.

City Hall to Install Automated Parking Structure

A computerized system will store and retrieve cars in the $13-million project, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

Construction will begin in June 2012 on an automated five-story parking structure at West Hollywood City Hall. With state-of-the-art technology, this new computerized parking structure will offer a valet-like experience where people leave their cars and the automated system then stores the vehicles in parking berths using motorized lifts, conveyers and shuttles. When a person is ready to leave, the system will then retrieve his or her car.

“This is an exciting project,” said Mayor John Duran. “It will solve a parking problem for City Hall and for the mid-city area. And at the same time, it’s cutting-edge technology that hasn’t been seen on the West Coast.”

The only other automated parking structure west of the Mississippi is under construction in Santa Monica, near St. John’s Hospital. The Weho five-story parking structure will be the same height as the three-story City Hall building. It will have the capacity for 200 cars, compared with the 66 spaces available in the current lot that the automated parking structure will replace. Construction is expected to be completed by July 2013.  

Initially, the city considered building a traditional parking deck, but the ramping, ventilation shafts and heights required for human-occupied parking structures, plus the mandatory setbacks from adjacent lots, made that impractical.

“It was going to be this huge concrete building that wouldn’t meet the aesthetic needs,” said Oscar Delgado, director of Public Works. “This is a unique way to address parcels that are size challenged. This is a way to get the parking you need without taking up a lot of space. We had goals to protect parking but also create green space. And this automated system was a win-win.”

The city toyed with the idea of the automated parking system when it first started discussing the parking problem at City Hall four years ago, but the cost at that time was prohibitive—$40,000 to $50,000 per parking space. However, the price has come down drastically in the past year, making it a viable option at $13,200 per space.

Earlier this month, the City Council awarded the $2.6 million contract for the technology to Unitronics. The city will have to build a shell around the parking structure as well as a motor court area for dropping off and picking up cars.

At the same time, the city will also create a 27-foot-wide community plaza area between the back door of City Hall and the parking structure. That plaza will add a bit of green space behind City Hall that could be used for art displays, receptions and other community events.

The city briefly considered putting the automated structure below ground, but that would have incurred additional construction costs. “If you don’t have to go below grade, why should you,” Delgado said. “The water table is always a factor when you start digging.”

While some have visions of a bad science fiction movie where cars get stuck in the parking structure or it delivers the wrong car back to you, City Hall officials said that’s not a worry.

“I know that’s everyone’s fear, but that’s just not going to happen,” said Jackie Rocco, parking operations manager. “It’s a fully accessible system. It’s designed with redundancies. In case one component fails, there’s a backup one in place. Including backup generators.”

“The reliability of these facilities is fantastic. It may be new to us, but they’ve been perfecting this technology for two decades with automated structures in Europe and the Mideast," Delgado said. 

Aware the automated system will be under close scrutiny by residents, they’ve deliberately overdesigned it.

“People are going to be looking at us,” said Delgado. “We don’t want it to be too slow to return cars; we wanted ours to be a little bit faster. We really want to showcase these green facilities.”

And green the facility will be. Not only will its footprint be smaller and construction completed quicker than traditional parking decks, once completed, it will reduce CO2 emissions equal to taking 92 cars off the road each year or planting 67,000 trees. The total amount allotted for the structure, technology, motor court and community plaza area is $13 million. A capital campaign will pay for it.

Rocco said the structure will be open for after-hours use by residents. The parking rates will be competitive, she said. 

If the parking system proves successful, more automated structures could be on the horizon. “We’re a dense city that needs more parking,” said Duran. “If this works, we’ll look at putting them in other places around the city.”

