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Reader Poll: Automated Parking Structure Groundbreaking or Pocketbook Draining?

Work on the $13.3 million computerized parking system behind City Hall is expected to start next summer. What's your opinion of this project? Exciting or excessive?

The city’s plans to build a new, five-story are moving along.

The new computerized parking structure, which the City Council appproved unanimously at its , will offer a valet-like experience to automatically store vehicles in parking berths using motorized lifts, conveyers and shuttles. Construction is expected to begin in late summer 2012 and take about one year to complete.

The final cost of the project, according to Oscar Delgado, the city’s director of public works, is projected to be $13.3 million. That includes $2.6 million for the purchase of the technology from Unitronics, as well as construction of the building and creation of a 27-foot-wide courtyard area between the City Hall building and the parking structure.

The public review period ended earlier this month, but you can still weigh in on the project by participating in our poll below.

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Stephanie November 30, 2011 at 12:19 AM
Meeting for tonight cancelled at the last minute.
Rudolf Martin November 30, 2011 at 01:11 AM
how could the city possibly have known about the unexpectedly close proximity to the holidays in advance?
Stephanie November 30, 2011 at 01:37 AM
LOL, martincomet! How 'bout "the dog ate my quorum?"
Linda F. Cauthen November 30, 2011 at 04:05 AM
What happens to this thing when the power goes out? I can just see dozens of luxury cars trapped inside with their irate owners screaming on the outside.
Rudolf Martin November 30, 2011 at 05:53 AM
the debacle of the previous garage in Hoboken was complicated by the city pitting 2 companies with competing software against each other. maintenance was a huge issue and wildly expensive. cars were trapped for days during a dispute about the software. retrofitting and repairs were going on for years. of course NONE of that will happen here. i just hope that using the automated structure will be mandatory for all city staff. the Hoboken debacle is chronicled here: http://hoboken411.com/archives/3524
joninla November 30, 2011 at 06:08 AM
OMG - here we go again. Just like the Plummer Park Catastrophy, to get the Residents Distracted while the final pre-construction will start (with a fence up and immediate BIG START .... oooopps too late .... you had a chance to speak before we started)....... Here we go, get an opinion Poll Going (like the fur ban poll. A totally improper attempt to extend the powers of the City Council Legislative Authority) TO MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY ARE PARTICIPATING IN A CONTROVERSY THAT WILL HAVE ANY OUTCOME OTHER THAN THE MOST INSANE PARKING PROJECT EVER PLANNED. INSANE? There is NO PARKING PROBLEM/SHORTAGE existing at City Hall. $13 MILLION DOLLARS to construct a structure as tall and big as City Hall (but without any windows) will be the biggest BLIGHT on the small homes/apts behind and around City Hall and will ADD to the already terrible traffic City Hall CREATES by the City's CHOICE of location to build the City Hall in the first place. (yes the building was there already, but the city "had to" basically tear it completely down and rebuild it TO THE CITY'S NEEDS (including EXTENSIVE PARKING THAT WAs PART OF THE BIG PLAN FOR CITY HALL) NOW THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ASSURED ADEQUATE CITY HALL PARKING IS DECLARING A SHORTAGE AND NEED FOR GROWTH AND NEW BUILDING CONTRADICTING WHAT WAS YEARS OF THE SAME PUPPET PLANNING FOR CITY HALL IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Jon Minnen November 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM
Unitronics did NOT build the garage facility in Hoboken, NJ. That was done by another company that has had issues. Unitronics did their best to come in after-the-fact to try to make another company's design work. BUT, what is being built in WeHo is a 100% Unitronics design.
Rudolf Martin November 30, 2011 at 04:17 PM
yes, that is correct, jon minnen. my first comment is misleading without clarifying that and i have removed it. the link i supplied with the second comment (which i left) shows the troubled history of the parking garage before during and after the transition in much more detail. And indeed it seems that once Unitronics finally had installed their own software and equipment (with some delays in 2008), now operated by themselves, things have gotten a lot better.
Lynn Russell November 30, 2011 at 05:57 PM
