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Futuristic parking structure coming to West Hollywood

May 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The West Hollywood City Hall parking lot of today is just one small lot. But a parking structure of the future is on its way.

The city will have an automated garage built that will park and store vehicles with the touch of a button.

West Hollywood Mayor John Duran says it will be the first automated public structure built in Southern California.

"It's pulling your car in, watching the doors close knowing that the machines are taking your car away and then texting when you want it back," Duran said.

Unitronics, a builder of automatic parking systems, will transform the 65-space lot into a 200-space, high-tech garage.

When a motorist leaves their car at the arrival level, conveyors will move the vehicle, then a motorized lift will arrange and store it based on size. The company says the system is equipped with sensors to prevent accidents and serious injuries.

"If there's anybody in the car, such as an animal or a person, it will sense that and not take the car away," said Frank Defoe of Unitronics. "It measures the size, the height, the width and puts it in the appropriate space."

Most of the existing parking spaces at city hall are reserved for employees and city vehicles. That leaves only a few spaces for visitors.

The structure will cost $2.6 million, but Duran says it's a greener and cheaper way to maximize parking.

"We're actually saving money because this is less costly to the tax payers to build it this way," Duran said. "We don't have to build the ramping, we don't have to build the additional heights, we don't have to go underground."

The automated garage and computerized valet should be up and running by 2013.

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