To view a demonstration video of the new automated parking system, click here.

joninla May 27, 2011 at 10:23 PM
THIS IS THE STUPIDEST MADE UP "GREEN PROJECT" THAT IS A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY, NOT NEEDED, WILL INCREASE TRAFFIC AT THE ALREADY CONGESTED CORNER. FURTHER - 'VISITORS' TO CITY HALL - ARE OFTEN RESIDENTS WHO MAY ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR NEED TO RUN IN AND GET A PARKING PERMIT OR SOMETHING. IT WILL TAKE FOREVER FOR EACH PERSON TO FIGURE OUT SUCH A COMPLICATED SYSTEM AND WAIT AT LEAST 2 1/2 MINUTES AT MINIMUM JUST TO GET THE CAR BACK. FURTHER - AS THE REMARKABLE TECHNOLOGY ON YOU-TUBE SHOWS ... THE FACILITY IS AUTOMATED, BUT HAS TO BE RUN BY A FULL TIME HIGHLY TRAINED ENGINEER TO ENSURE THE VERY COMPLEX SYSTEM FUNCTIONS PROPERLY. THIS IS NOT JUST A BOONDOGGLE ..... IT WILL MAKE THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THE TRAFFIC, THE CITY AND ACCESS TO CITY HALL EVEN WORSE. Spend the money on something that will benefit the residents of the city. How about spending $18 in solar panels and use the energy captured to supplement/offset the local residents Monthly Electric Bills. To be green: Increase the activities that can be done on-line to avoid any unnecessary trips driving to city hall. I just renewed my dog license ALL ON LINE. I was looking forward to the friendly people at City Hall, but all in all, it was faster, easier and less expensive - and much greener.
joninla May 27, 2011 at 10:26 PM
ALSO - JUST HOW MANY MORE "PUBLIC MEETING SPACES" COULD ONE LITTLE CITY HAVE?? The new Library The new Red Building The old Weho Park auditorium The Kinds Road Park The Hart Dog park/Theater Plumber Parks Meeting Space and on and on and on It is not "GREEN" to have empty buildings that need to be kept ventilated, cooled, heated, secured, lit, employee security .... when IT IS RARELY IF EVER USED!
me May 28, 2011 at 02:20 AM
13 million dollars????....i'm calling the state attorney's office on tuesday.....this very shady deal NEEDS to be investigated!!!!! the city is wasting money for the city's own staff (and visitors) behind city hall instead of building a parking structure where it’s NEEDED most like SBM between fairfax and crescent hts where there are 4 clubs and other businesses….i guess city staffer’s have issues walking 2 blocks to the kings road structure which was built for them, and essentially goes unused when staff cars aren’t there
joninla May 28, 2011 at 05:03 AM
Actually, think the net total will be closer to $18 million dollars. Personally, I have not paid much attention to the details of City Hall conduct, however, ever since I saw the SAL GUARELLO more than QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLAR FOUNTAIN that is 'supposed' to be a VETERANS MEMORIAL - but instead it is a GIGANTIC VANITY EMBLEM OF WHAT THE CITY GOVERNMENT IS REALLY DOING WITH THE EXCESS OF REVENUE FROM THE BARS, CLUBS, NIGHTLIFE AND HOTELS - which leaves West Hollywood one of the few financially viable City in the country. Even Beverly Hills City Hall is having huge problems with their budget due to the Real Estate Crash and the Major Recession which West Hollywood happens to be immune from - due to the tax on 'vice' and 'tourism' which has remained apparently more than strong enough to continue this kind of expenditure. Now it says 5 story parking garage. That intersection is already so over crowded and congested, they should REDUCE the number of cars coming and going from City Hall, not to mention the price per new parking space being 10x the average price for new parking construction.
joninla May 28, 2011 at 05:11 AM
SEE ARTICLE ABOUT PREVIOUS AUTOMATED GARAGED IN L.A. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2011/05/downtown_did_automated_parking_garages_in_the_20s_and_50s_1.php THE TECHNOLOGY MAY HAVE GOTTEN A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER, BUT THE REASONS THEY HAVE FAILED SINCE THE 1950'S REMAINS THE SAME. QUOTING THE ARTICLE: "Where did the automated lots of yesteryear go? Lots of Parking says that while they were hot through the 1950s, "quickly thereafter entrepreneurs lost interest in them for a host of reasons. Clear-span construction was better suited to changing car sizes, and self-park satisfied customers' general impatience better than mechanical garages, which still required waiting. Periodic failures and unrepaired examples revived the prewar reputation of the mechanical parkers as impractical gadgets."
joninla May 28, 2011 at 05:13 AM
