The Car Parking Lift is an Idea whose Time has come!
The singer Joni Mitchell sang it most famously: "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” For a time North America did appear to be becoming a giant parking lot, with vast expanses of concrete covering acres of cheap suburban land – and also occupying expensive downtown real estate.
But the times are changing. Planners and developers are increasingly realizing that the space that they use for parking is land that they are taking from other more economically and socially beneficial uses. Green advocates are also adding their voices to the mix. They point out the negative environmental impact of parking lots: by separating buildings they are counter-productive to making walkable communities and continue that endless cycle of paving over land.
Yet people still need (and love) their cars - and when cars are not moving, they must be parked. Luckily for North American cities, a European solution is at hand and becoming increasingly popular: automated parking lots.
Benefits of Automated Car Parking Lift Systems
Commercial automated parking lots are able to stack cars. As a result, where one garage or outdoor parking space was needed for every car, it is possible to store a number of cars in the same space. Automated systems use parking lifts, employing essentially the same technology that has been used for mechanical parcel handling at post offices. Hydraulic parking lifts
move a vehicle to another level for storing – stacking cars vertically or moving them horizontally into vacant spaces until the car is needed.
Condominiums or offices can double and triple their parking capacity, and revenue potential. Drivers are not circling round and round a parking garage using ramps, but rather driving to one spot and allowing lifts to park their car. The result: huge savings in greenhouse emissions. One study found that an automated parking facility reduced carbon monoxide by 77 per cent and carbon dioxide by 83 per cent when compared to a ramp facility parking the same number of vehicles.
Kinds of Parking Lift Systems
Urban spaces are creating a demand for large-scale operations using sophisticated hydraulic parking lift systems, and these obviously have the biggest green and space impact. On a smaller scale, parking lifts can allow homeowners to maximize their own private garage space.
Some of the types of hydraulic parking lifts include:
- Systems designed to use narrow spaces
- Ones geared to large volume cars of heavier weight
- Systems that don't require a "pit” for moving cars and are ideal if a homeowner needs space for both a short and long-term car parking.
- Parking lift systems designed for spaces with reduced building heights
- Horizontal parking spaces with room for more vehicles above
- Single spaces that allow for parking for two or more vehicles above each other, with the upper platform being designated for long-term parking
- Outdoor parking lifts designed to withstand the elements
- Under-floor spaces and ones that are barrier-free for people with reduced mobility
In addition, there is a wide variety of accessories available, including flooring and parking for bicycles.
It did appear inevitable once that Joni Mitchell's famous line would become fact. But now, courtesy of hydraulic parking lift systems, it is no longer necessary to "pave paradise”.