Glenn Stewart, Livermore

Soon, Livermore will start construction of the 275 vehicle North I Street conventional parking garage.

Let’s explore why the city should consider building the next parking garage on L Street as a robotic parking structure and save millions of dollars.

A conventional parking garage is almost twice the size of a robotic parking structure due to the ramps to move from one level to another, the space required for stairs and elevators, and the increased ‘ceiling’ height to accommodate those ramps. Typical parking garages are built of steel and reinforced concrete, leading to high embodied carbon profiles. Manufacturing and transporting reinforced concrete and steel members produces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Livermore’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) should be sensitive to this for future concrete buildings.

Robotic parking garages on the other hand, are a steel structure construction which is void of any floor slabs. This means these garages are a one-story (one level) construction building with multiple ‘floors.’ The average robotic floor to floor height is around 8 feet and for conventional ramp-based parking is around 12 feet. Meaning, you get 3 levels of robotic parking in comparison to two floors of conventional parking in height.

Since the ramps are eliminated in a robotic garage, and additional savings come from the reduced width of the parking slots in comparison to conventional parking, the building footprint is nearly reduced by half. If the 500-car, L Street parking garage is designed as a 4.5 level conventional structure, that equates to 55 feet or so in building height. On the same L Street parking garage footprint, a robotic parking garage would be around 660 spaces with 8 entries, plus two podium levels of parking for approximately 28 feet in overall height. That’s 27’ lower than a conventional parking garage on L Street.

A low-profile parking structure on L Street would complement our community character. The best part about building a robotic parking garage is that today’s cost is $35,000 per parking space versus $65,000 per parking space for building the North I Street garage.