Advanced Anti-Terrorism Parking Solutions

Tragically, there seems to be no end to terrorists and terrorism. Vehicles, parking facilities and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have frequently factored into many acts of terrorism over the past several decades. Following are some thoughts on reducing the threat proposed by and to parking garages.

An interesting read on anti-terrorism measures, including parking garages, is “EngineeringSecurity: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings” from the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD). It includes the example of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey being found liable for potential damages upwards of $100 million over the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist bombing in the underground parking garage. The liability was for not securing its facilities in the face of “ample notice” that a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) attack was possible in the public parking garage.

One of the risk assessment parameters described is vulnerability, which includes the subcategories of adjacency, accessibility and structural performance. Adjacency takes into account the location of a building relative to the location of a possible explosion, and accessibility deals with the control of people and vehicles in, under and around a building. Structural performance is a measure of a buildings relative strength for various locations and strengths of explosions.

What seems clear from the NYPD document is that the best anti-terrorism concept for vehicle parking is highly controlled, underground parking…far removed from any building. Putting distance between a building and a parking garage minimizes potential damage from explosions. Underground parking is especially good at minimizing damage to nearby buildings, however it will not be as effective at protecting anything directly above it. Locating parking garages under city streets would be one way to accomplish this; however, there are some challenges to this that may not be obvious.

To be cost-effective, an underground parking garage may need to be wider than the street. Obviously, this isn’t feasible. The volume of an underground parking garage might also be so large as to require major rerouting of service such as electric water, gas, etc. Moreover, an underground conventional parking garage, not located under a building, becomes incredibly expensive since there is no economy of excavation work…for the building and the parking garage.

One solution to the anti-terrorist parking challenge is an underground automated parking system (APS) such as the Skyline S-Park. Requiring a diameter of only 59 feet (18 m), the S-Park APS easily fits well within the width of many urban streets - minimizing the challenge and cost of rerouting services. With a volume as much as 65% smaller than a conventional underground parking garage, the APS requires significantly less excavation cost and space. In fact, modern earth boring techniques can substantially reduce the cost, time and inconvenience of excavations on major urban thoroughfares for the installation of multiple underground APS.

The APS has four additional attributes that make it an advanced anti-terror parking solution: access control, advanced inspection, signal control and the lowest cost.
  • Since there is no pedestrian access to the parking area of an APS, it is much easier to monitor and secure the area potential explosive devices might be found.
  • Because the APS parking area is unoccupied, it is much easier to block communication frequencies from reaching parked vehicles thus restricting or eliminating remote device control.
  • Once the driver and passengers exit a vehicle for parking in an APS, the vehicle is available for a variety of automated inspections such as air-sniffing, x-ray, frequency scanning, etc.
  • Lastly, the costs for installing an APS underground are far lower than the costs for building conventional parking garages underground.
There are many reasons beyond anti-terrorism to choose an automated parking system from Skyline Parking. Your representative can give you all the details or help you with you high security parking needs.


The Rain Tax

While a new tax, based on rainfall, in the State of Maryland is generating a firestorm of controversy, it is also bringing significant attention to often-overlooked subjects: the effect of parking, parking lots and parking garages on the environment. The so-called “rain tax” is actually a fee assessed on residential, commercial and industrial properties in ten Maryland counties for the remediation of stormwater flowing into the ecologically sensitive Chesapeake Bay. Since the fee is calculated on the amount of surface area impervious to rainwater, there should be no doubt that the discussion of parking facilities, and their size, will take on new importance in Maryland.

The traditional means of dealing with stormwater (i.e. rain not absorbed by the ground) has been to channel it into streams and rivers. Property development creates more ground area covered by surfaces that impervious to rain such as roofs, roads, parking areas, sidewalks, patios, etc. As the amount of impervious area increases, so does the volume of polluted stormwater.

Although the new law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 1, 2013, complaints have already been made that the fees ranging from $14 to $72 per 1,000 square feet (93 sq. meters) of impervious area will roughly double the taxes paid by many non-residential property owners. Rumors about fee increases abound and there is talk about postponing the entire program to address some of the problems and uncertainties.

Environmental challenges and plans to correct them, such as the “rain tax”, simply confirm what we have been saying for years about automated parking systems (APS)…that they are much more eco-friendly compared to parking garages and parking lots. In above-grade applications, an APS can park the same number of cars with roughly half the impervious area of a conventional parking garage and ten, or more, times less impervious area than a parking lot. Below-grade applications require almost no impervious area and APS are the least expensive way to install parking underground.

Contact your representative to find out all of the environmental advantages of Skyline Parking’s line of automated parking systems.


Mechanical, Robotic, Rotary Parking, etc.

Automatic parking…robotic parking…mechanical parking…automated parking…rotary parking…what’s the

The first thing to know is that there are no universal definitions or standards applicable to the various types of mechanized vehicle parking. The terminology used is typically that chosen by the manufacturer, hence the confusion and lack of consistency. We’ll try to sort this out for you.

Mechanical Parking

The term, “mechanical parking”, most often refers to the use of electro-mechanical devices or systems to park more vehicles in a fixed amount of land area. This is accomplished primarily by parking vehicles vertically, one on top of another, by means of some lifting mechanisms.

“Mechanical parking” is the most generic term and is an applicable and accurate description for the broad range of technologies and designs: they are all mechanical and they are utilized for parking. Systems with capacities of two cars or two thousand cars as well as those that are fully automated or semi-automated fall within the category of mechanical parking.

Automatic versus Automated parking Systems

Making a distinction between automated and automatic parking may seem like splitting hairs. We agree, however there’s a difference in usage between the two terms. Both “automatic” and “automated” are used to describe mechanical parking systems; however, “automatic parking” appears to be the universal term for on-vehicle systems that aid drivers in parallel parking. This latter point may be moving mechanical parking system suppliers to more frequently use the term, “automated parking systems.” In general, “automated parking” is most used to describe larger capacity, fully-automatic mechanical parking systems.

Robotic Parking

“Robotic parking” is most often used synonymously with automated parking. As there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “robot”, there is a broad range of technologies that might be considered “robotic”. Some automated parking systems have devices that resemble robot arms or platforms that move autonomously. Nevertheless, it may be best to understand “robotic parking” as simply meaning “automated parking”.

Rotary Parking, Puzzle Parking, Stacker Parking, Etc.

Virtually all other terms related to mechanical parking are used to describe a particular type of mechanical parking. Such terms include:

  • Car lifts
  • Lift parking
  • Pallet parking
  • Puzzle parking
  • Paternoster (or rotary) parking
  • Stacked (or stack) parking
  • Tower parking
Whether you need more parking spaces or parking that requires less space, contact your Skyline Parking representative for a free consultation on mechanical parking solutions.