At the inception of the 25th Anniversary Capital Project I understand that a prime objective was the addition of 800 parking spaces for WH to be located at WH Park, Plummer Park, City Hall and I believe an undetermined 4th location. Great opportunity to craft the most expensive parking structures and make the city a LEADER in parking management. I'm sure some organization will come forward to anoint the city leaders for having such incredible foresight and we can have a parade and a few more awards ceremonies. With all the accolades perhaps the citizens will actually take their eyes off the ball. Well.... perhaps not........a big ball is coming in the form of an election ........so we can just roll them all out into the corner of a far distant pasture...... 25 years and "too long in the tooth" they say.......it is time to move on and embrace thoughtful government of and by the people with some balance and far less frenetic entertainment like no fur flying go-go dancers, full service trolley rides and a parade a week.........time for WH to actually grow up and act like an adult.
Rudolf Martin November 30, 2011 at 06:21 PM
assuming that the technology will work well (and that there will an adequate insurance in place for the occasional software or mechanical glitch, who pays for that insurance btw?) there remains to be the issue of operating and maintenance costs. In the case of the Hoboken structure, Unitronics (an Israeli company) offered the city several levels of quality at different price levels: $9500 per month per "on-site operations person" (8hrs a day, 5 days a week, so you would need AT LEAST 2) On top of that several “on call” emergency repairs options (1 hour, 5 hour, and 24 hour response times) at $24,500, $23,500 and $4100 per month respectively. So to have the reasonable 1 hour response support with a minimum of 2 operators on different shifts would cost $43,500 per month. The planned WeHo prices might be different though. The City should release the detailed operating costs so that people know exactly what we're paying for and how much it will cost in perpetuity. Here is a link to the PDF that I'm referring to: http://cdn.hoboken411.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/unitronicsresponse-section-1.pdf
Chloe Ross December 01, 2011 at 09:20 PM
You write a comment, then are asked to sign in and then the comment disappears. Where do they go?
Danielle Jacoby December 01, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Hi Chloe, sorry about that. Patch's Help Desk is looking into it.
joninla December 05, 2011 at 06:00 AM
But this is going to be THE FIRST ONE OF ITS KIND ... Computer operated. Come on now, Unitronics, IBM, Microsoft, Apple .... there is going to have to be years of debugging of the software before our Weho Beta Version 1 becomes relatively functional.
joninla December 05, 2011 at 06:08 AM
Stephanie - I really do commend how successful you efforts have been. But don't you see the pattern yet? These cancellation are part of the routine for every project that has anyone objecting. We need more than just NOISE at this point. The City (and the parks for that matter) are still subject to the County & State legislature. All these 'community meetings' are the means of getting local control away from the distant County/State Government. It was intended to PREVENT what is going on. By getting an investigation to this PUPPET means of holding meeting, giving 2min to anyone who wants to speak, then doing whatever they feel like IS IN DIRECT OPPOSTION TO THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT THAT THE CITY COUNCIL IS ABUSING AND SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP AND HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR INTENTIONAL MISUSE OF THE LEGISLATION THAT GAVE THE CITY THE RIGHT TO INCORPORATE ..... meaning they had to set up all these notices and meeting, with the INTENT to allow residents and locals to prevent WHAT IS GOING ON BEFORE OUR EYES! (I would be more specific, but I don't know legislative law, just the 'intent of the legislature' in dolling out it land use rights (including the protection and preservation of the Trees in Plummer Park). BTW - How many trees are coming down behind City Hall for this monstrosity?
joninla December 05, 2011 at 06:14 AM
Correction - This is not just employees, but City Employees with benefits (including vacation and sick days) and there will need to be at LEAST 4-5 to keep in staffed for basic use. Of course there will also have to be highly trained people on staff (paid) to be "on-call" 24/7 in case of a minor glitch to a major catastrophe. The garage will also need EXTRA SECURITY due to the uniqueness and the borderline non-criminal persons who want to get inside to check out the workings and pose an additional need for extra security 24/7. (and THE INSURANCE the City will have to pay for such a complex mechanical never tested garage system - somebody already mentioned it - but I'll say it again)
joninla December 05, 2011 at 06:19 AM
Before you get all hot and bothered over the supposed 800 "new parking spaces" .... Get a load of what is really going on. More parking is needed, but the location of the new parking is critical (I know, duh .... you would think). The city has a plan to allow further growth without minimum parking requirements by a new plan for "PARKING CREDITS" (like a carbon tax or buying air space of an adjacent building like they do in NYC). See: http://westhollywood.patch.com/articles/parking-credits-program-gets-thumbs-up-from-transportation-commission Then restart the fire. There is even more to get upset about this City Council.
