Planning for the Demise of Parking Garages

In the hip Arts District of Los Angeles, AvalonBay Communities Inc. is building 475 apartments and a parking deck that can hold up to 1,000 cars. But it’s also planning ahead for a future where autonomous cars might make the garage obsolete.

“We are designing [the garage] so in the future, if demand for parking decreases dramatically, we have the flexibility to go back to the city and ask for additional entitlements to change uses from parking to whatever,” Mark Janda, senior vice president of development, tells the L.A. Times.

For example, the garage will have flat rather than inclined floors, which will allow the space to be transformed into shops, theaters or a gym. However, Janda says his company doesn’t want to get too far ahead of the curve. While people may eventually be willing to give up car ownership and simply rent a vehicle when they need to get somewhere, that’s not the case yet.

For now, “People in California still rely on their cars and expect to be able to park them,” Janda says.

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