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PHOTOS: City Unveils Initial Automated Parking Garage Designs

Steering committee reviews proposed conceptual design for new automated parking structure to be built behind City Hall beginning spring 2013.

Residents got a glimpse Thursday night at what the proposed City Hall automated garage may look like.

About 30 people were on hand for an official presentation by the project's steering committee, followed by a public comment section and Q&A. The audience was generally impressed by the PowerPoint presentation, several saying they were skeptical when they came in but swayed after hearing the details.

The structure, which the City Council voted unanimously to build at its , will offer a valet-like experience where people leave their cars and the automated system stores the vehicles in parking berths using motorized lifts, conveyers and shuttles.

The garage will incorporate state-of-the-art computerized technology from Unitronics, an Israeli firm specializing in automated parking structures, with space for 200 cars, up from the 68 that are currently available in the City Hall surface parking lot.

City Hall employees currently use the 166-space Kings Road parking deck two blocks away. Officials say that garage is usually at capacity by 11 a.m. on weekdays, forcing staff to use valets and stack the parking.

Public Works Director Oscar Delgado told Weho Patch that on weekdays, 120 of the 200 spaces in the automated structure will be reserved for city employees, with the other 80 for visitors to City Hall and nearby stores and restaurants. Parking will be free for people having business in City Hall.

On nights and weekends, the city says people could use the new structure for going to area shops at a minimal charge. An attendant will be on hand 24 hours a day to handle any problems that arise.

The structure will have five levels of parking, but will only be about 35 feet tall, the same height as City Hall. Since humans do not have to walk within the structure, the levels only have to be tall enough to accommodate vehicles.

It is designed to process 125 cars exiting the structure per hour, or approximately two per minute. Officials say the maximum wait time to retrieve a car should be about five minutes. To avoid delays in case something breaks down, the structure is designed with back-up systems to cover any failing system.

There will also be a back-up generator, although officials do not expect to have to use it since there will be solar panels on the roof. Those panels will be able to power the structure, plus part of City Hall.

The garage's centerpiece is a glass shaft that allows people standing outside the structure to see the cars being moved. Audience members speculated that it could become a tourist attraction as people will be fascinated to see the cars being shuttled about.   

The side of the structure facing Sweetzer Avenue will feature public art by Ned Kahn, who is known for creating works that incorporate the use of natural elements such as wind and light.

The city plans to create a 27-foot wide community plaza between the back door of City Hall and the parking structure. That green space could be used for art displays, receptions and other community events.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2013, and be completed by summer 2014. The total cost will be $16 million, which will be paid for out of the city’s parking improvement fund. $2.6 million of that cost will go toward buying the smart technology from Unitronics, which has West Coast headquarters in Los Angeles.

Council will vote at its May 21 meeting on designs for the structure after a presentation by city staff.

City Hall has created a web page with answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the automated structure.

Stay up to date on West Hollywood news and events, by following @WehoPatch and “like” on Facebook.