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 12:25 AM
In anticipation of what confluence of cars are these parking lots needed? It has been my impression that we are striving for less carbon emissions, less driving, better public transport and then suddenly we need 800 extra spaces for what cars? If I could know what these cars represent maybe I would understand better - but selling parking credits is like selling woof tickets - Look it up. What if they build the parking spaces and nobody comes? If this is some get rich quick idea from the "powers that wannabe" I am not surprised but how do they KNOW that they will need 800 spaces? Re: Martincomet's comments. Yah! The city is relying on a great deal of good luck with robo park. And on a huge amount of maintenance money to keep it going. I bet - if they actually do it - the first person who can't get their car "right away" will pitch a running, hissy fit up and down Santa Monica Blvd and threaten to sue. Wouldn't you?
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Lynn, don't you think everyone of these PC, feel good about yourself ideas gets an eye roll from citizens? I fully support World AIDS Day, LGBT Day, Women's Health and other real observations of merit. But Go-Go Dancer Day - how many go-go- dancers are there to celebrate ?(Full disclosure - for a nano moment in my youth I tried out for this job and had a nano second career - that was before the pole). And the Party Bus - which basically promotes drinking - and fine - but what about a bump for the taxi business. After all - it's not my job to get drunks home safely. I gave that up years ago.
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 12:44 AM
The Fur Ban: Hizzoner already said the word "litigation" about half a dozen times at the last city meeting regarding this illegal ban. As he is also a lawyer he sort of smiled when he said it. Why do we need to invite lawsuits that cost the city a bundle? In a temperate climate wearing fur is silly - it's not as if we have Maximillian, Revillon and Black Glama setting up shop along Melrose. Come on. And if WeHo consumers want to buy fur - off they go to BH or online and get their fur fix. All this does is reduce revenue from businesses who might come here to open. We need to promote business and if the sale of fur is so disgusting to so many - don't go into the store that sells it. There is not going to be a world wide fur ban. Trust me. Smokers will not stop smoking if WeHo has a smoking ban. Big Tobacco can buy and sell this little burgh. Realistic ideas and projects merit our attention - this is not Disneyland. We need to keep that in mind.
joninla December 06, 2011 at 12:51 AM
I've been following this Robo-Garge stupidity since at least May or June. All the 'Problems' brought up are real. The same problem exists, the final plans have been laid, and the project will be fenced overnight and begun without any change to the plans or the budget. On a more irritatingly 'ironic' perspective - In general ALL PARKING ISSUES (Permits, Tickets, Building, Removing) are ALL MADE BY CITY HALL PARTICIPANTS WHO HAVE THE UNIVERSAL 'PARK ANYWHERE YOU WANT IN WEHO PERMITS' and so by definition HAVE NO IDEA THE ACTUAL DETAILS OF WHERE THERE ARE EXTREME PARKING SHORTAGES, WHERE THERE IS ENOUGH, AND WHERE THERE IS EXCESS. It takes real first hand daily EXPERIENCE finding parking in WeHo to understand exactly when and where the problems are, and how to possibly reduce the Problem with what I am sure most residents think about their block (if they just extended the permit zone, removed one metered spot, removed a portion of a red zone .... yadda, yadda, yadda) it could help the problem. Likewise, just why do those same people with Park-Anywhere-Permits need City Hall Parking. If the lot were ever full, they could park on any street around city hall and never get a ticket.
Rudolf Martin December 06, 2011 at 12:52 AM
According to my conservative estimate we the residents will have to get 640 parking tickets MORE per month (average $68, that is the rate for 'street cleaning') in order to pay the $43,500 per month for operation and maintenance of roboparking for City Hall. My suggestion would be for everyone's New Year's resolution to be not to get ANY parking tickets! I think that would start the process of 'starving the out-of-control beast' that is WeHo spending bonanza. However if you bought those AAA bonds they have been selling, they might quickly be downgraded....
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Aha - maybe the park anywhere perk should be eliminated period. The city doesn't even maintain the enforcement - this is contracted out to an independent company. The guy in my area is a demon. He racks up violations like a croupier. The company for whom he works is getting their dollars' worth and he goes home to his garage someplace else. Show me the 800 cars that are arriving at the gates and maybe I will rethink it. But consider I do know how to count to 800.
joninla December 06, 2011 at 01:03 AM
