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Coming to an Alley Near You: The Robot Garage

  • March 5, 2014

by Lark Turner

Coming to an Alley Near You: The Robot Garage: Figure 1
A drawing of a Klaus multiparking system.

The ‘robot garages’ of yesteryear may be turning up in your alley one of these days.

A developer building a new four-unit condo project in Columbia Heights had plans to install a four-car version of the so-called ‘robot garage’ — a mechanical parking system that allows for fewer square-footage-eating ramps and thus, more parking spaces. But neighbors opposed the plan and the building at 3112 13th Street NW (map), which under zoning only requires two parking spaces, has foregone the pricey parking device in favor of a two-car concrete parking pad.

DC has a large mechanized parking structure at the Camden Grand Parc apartments, which boasts “fully-automated” parking among its amenities. However, the many smaller projects going up around the city tend to have surface parking. The 13th Street project would have been a much smaller garage, fitting two cars side-by-side on two levels. Developer The Fenton Group would have then been able to offer a parking spot to each of the new owners in the car-crowded neighborhood.

But to do that, they needed to apply for a parking variance from the Board of Zoning Adjustment because DC doesn’t count mechanical parking as “real” parking spots. To the city, a mechanical parking garage with four spaces counts as zero spaces, and a two-space parking pad for a four-unit condo fulfills zoning regulations just fine, according to The Fenton Group’s Christine Adey.

When the developer presented the idea to ANC 1A, neighbors were concerned about the parking structure’s noise and appearance, and said they would oppose it at a zoning board meeting.

“We were really hoping that the neighborhood would embrace it,” Adey said. “We also understand that when you’re kind of leading the way, it can be difficult for people to conceptualize what you’re trying to do and what it will look like.”

The Fenton Group would’ve used a company called Klaus to make the structure. Here’s a video of what a Klaus multiparking system can look like, though this version is much more complex than the simple structure proposed in Columbia Heights:

See other articles related to: robot parking garage, robot parking, mechanical garage

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/coming_to_an_alley_near_you_the_robot_garage/8202

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