joninla April 01, 2012 at 02:15 AM
oh ... And a monorail or sky lift would at least generate some regular income to help cover the expenses and might draw a few curious people willing to come to weho and pay a few dollars to riide the far far less absurd monorail/skylift comparison. We are spending a fortune for a parking lot where there is no parking need. The use will be by and for the city use and will not even generate a dime of parking revenue .... The way all other new parking structures charge.
Chris Bray April 01, 2012 at 04:56 AM
It looks pretty. Hooray for us. Now, moving on, the story says that the new lot will have "space for 200 cars, up from the 68 that are currently available in the City Hall surface parking lot." So it adds 132 new parking spaces. At a projected cost of $16 million, that's a little more than $121,000 for each new parking space. Each parking space. $121,000. Up front. Before operating costs. (Note to Lynn Russell: The numbers work out the same whether or not I attended a public hearing about how the robot garage looks pretty.) I think what's happened here is that the city gets so much money from hotel taxes, parking tickets, and tourist-driven sales taxes that they feel like they *can't* go broke. And so they've just sprinted right off the cliff like Wile E. Coyote. Sixteen million dollar robot parking garage? Sure, toss that sucker in the shopping cart. I demand that the city fund a sixty million dollar giant glowing ball of hot gas that features the sound of Susan Sarandon's voice reading Norse epic poetry to an animatronic cluster of hot pink flying squirrels that sing pop songs in Esperanto. It'll sit at the corner of Santa Monica and Sweetzer, and the story about it in the New York Times will mention every member of the city council by name. With pictures. No fair criticizing the cost of my idea if you haven't sat through four hours of PowerPoint slides at City Hall that show you how awesome it would hypothetically be.
Lynn Russell April 01, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Ok Chris, you're on. Please reread my comment. Being one not easily impressed, I went to observe and ask questions having some knowledge of the German automated systems. I commented only on the aesthetics and did at no time indicate aesthetics overruled other practical or financial determinations. Although I am not privy to anything other than the numbers you quoted there is the issue of where to find alternative parking, land costs and how to reasonably accommodate. Do you have the answers? I would be interested. I could not criticize without a knowledgeable solution.
Chris Bray April 01, 2012 at 07:59 AM
A false choice: Solve all of West Hollywood's parking problems in a blog comment, or don't criticize the idea of spending $120,000 per new parking space for a complicated automated garage that will require 24-hour staffing and heavy operational costs in a city of 34,000 people. Do you dare to criticize my giant ball of Norse epic poetry gas when you haven't presented a compete plan for all of West Hollywood's public art needs? Quite a standard, this. But here's a start: If, on weekdays, "120 of the 200 spaces in the automated structure will be reserved for city employees," then our small contract city has too many city employees. Police, fire, library, and EMS services are provided by the county. Social services and park maintenance are provided by private contractors. Most city employees don't provide direct public service. Cut some city staffing. Of the remaining city employees, too many are driving to work, and if they need that many parking spaces for a small contract government, too many are driving to work alone. I don't know what incentives the city offers for employees to carpool, use public transportation, or live nearby and walk to work, but they can't be working. Stop reserving five spaces at City Hall for city councilmembers who meet once a month at a different location. Replace all highly paid management employees who live in Pasadena with someone willing to live in town. Hire Ricky, who will ride his bike to work.
joninla April 01, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Chris - just ignore her. She says the same thing over and over. She has no life and goes to the weekly meetings to fill her empty life. She only wants more attendance for her bizarre social needs and doesn't even realize that several people watch from home specifically to avoid her and the other old ctazy people sitting there in total ignorance of what is being discussed. She either is working for the city (Which is not possible given her intelligence level) or is unaware how distracting to the real issues people want to discuss seriously via posting here on patch. She lacks the ability to understand the actual issues but wants to be part of every single post ... So she brings the whole level down to her lack of analytical thought and resorts to just this kind of stupid focus on what things look like to her. She really does more harm towards the cause of residents trying to protect and save our city.
joninla April 01, 2012 at 09:47 AM
chris & all concerned about this unbelievable project that seems to have finally gotten approva - From what I have ascertained, I believe the real reason and purpose for this unneeded overpriced (beyond any and all norms and standads) as well as the $41 million Plummer Park Garage ... Is all about the "creation of a certain number of new parking spaces to satisfy zoning incentives that allow building beiiger than the zoning permits in exchange for things like more parking spaces and affordable low income housoing units. The exact number is set and known and I suspect will be the same number required as this and plummer park will create. THE REAL PROBLEM - These parking spaces being built by the city on city land and taxpayer money is for PRIVATE DEVELOPERS AND THEIR PROJECTS .... Not for city projects/buildings. I think these new parking spots are needed for the private giant carl's jr and jon's market projects which have broken ground and there must be a time deadline causing what seems the ciy's paicked rush to get this robo garage started (and plummer park leveled for an under ground parking garage ... I don't think it is just coincidential timing.
joninla April 01, 2012 at 09:56 AM
Likewise, the newly enacted "PARKING CREDITS" PROGRAM was enacted so that the city hall parking spots and pummer park garage will be re-allocated to the private mega projects that will totally overtake the entire east side of the city. If anyone who is actually as upset and concerned about what I have been commenting about for so long in hopes of getting the information out, I hope you will add whatever knowledge or insight you may have which could lead to the prevention of this objectively insane city expenditure. So far, only nit wits who don't understand have posted comments which are just like the stupidy of this latest one.
