Automated Parking Software at Condo/Rental Project Scans, Calculates, Directs

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNorwalk, Conn.–POKO Partners LLC recently received design approval from the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency for phase one of Wall Street Place, located between Wall and Isaacs Streets and West Avenue in Norwalk, Conn.The first phase of Wall Street Place, expected to be complete in spring 2010, includes a fully automated parking facility, which will provide 212 parking spaces housed in two levels below grade, in addition to 23 conventional surface parking spaces.Residents at Wall Street Place will have the  option of buying a space for long term parking.  Parking in the automated lot will cost the same as conventional parking.When all three phases of Wall Street Place are completed, it will feature about 380 residences, 870 parking spaces and 60,000 sq. ft. of commercial and retail space, as well as the development of a small performing arts center. The residential part of Wall Street Place will be comprised of market-rate and affordable rental apartments as well as condominiums and live/work townhouses. The automated parking facility functions with “smart” computer software and is designed to not only store the vehicles based on anticipated departure times, but to also calculate repeated users’ tendencies. The average retrieval time for a vehicle is approximately two minutes. To ensure continuous operation, the facility will have full redundancy of equipment and the software will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making every car fully retrievable.“The  capital cost is 20 percent more but there is a greater efficiency of land use and therefore more apartments can be built,”  Kenneth Olson, CEO of POKO Partners, tells MHN. “There is a trade off  with larger capital output up front for the long term revenue of having the space to build more condos. The land density is also  consistent with POKO’s sustainable building philosophy.”Since no one other than the driver enters the vehicle, the chance of robbery or personal assault is said to be drastically reduced compared to conventional garages. The automated parking facility also prevents any chance for a vehicle to be dented or scratched from nearby cars or individuals, adds Olson.Olson says that the efficient use of land made automated parking extremely attractive “as well as other environmental aspects like reducing the amount of carbon monoxide that would be produced by cars driving around searching for spots in a traditional garage.”To access the garage, drivers will enter one of two lanes for either the conventional surface lot or the automated parking facility. LCD screens will assist and direct drivers to properly park their vehicle inside one of three “Drive-Through Cabins.” Sensors scan the cabin to measure the height, length and width of the vehicle, and to ensure that no person remains inside. Upon confirmation, the car is transferred to a lift that descends to the storage area.