DID EVERYONE NOTICE THE BENEFIT OF THE 5 STORY STRUCTURE! 27 FEET wide public space between the 5 story garage and the equally tall existing city hall building. What the heck? Why do we stand for this? At the same time, the city will also create a 27-foot-wide community plaza area between the back door of City Hall and the parking structure. That plaza will add a bit of green space behind City Hall that could be used for art displays, receptions and other community events.
JESS Kalinowsky Registered Voter May 28, 2011 at 07:09 PM
With thousands of people unemployed, and indeed starving to death, this seems like a total boondoggle waste of money! What the city should be doing is buying distressed real estate and building/refurbishing for low income citizens. If "we" really want to go green, get off your duff and ride a bicycle to work , or take public transportation, walk!, better yet, the over paid city manager could actually live in West Hollywood, instead of a mansion in Pasadena. The high end luxury cars in the parking lot of city hall is a bit embarrassing. How about another Breakfast, lunch and dinner location, maybe in the new multizillion dollar library for low income city residents? RULE: work for the city of west hollywood, live in west hollywood!
joninla May 28, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Thank you for making such a clear and precise posting about what I have only recently realized was actually going on with the City of West Hollywood and the degree of insane spending while the real problems the current economy that is affecting the residents of the City - Despite the City NOT FEELING ANY CHANGE IN EITHER THEIR OWN MIS-SPENDING OR THE AWARENESS OF THE CONTINUED OUTRAGEOUS PROJECTS ARE NOW SUDDENLY VERY CONSPICUOUS AND HOPEFULLY MORE PEOPLE WILL REALIZE WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON AND WHY THE CITY IS DESPERATE NOT TO EVEN CONSIDER CHANGING THE CURRENT 25 YEAR FUTURE PLAN FOR SPENDING. 25 years will be just right to guarantee ALL THE 10-25 YEAR CORRUPT INCUMBENTS WILL HAVE THEIR POSITION AND THEIR PET PROJECTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THEIR LIVES ..... UNTIL.... I AM SURE THEIR VERY GENEROUS (TO SAY THE LEAST) LIFETIME PENSIONS KICK IN. KICK THEM OUT. CHARGE ANY ILLEGALITIES THAT MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED AND CREATE TERM LIMITS BEFORE ANOTHER 'FAT CAT' CAN GET THEIR CLAWS INTO THE HUGE PILE OF REVENUE THE CITY GETS.
Chris Bray May 31, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Jersey Journal (New Jersey) May 20, 2009 Wednesday Garage glitch traps a man and his dog Pg. A3 The automated parking garage in Hoboken malfunctioned Monday, trapping both a driver and a dog inside their car. A blue Toyota was on the elevator used to move cars to and from their parking spots a little after midnight at the facility at 916 Garden St. and both the car and the driver were stuck on the elevator, according to Capt. Anthony Falco of the Hoboken police. Hoboken police had to pull the driver out of the car through the windows, as the jammed elevator blocked the doors from opening. The man's dog also had to be pulled out through the window. The driver of the car suffered no injuries in the incident and refused medical attention, said Falco. Hoboken's robotic garage has been touted as the first of its kind in the New York metropolitan area, but mishaps are nothing new at the facility. Last spring, a Honda Civic was scraped along its right side when it became trapped on a pallet and sank two feet under the garage floor last spring. The 324-space garage is run by Unitronics, a private company that took over garage operations from Florida-based Robotic Systems Inc. ****Under both owners, the garage has dropped or trapped cars and ripped car doors and windows off due to mechanical and software glitches.**** Hoboken Parking Utility Director John Corea did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Chris Bray May 31, 2011 at 10:38 PM
"Not only will its footprint be smaller and construction completed quicker than traditional parking decks, once completed, it will reduce CO2 emissions equal to taking 92 cars off the road each year or planting 67,000 trees." There are automated parking structures in the country -- is it a fact that they're been completed "quicker than traditional parking decks," and what evidence proves this claim? You could evaluate these sorts of claims, instead of just typing them up.
Victor Viceron June 01, 2011 at 01:24 PM
One must wonder why the fool was still in his car.
