities like West Hollywood, where we’re completely built out and very urban, this is a solution. People will welcome it.”
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