Chris Bray April 01, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Put it this way: If an organization finds that it's using more of a resource than it has, the first step of any analysis should always be to consider ways to reduce the need for that resource. If your parking garage is full by 11:00 a.m., start with, "How can we use significantly fewer parking spaces?" Every employee who doesn't do transactions across a public counter can telecommute one day a week, on a permanent rotating schedule that reduces parking consumption by an equal amount each day. If half of the people who work at City Hall can work from home one day a week, evenly distributed across all five weekdays, then your need for parking spaces is instantly reduced by ten percent every day. That's where I start. The city starts with ZOMFG robot garage blaaaarrrgghhhh we'll be FIRST and everybody will talk about us and we'll be such a hit at the League of Cities conference and everybody will be looking at us, and by the way, that'll be sixteen million dollars. Two fundamentally different approaches: 1.) How can we use this resource more carefully? 2.) Woo hoo, robot garage!!!!!! I would have though that we had begun to fix this problem by electing someone who does project management for a living.
Steve Ward April 01, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Okay, guys... I thought we were on the same team here? Yes, the parking structure is somewhat of a fantasy. Yes, the city is spending too much on the project. Yes, the amount of staff is ridiculous. Yes, a City Manager living in the city would be better. Yes, the design has merit for it's engineering. Yes, we do go to meetings. Yes, we go on record. Yes, we blog about our perspectives and try to be thoughtful. Yes, politics suck. Yes, the Council needs to go. Yes, City Manager needs a reality check. Yes, it's time for the parking fees, fines and costs come down. Yes, the design of the robo-garage is large in scale. Yes, the staff should be at work at a reasonable time, but also remember meetings the night before could go very late and into the morning hours. Yes, the train has left the station... Just all know that because someone takes time to go to the meetings and go to City Hall to speak with folks should never be looked upon as something bad. The ideas of transparency and Brown Act are good for the community. We all try to shed light onto the mysteries created by General Plans, Master Plans, Vision 2020 Plans, Redevelopment Plan for the East Side Project Area, the 20th Anniversary Capital Project... It gets you loopy after awhile. ;-) We must all try to reserve throwing stones. I know I've been guilty once or twice. :-) We must all breathe. Have a good one.
joninla April 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Chris - your analysis is thorough and accurate for a situation where there exists a shortage of parking when needed. What makes this crazy project really so much worse is the fact that there is no parking problrms or lack of empty parking spots throughout the day from the exist flat, open and landscaped parking lot behind city hall. When I first heard of this idea I did not believe there was a need for but I wanted to be sure and walked my dog by the lot on countless times and at different hours. Not only did I observe no parking shortage, I have spoken with people and city employees about the existing parking lot and if there were times during the day when the lot becomes full. Every single person was certain in insisting I need not consider it ever a problem and that any time city hall is open, I could come as needed and easily find adequate parking available. The more one learns about the details of a project that on the surface is such a total mistake and waste of money, their initial angry shock of their initial reaction, seems kind of silly compared to how much worse the actual facts and detail really are about this huge capitol project being forced upon a city who doesn't have any residents at all who are in favor and want this garage to be built.
michael April 02, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Isn't it possible to get your views across without insulting remarks? Old borderline senile ???? Show some respect.
Manny April 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Except for Lynn Russell's comments, the debate in this forum regarding this issue has been enlightening . Considering the fact that Ms Russell had the time to attend the public hearing, her contribution to understanding this project has been......zero.
Lynn Russell April 02, 2012 at 10:44 PM
And what are/were the responses to possibly moving City Hall into the Red Building's cavernous environs and actually establishing some type of consolidated city center presence with available parking rather than being strung out down along SM Blvd. A repurposing of City Hall could also be useful in some fashion. I have NOT done a research project on this but it is a question asked and as of now not answered.
Lynn Russell April 02, 2012 at 10:53 PM
My family has long held that "small minds talk about people, mediocre minds discuss events and greater minds consider ideas" and how to advance the level of quality and understanding beyond their own benefit. Personally, I am not interested in folks seeking recognition, small minded egocentric efforts, the folks that drive them or decisions made with biased, incomplete or incorrect information and when they fail to read and comprehend what they purport to dispute, It is also not helpful when the press reports sound bites accordingly and assumes the conclusions. Likewise cowardly, caustic comments from those who fail to reveal their true identity or have rarely, if ever, been authentically involved in affecting change will remain in the dark, chained to their keyboards, important in their own minds, confirming their lack of self respect and real credibility while they hiss anger and venom. Making baseless assumptions about others whether elected officials or private citizens is fruitless. Attempts to demonize, degrade or shred folks over positive and/or subtle comments is juvenile and just plain dumb
