New park-assist system at L.A. mall

CENTURY CITY, Calif. Westfield Shopping Town Century City is the first mall in the nation to use a park-assist, electronic parking management system.

When you drive in, signs flash the available number of parking spaces on the different levels, and green lights over the parking spots help you find open spaces.

"When you hear compliments about parking, about how it cuts their time in half, how they were able to enjoy their time shopping rather than searching for a parking spot -- that is just music to our ears," said Westfield General Manager Erick Klafter.

Mall managers said customers should be able to find a parking space within two minutes, even when the mall is crowded. "It's made finding a parking spot so much easier," said shopper Nuriad Mahmmod. "I've just been able to look overhead and go straight to a spot."

Westfield officials wouldn't talk specifics about the cost of this system, but they say it's proven cost-effective because it appears more shoppers have visited the mall since the system was put in place. They say they're considering whether to put it in their other shopping center garages throughout Southern California.


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