Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Parallel parking pallets

Economical multifamily parking garage for long narrow lot with alley
  [vote for,

Envision a newly-constructed duplex or triplex in the rapidly-gentrifying downtown area of some major American city. You know... an area that's sufficiently gentrified to be safe, but leaving your car parked on the street overnight is still a guaranteed way to get it broken into at least once or twice a year. So indoor, garage parking is non-negotiable.

The lot is fairly narrow, so you only have about 28 feet of clear interior width for the garage. HOWEVER, the area was originally developed in an era when alleys were the norm, so it's possible to configure a solution whereby drivers enter the garage from the main street, but exit the garage into the alley (or vice-versa).

In this case, most of the building's first floor becomes the garage. Its interior dimensions are 28 feet wide x 58 feet deep. It has garage doors centered along the front and rear walls, with driveways leading to both the street out front and the alley out back. Inside, it has three rows of low-profile tracks set into the floor leading from left to right that can be easily driven over. Sitting on each row of tracks are two wheeled metal pallets, measuring 8 x 19 feet apiece. Basically, envision a driveway with room to the left and right to parallel park three cars on each side... but improved, with sliding pallets to enable cars to be entered and exited in the middle (where there's plenty of room) and stored (out of the way) along the left or right side.

The pallets themselves have really, REALLY good bearings inside and are fairly easy to set in motion by simply stepping on the release latch (located along the pallet side facing the center of the garage) and giving the car a light shove towards the middle or side of the garage (just leaning on the car is enough to send it sliding when it's unlatched). Stopping the sliding platform isn't a problem, though... the tracks have strategically-placed bumpers and latches designed to prevent them from sliding past the center, and also to stop them *just* before they reach the wall. As an added safety measure, the latches have a solenoid-actuated interlock that prevents a pallet from being released unless its twin is firmly latched along the other wall.

To make the system work, there's a formal protocol in place for the building's residents: "push your car to the wall and leave an empty rack in the middle for the next person". The wireless web camera spooling snapshots to a server somewhere and condo association-imposed $100 fine (payable by the asshole to the inconvenienced party) ensures that there's always at least one empty platform sitting in the middle of the garage for the next resident, and no cars left blocking the path through the middle. Usually, it's not even necessary to pull out another rack for someone because there's already an empty rack sitting in the middle of one of the other two rows (empty racks can simply be driven over on the way in or out).

miamicanes, Apr 25 2004

(?) Hyundai Integrated Parking System http://www.hyundaie...r/enhtml/auto4.html
Just as you describe but fully automated, plus the ability to handle multiple floors. [Laughs Last, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       [laughs last] I agree that this idea has been baked in 3d many times, but I have that feeling that this idea could be cheaper.   

       By being 2d I would assume that it would be easier to design and build and I therefore assume it could be cheaper. However my croissant has only been given on the assumption that the increased capacity of car parks would provide more open space and parks rather than increasing car parking capacity in the area.
afrocelt, Apr 25 2004

       [laughs last] Yeah, I know all about Hyundai's... and Woehr's, and KlausParking's. The whole point of my idea is that it won't cost more than the rest of the building... definitely NOT the case for puzzle-parkers or the motorized pallets (at $25k PER SPACE for a 3x3 with 8 car capacity, quoted by a sales rep from Klaus, they're just a tad too pricey for condos costing less than a half million dollars apiece.)   

       The only major risk with my idea is when kids get involved and do stupid things, like push cars at each other (with good bearings, stopping it short of a latch would take approximately the same force as setting it in motion to begin with). So maybe it would be a good idea to add a fingerprint reader somewhere and keep the solenoid safety latches firmly closed unless an authorized fingerprint was read within the previous 2 or 3 minutes (a parent stupid enough to add his kids' fingerprints to it as authorized users would deserve the medical bills and/or lawsuit).
miamicanes, Apr 25 2004

       I agree that it is not an identical idea.   

       I'm not sure that it really would increase available parking over normal parallel parking. I can get my car into a space shorter than the car itself, the trick is to nudge the other two cars around on thier suspension.   

       In many places, the really difficult part of implementing this idea will be getting the local government to let you make a curb cut. They tend to be jerks about it in my part of the world.
Laughs Last, Apr 25 2004

       Naw... over here in the colonies, it's pretty much a civil right for every property owner to get at least one curb cut per lot. It's part of the reason why most zoning codes are *so* stingy regarding the development of single lots (at least, for stuff in the "highway commercial" category, like strip malls and fast food restaurants)... they want to do everything possible to encourage developers to aggregate large plots of land for plazas with their own internal traffic flows for outparcels.   

       It's not so much for *increasing* the amount of parking as it is for making it immensely more convenient (given a choice between parking in the middle of the driveway on a pallet and giving the car a good shove to the left or right, or spending 5 minutes nudging into a parallel-parking space, I think it's safe to say that most people would go for option #2 ;-)
miamicanes, Apr 25 2004


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