March 2018

Parking spaces

Parking spaces will no longer be reserved for cars

To find one of the best places to relax in Berlin, take the elevator from the Neukölln Arcaden shopping center to the parking lot on the fifth floor. Then all you need to do is quickly climb the ramp to the top floor of the garage to reach your destination: a hybrid urban nightclub / garden where stylish young folks sip Club Mate, munch on a rotating menu of street food, and dance the night away. sun over the city.

Camping in reclaimed parking lots isn’t just for German hipsters and thirsty backpackers. With the growing popularity of carsharing services and the heralded arrival of autonomous vehicles, cities around the world are reinventing their parking lots that will soon be irrelevant. After a century of urban planning favoring the comfort of the car, neighborhoods of cities that were once auto-forward have been redesigned for the happiness of the inhabitants.

Last month, San Francisco proposed a plan to redevelop the 732-space garage at its Moscone Convention Center into affordable housing and hotel rooms. In 2015, Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Converted its 11,000 square foot parking lot at its northern campus into a student startup incubator aptly named “The Garage”. Then there’s Square Roots, an urban agriculture accelerator co-founded by Kimbal Musk (yes, Elon’s brother) that has set up ten shipping container gardens in a Brooklyn parking lot and now produces up to 500 pounds of produce. fee per week.

Innovative ideas like these hold the promise of respite for our increasingly spatial cities. Cars are meant to be driven, but on average they spend 95% of their days at rest. In response, big box parking lots, multi-level garages, and on-street parking have become hallmarks of North American cities, robbing our urban centers of valuable development space. An estimated 13% of Los Angeles is reserved for parking, while Houston has 30 parking spaces per capita.

As people continue to flow into urban centers and rental prices skyrocket in many cities, real estate developers, city planners and policymakers are increasingly turning to autonomous vehicles as a source of relief. from space. Shared and autonomous vehicles rarely need to park during the day – once you’re done shopping for the weekend, your elderly neighbor is ready to be transported to her eye appointment. And when demand for these cars declines in the wee hours of the morning, they can head to nearby suburbs where space is more plentiful and affordable. In a 2015 report, the OECD estimated that a shared autonomous fleet could remove 90 percent of cars of our city centers. With numbers like that, we could finally clear heaven and demolish the parking lot.

Driverless cars will hit the streets of California in the form of shared taxis from April 2018 thanks to the regulations voted last month. But despite the bold predictions of many, like think tank RethinkX, which predicts 95 percent of our driving will be in self-driving cars by 2030 – it will likely be a gradual process until the technology is sufficiently adopted to reach market saturation. The recent deadly pedestrians caused by an autonomous vehicle has put the brakes on Elon Musk’s claim that any delay in adopting the technology means that we are effectively “killing people”, and we do not yet have clear data on their security. In addition, there is the labyrinthine web of policies to consider. City bylaws and building codes take time to adapt to new technology, and even a pedestrian-friendly city like Vancouver has rules in place that require at least two parking spaces for each townhouse (plus a parking for visitors). Even if we all embrace autonomous transit options tomorrow, it could take a decade to see a significant percentage of our parking lots destroyed.

Given these hurdles, forward-thinking designers and architects choose to build transitional spaces, facilities that can accommodate cars today, and then easily reconfigured as parking demand declines. Design firm Gensler is renowned for its convertible retail spaces like the new 84.51 ° Center in downtown Cincinnati, whose three parking levels are designed to easily convert into offices as needed. And in Los Angeles, AvalonBay Communities Inc. has planned a 475-unit apartment complex and a shopping mall whose ground floor can be remodeled to accommodate a constant flow of self-driving cars doing pickup and drop-off. The complex’s two levels of underground parking will also be built with higher than normal ceilings and non-sloped floors, which will allow them to be converted into recreational facilities like a gym or theater. “The opportunity is not only to create new places that welcome autonomous cars”, writing Gensler, “but to reshape our existing towns and cities into the kind of vibrant, feature-rich places we all appreciate.”

Whether in 2022 or 2052, when self-driving cars take over, they will not only disrupt the urban planning codes of our cities, they will radically change our lifestyles. The Boston Consulting Group believes that autonomous and shared vehicles will give Americans a 30 billion hours of overtime per year. Instead of wasting time driving, sitting in traffic, or looking for parking spaces, we could use our free commute time to work, spend time with our families, or just enjoy our urban surroundings.

It might sound like a utopian vision, but according to Antonio Loro, a Vancouver-based planner and consultant who works with city agencies to plan for autonomous vehicles, it could easily turn into a dystopia if we simply replicate our existing driving culture. Loro stresses that we need to be very clear about the forms of shared autonomous vehicles in which we invest and design. “Some people think of taxis that primarily serve individual passengers, while others think of shared taxis that move a handful of passengers at a time,” says Loro. “Fewer people think of some kind of shared vehicle that moves a lot of passengers simultaneously. I like to call it a “bus”.

The prospect of self-driving vehicles is alluring, but if our goal is to create vibrant cities, we can’t assume that giving the wealthy their own private AI drivers will spur a massive, human-centric overhaul of our urban infrastructure – and maybe we don’t. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel in the meantime. “There are already alternatives to owning a private car, such as using public transport, walking, cycling,” notes Loro. “The more people opt for more shared vehicles, the more the city will actually see the benefits that excite people, like smoother traffic and less space swallowed up by roads and parking… We don’t have to wait for robot taxis or shared taxis to prioritize urban space.

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Santa Maria ordinance would establish ground rules for city parking structures | Local News

Santa Maria is preparing to crack down on bad behavior in the city’s car parks.

Santa Maria City Council this week approved the first reading of an ordinance to implement laws for city-owned parking structures.

