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Portland gets automated car parking: Will robo bike parking be next?

Posted by on August 20th, 2009 at 9:52 am

A new, LEED Silver Certified apartment complex in Southeast Portland includes all the expected eco-friendly bells and whistles. But The 20 on Hawthorne will also include the nation’s largest automated car parking system. Check it out in the video below:

According to a press release about the new building from developer Gerding Edlen, the “puzzle parking” system stores cars on “trays” that move up and down and side-to-side. “This system allows for 29 cars to be parked in an area that would typically only accommodate 10.”

It’s also easy to use. Residents simply swipe a card and 30-40 seconds later their car is ready to go.

Sounds like a neat system and it’s great that Gerding Edlen is making more efficient use of space. But this makes me wonder if a local developer will one-up The 20 on Hawthorne and install an automated bike parking garage. Never heard of that? Check out this video from Tokyo:

Space to park bikes will become more of an issue as bike usage rates continue to climb (ask anyone who’s been to Amsterdam), especially at dense housing complexes. I can definitely imagine a local developer installing one of these some day soon.

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  • Mike M August 20, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Soon might be a bit of a stretch. Square footage prices for land are far from urban Japanese prices. We would likely need to have density higher than LA or NYC for an automated bike storage system to pencil out.

    The only incentive I can see would be an additional level of bike parking security. Currently most people who live in multi-family housing don’t feel safe leaving an expensive bike anywhere but their unit. This could add a bit of security while getting additional space in a unit.

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  • foz-man August 20, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I, for one, welcome our new robotic, car parking overlords.

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  • Ma August 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Huh? some day soon? An automated parking stall adds about $30k-$50k per stall to the cost of a unit.

    I wouldn’t doubt automated bicycle parking would be at least half or a third of that.

    So ask yourself: if you were purchasing a unit for $300k, would you then add $about 10k for auto-bike parking, or pay $30k for parking? Or would you pay an additional $1k for a locked storage closet with a wall hook? Even cheaper yet, I keep my bike in my bedroom much to the dissatisfaction of my spouse. 🙂

    Most developers, unfortunately, can care less about bike parking because it doesn’t generate revenue as with a car parking stall.

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  • Thane August 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Does not look promising for ExtraCycles.

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  • Kent Brockman August 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I would like to remind them that we can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

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  • Homer Simpson August 20, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    No toiling in the sugar caves for me. I voted for Kodos.

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  • Trev August 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Sounds good until it breaks or the power goes out and you can’t get your car/bike.

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  • Oh Word? August 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Trev – that’s a great idea. If they put enough of these parking puzzles in, all we have to do is kill the power to have car-free days!

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  • Bingo Sun Noon September 18, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Someone asked me recently if Robobike is now offering parking services in Portland.
    We are not.
    Just custom bikes built in Sellwood.

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