joninla April 02, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Lynn - your latest suggestion about using the new RED BUILDING is so incredibly stupid and demonstrative of how far off the abilitty to participate as a useful part of a real isue, it actually warrants a response. The soon to be completed RED BUILDING is a prvate development and the developer has invested so much more in the details, construction and amenities and has listed the office space as the highest price per sq foot much higher than any other office building anywhere in LA as it was planned and built to be the most exclusive, premier and high profile office space specifically for a very very high profike corporate business such as WilliamMorris Talent Agency or on of that level. There is no possibility that your input has anything to do with any city issue, and this particular posting of you personal imagination based on what you happen to see is a perfect example of (not why you should stop posting) not critucise any posting (which is all you do) and order people to do what you tell them. Get a grip.
Lynn Russell April 02, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I am fully cognizant of the Red Building and its private genesis, wishes, hopes and dreams. THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA AND I DO NOT CLAIM IT. It has been discussed in circles of knowledgeable people and was alluded to the other evening by some who are considered a whole lot more on top of things than you or me , and they do not work for the city. I am not interested in telling anyone to do anything. If some folks would spend more time on thoughtful positive solutions rather than being tethered to NO, NO, NO and NO or SUE THE CITY more realistic solutions would be found. If you hope to change the minds and direction of folks in power you have to speak to and work with them....you can't continually shoot at them. It's basic common sense in anyone's book. BTW what was the last real issue you would consider yourself to have been useful in? Do you have a track record of turning around issues in the City. It would be good to know your measure of success.
Lynn Russell April 03, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Additionally Mr. Joninla, if you think your comments would fly in the NY Times, WSJ or Washington Post, go for it. You wouldn't be published without your name and a decision about appropriateness of the content. If you didn't like that you could always threaten to sue them. Good Luck! Our local WEHO Patch could rise to a higher level.
Lynn Russell April 03, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Uh Oh..Jon couldn't get my walker moving in time to make it to CC so I could annoy them and you for 2 minutes. Maybe next time. With so much time on your hands maybe we could make a date to meet at the podium next meeting and dispense dueling opinions..... sort a like we were in court..ya know how that goes. Have to plug in my brain and get the circuits sorted out....too much nonsense from playin around. TALLY HO!
me April 03, 2012 at 04:23 AM
yawnnnnnnn ughhhhhhh yawnnnnnn
Chris Bray April 04, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I wish I could understand how Lynn Russell thinks it's small minded, egocentric, cowardly, and caustic to suggest that city employees sometimes telecommute. Does that reply belong after that comment? What happened there?
Lynn Russell April 04, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Kudos to your telecommuting idea. No it doesn't belong where it landed. Apparently the sequencing is a bit off. One small bright spot...... WeHo Planning Director commutes from Culver City via public trans.
Lynn Russell April 04, 2012 at 08:07 PM
To correct, I believe I misspoke ..commenting via i-phone apparently gives one no opportunity to reply to a specific comment as you can via desk top. The thread then jumps around to make following sequentially a bit challenging.
Chris Bray April 05, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Ah, good. I was confused!
Roy Rogers Oldenkamp April 05, 2012 at 06:43 PM
C'mon folks let's work together here. The goal is to diminish the unending overdevelopment and yes, this inane garage and the Plummer Park plans both can be considered part of this overworked conceptualization of Weho as a mini-Manhattan. Let's not forget the new study claiming Cali has EIGHT of the TOP TEN congested cities in the nation. New York is not near the top. Just sayin'.
Shawn Thompson July 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Reckless spending attempts by the city manager in my opinion.
Rudolf Martin July 17, 2012 at 05:07 AM
in my public comment tonight i asked that the city hold off on considering the $18 million (planning & construction!) automated parking structure expenses until they commit to actually keeping city hall where it is. others questioned the feasibility study itself since it was ordered without input by any city commission or the public. in response john duran asked that the public not be so narrow minded, that the study was well worth doing and that city hall might not move for another 8 or 10 years. abbe land seconded his comments. i am not necessarily against a feasibility study but duran seems to see it as something entirely different then the city manager. i also don't like the fact that once again the public and the commissions are excluded from the decision making process. but most importantly nobody had an answer to what would happen to the $18 million expense if city hall ends up moving just a few years after parking is operational at $ 136,000.00 per added parking spot (not to mention the roughly $ 600.000,00 per year in operating costs). i simply cannot fathom how a rational person can approve BOTH expenses within a month's time.
Shawn Thompson July 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Sign the petition here to stop this plan. It takes less than a minute! West Hollywood City Council Members: STOP THE CURRENT PLAN TO BUILD AN ELECTRIC AUTOMATED GARAGE AT CITY HALL http://www.change.org/petitions/west-hollywood-city-council-members-stop-the-current-plan-to-build-an-electric-automated-garage-at-city-hall?share_id=aqWvLaeCVy&utm_campaign=petition_page&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter
samy gharb October 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
http://myblospot-com.blogspot.ch/
samy gharb October 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Here is the real story of Unitronics big boss http://myblospot-com.blogspot.ch/ Logic, Truth, and Fact A fact is that which “is”; that which exists in reality HAIM SHANI STORY No,1 IN EU PATENT OFFICE Here is the real story of Mr Haim Shani the big boss of unitronics he was bussy with anther patent in 1999 that means he has no idea about my invention of PLC- GSM mobile phone https://register.epo.org/espacenet/application?number=EP00948232 Extract from the Register of European Patents About this file: EP1211977| EP1211977 - Apparatus for the detection of physiological distress in a patient
Rudolf Martin October 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
you would have to write a few cohesive sentences to get me to click on any of your links.

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