Chris Bray June 01, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Well, sure. And then, if you keep reading the story, you have to go on to wonder why all those other fools had their car doors ripped off, their windows smashed in, and their cars dropped, trapped, and scraped. You're a shrewd reader: where another person might have seen this story about constant mishaps at an automated garage as a story about the automated garage, you've managed to detect the sole presence of individual foolishness. Given that Google says Wednesday morning at 6:24 a.m. is the first and only time a "Victor Viceron" has ever turned up on the Internet, are you a city employee posting under a fake name or a Unitronics employee posting under a fake name?
JESS Kalinowsky Registered Voter June 01, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I am sure we will never see a City employee, and Certainly Not an upper echelon employee ever get on/off the bus[es] that stops at the front door of City Hall. City Shuttle and/or MTA. If all people on City payroll lived in WeHo, then all could [a] bike to work [b] walk to work [c] carpool! Do we REALLY need a $13 million garage? Why did they not put one in at the other boondoggle, Library, so they could at least make some money off the club folks! Oh Wait, they would be too drunk to drive! Nevermind. Drunk and automated parking really do not mix!
joninla June 05, 2011 at 03:01 AM
I don't think the issue is weather there is ever a need/place/purpose for these new automated garages. The issue, I believe, is that is is NOT NECESSARY, UNWANTED, UNDESIRABLE, NOT GREEN COMPARED TO OTHER OPTIONS .... For the West Hollywood City Hall SITE. There is no need for it and if extra City Hall parking is necessary, the new Kings Rd. Garage is more than adequate. Finally, I recall when THE GROVE opened, I saw the structure - thought Oi-Vay ....but before I could say "NO WAY" I was inside, whisked to an open parking spot and out of my car before I knew what hit me. There are more efficient and faster methods of getting and retrieving cars other than an automated garage which also requires the cost of a full time TRAINED TECH to operate.
me June 05, 2011 at 03:05 AM
where i come from it's OY VEY!!! :-)
joninla June 05, 2011 at 03:06 AM
I still think the same money should be divided and sent to WEST HOLLYWOOD RESIDENTS in the form of a local STIMULUS CHECK ($375) which will repay the Residents for the annoyances that the weekend party goers bring that funds City Hall so massively. The money will be spent in large part by Residents in Retail IN WEST HOLLYWOOD that would help the failing small business and generate revenue back to the City for Sales and other taxes that the money would be spent on. Further it will help REAL ESTATE VALUE AND INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY VALUES if the city implements programs that benefit Residents Financially. You live in West Hollywood, you get perks. Land/property values go up more than adjacent identical property not within the City Limits of West Hollywood.
joninla June 05, 2011 at 03:24 AM
You want GREEN - how about $13 million dollars invested (with all state and federal credits) for SOLAR PANEL ARRAYS, the, energy of which could be sold directly to So. Cal Edison and The City could apportion those profits to each RESIDENT'S ELECTRICITY BILL to reduce (or perhaps eliminate) the Electric Bills for CITY RESIDENTS. This is more than green, will be an investment that will go on for decades, will be a media windfall for the City, will help everyone (renters and property owners) and increase property values, and reduce the unrented apartment problem.
joninla June 05, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Really? I haven't been in a while, but the system works better than any mall parking I've ever seen. In my opinion. Maybe no more? LOL
joninla June 05, 2011 at 08:55 PM
I hope you are serious about getting State's Investigation. I wish I knew the proper authority and had at least a shred of self initiative ... but I would seriously support any effort to get an official serious investigation. It seems they are flaunting the beginning of construction of this obviously corrupt deal.
joninla June 07, 2011 at 07:01 AM
I think a more relevant article can be found in the recent WeHo NEWS; Robot garages can run amuck, or not at all http://www.wehonews.com/z/wehonews/archive/page.php?articleID=6156 An ECONOMIC DISASTER - POST CONSTRUCTION ONCE IN OPERATION! Let's get this stopped!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something