“What this ordinance essentially does is establish ground rules for access to the garage,” said recreation and parks director Alex Posada.

The city has three car parks – all free – two of which are near downtown Santa Maria and the other near the Santa Maria Public Library.

In short, he said, the rules require someone to have a reason, like working, eating, shopping, or other related activities, to be in the parking lot.

In addition to serving shoppers and mall workers, the parking structures are used by employees of nearby office buildings and various people at the Santa Maria Court complex.

“It’s really a common sense approach to a situation that we’ve had for a number of years,” he said.

The city currently lacks applicable rules for activities in parking structures, including loitering and unwanted activities such as urinating in public, skateboarding, reckless driving and camping.

City staff reviewed the rules for parking structures in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo and took a similar approach to craft the new ordinance, according to Posada.

“This gives us another tool in our toolbox to perform execution actions in garages,” he said.

In addition, the ordinance will deal with persons parking large trucks in compact parking spaces not designed for such vehicles or otherwise occupying two spaces. The law defines compact spaces as those about 9 feet wide and 18 feet deep.

Tire marks left by drivers are among the activities in parking lots that Santa Maria officials hope to end with a new ordinance. (Photo by Janene Scully / Noozhawk)

Night parking will also be prohibited because it poses a problem for maintenance staff.

However, exceptions will be made with special permits issued to those who have offices or residences nearby.

In addition to issuing citations, the law would allow staff to issue warnings or inform people of the rules, Posada said.

A proposed restriction on people backing up in parking spaces also sparked debate. One of the reasons for requiring front-end parking is to allow police and park rangers looking for an expired vehicle registration to quickly spot the labels on the rear registration plate, Posada said.

City Councilor Michael Moats said drivers of large trucks typically return to the spaces.

“They will tell you that the reason they do it is when they pull out they can safely pull out, whereas trying to back up a large van when you have two other vans on either side. puts pedestrians at risk, ”Moats said. noted. “I really wonder if this is such a good idea.”

But city councilor Michael Cordero, a retired police lieutenant, disagreed, saying a driver backed up in a gap enters the travel zone in the wrong direction.

“I think we add to the danger of driving into the mall (parking structure) if we allow it,” he said.

Council members ended up banning parking where drivers return to spaces.

“I think you just need to do it the right way. There is a logic in going in with your headlights first because you are going to be more careful on the way out, ”said City Councilor Etta Waterfield, adding that most modern vehicles are equipped with rear view cameras for a better view.

Council is expected to adopt the new rules at the March 20 meeting, with the order taking effect 30 days later. Posada said city staff plan to educate users of parking structures on the rules before starting enforcement efforts.

– Noozhawk North County Editor-in-Chief Janene Scully can be reached at . (JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Will Disneyland allow customers to walk out of the parking lots instead of taking a streetcar?

Disneyland has started work on its new car park, which will be installed on the site of the old Pinocchio car park. As part of the site preparation work, Disneyland moved its security check and tram loading stations to the lower level of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. This is the latest of what appears to be endless change at Disneyland, as the resort gears up for the opening of its ‘Star Wars’ land next year and the addition of a fourth hotel shortly. after.

But the main question fans asked me after the tram station change had nothing to do with these upcoming additions to the station. People want to know if they can still walk between the parking lot and the parks.

For now you can, although it’s best to skip the escalators and just use the middle stairwell on the south side of the garage that joins the walking path. Having this option remains important for many Disneyland fans, as the ability to travel alone can take much of the pressure off a busy day at the parks.

The fact that Disneyland is within walking distance is the main reason I prefer Anaheim Park to its bigger and more popular sibling, Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s nice not to have to get in a car or wait for a bus or tram every time you want to go from park to park or to a hotel like you do in Florida.

Walt Disney wanted to put a lot of space between its development in Florida and all the surrounding motels and restaurants, like the ones that blocked Harbor Boulevard next to Disneyland in California. But that ultimately left Walt Disney World with a sprawling mess, where fans can spend a good chunk of their vacation lining up for buses or at parking lot toll booths as they try to navigate the resort.

Many visitors to the Disneyland Resort end up parking in the Mickey and Friends parking lot, which can park nearly 10,000 cars. From there, visitors can take a streetcar that will drop them off near the entrance to the resort’s theme parks, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure, though some guests prefer to walk. (File photo by Mark Eades, Orange County Register / SCNG)

Theme park fans endure enough waiting in line as it does. Forcing everyone at Mickey and Friends to get on the streetcars instead of letting some of us avoid them while walking would make the wait for those streetcars even longer than they often are now. Nobody wants that.

The cheapest and most environmentally friendly transportation option for getting around a community is almost always walking. But designers need to create communities that make walking possible. Too many communities are built on the assumption that everyone will always use their car to get around, even for absurdly short trips. This reflection leaves every store, every restaurant an island in a sea of ​​asphalt, increasing the space between destinations and making walking to get around impractical or impossible.

Theme parks should be ideal communities, so ensuring that enjoyable and efficient walking routes are part of their planning should be a design requirement. It is therefore necessary to keep the destinations sufficiently close to each other to make walking an attractive alternative. It’s just a more efficient way to plan. Why spread things out, occupy expensive land, and force yourself to spend money on huge transportation systems? The Disney World model just doesn’t fit in the 21st century.

Many of us want more pedestrian communities now. Disney has done a pretty good job with this so far in Anaheim, as Universal has done in Orlando and the expanding theme parks are starting to do in Europe and the Middle East.

Most of the time I visit Disneyland, I skip the wait for the tram to go back to the garage and I take it. I hope Disneyland still gives us that option. While walking sometimes ends up talking longer than waiting for a tram to return to the parking lot, skipping one more line at the end of the day can be a blessed relief.

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