The "Fur Ban" (which let me say I am against fur) is actually a serious matter about the misuse of the Legislative Authority of the City of West Hollywood and the Actions Taken (weather by unanimous or majority vote) that go beyond those that they have the authority to 'Make Laws to Change Existing Laws'. Yes - it sounds good when it is an obvious 'feel good' issue like banning fur. Sure we would like it - but if you can think back to your High School Civics - there are limits to what Elected Official at each level from the President all the way down to little old City Council Members of West Hollywood think they can 'change the world' by making laws that 'are the right thing to do'. Right or wrong - our Country is based on very clear sets of rules about legislating the actions, behavior and legality of peoples daily lives. It sucks sometimes, but all in all, I think we all would prefer to live in our democracy rather than live in a place where a little City Could outlaw anything they feel like. Remember the stories from the deep south and basic Civil Rights? Well WeHo is no different with Legislating Banning Fur (despite it being a good moral cause - it is just as bad a the pre-civil rights era days of local legislators making immoral laws). That's what's wrong with the 'power' being wielded freely by the City Council. Basically, it's not their job.
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Well, in the memorable words of Tom Lehrer which he satirically put into the mouth of scientist Werner Von Braun: "Once the rockets go up,who cares where they come down - that's not my department" sez Werner Von Braun.
joninla December 06, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Ya think they should get rid of those Parking Permits? wow - you mean all 300 issued and out there? Maybe? Well of course ... But we are back to "How do we the Residents (and non-holder of the golden passes) get the change? Also, the 'independence' of the parking patrols are no quite so 'independent'. They are wholly under the direct authority of City Hall and the Revenue goes right back to those same people in City Hall to spend. It was the Council (I think) that just voted to increase all parking tickets by $3 to raise an additional $500,000 revenue for the city to spend. I do believe, there was a vote to increase the number of patrols and to increase the number of tickets issued to pay for the Robo-Garage.
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Wish I had more time but I gotta preen for the Council Carnival tonight. See you there!!!
joninla December 06, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Ah - despite my lack of satirical irony - I think there was just such a world scare just last month (or was it 2 in the last two months). They gotta come down, but as for most of the building projects, not in our lifetimes, so I hope you like the look, because they are here and going to stay ..... ad spreading like a virus .... Doesn't anyone notice these new canyon of 'low rise' and 'mixed use' projects are built to the edges of the side walk, block all sunlight, even with the (what now 7 story max) and despite the possible novelty value of wanting to live in a brand new apartment/condo - they are not going to be very desirable once 'used'. In fact, nobody seems to want/afford to live in them brand new ...... Yet they keep building more .... Wonder what Von Braun would have to say about our future and the desirability of living in WeHo when there isn't a smidgen of land left to build on? I like your comments, but did I get it right? Are you just commenting without taking a stand? You've done a lot to bring discussion. I think you could affect a lot of change if you wanted to (I don't/can't affect any sort of change personally, but will push anyone who wants to. lol) :)
Chloe Ross December 06, 2011 at 01:27 AM
joninla - I do not know if or what I can do. I believe shame and calling things what they are is a great weapon. I am writer not an activist or a politician but they are making WeHo into some sort of place I don't like. I am a slow growth advocate - very sincerely. It would be fine to have a "Slow Growth" group (lobby) in town to pull the reins. As I say - I can write - but it remains to be seen if I can effect any change. It would be nice; it would be right for me. We shall see. Thanks for your comments.
joninla December 06, 2011 at 01:30 AM
I agree and lack the ability. But I have one skill, Problem Solving and willing to dodder out suggestions. See my suggestion about the Temple parking problem on calendar for tonight? You can suggest the Robo Garage be built these where there is a real parking problem -- given how "economical' and 'green' and 'most cost efficient' for city hall, then why not have it built first at the temple where there is a current parking and noise issue? lol
joninla December 06, 2011 at 01:33 AM
I hope you get - I am not judging or anything other than complementing your abilities. I wish more people would start to think about what's going on. Have fun tonight!

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