Monday, August 22, 2011

Article suggests Forest City has chosen low-cost, stackable modular system--perhaps untested domestically--for Block 1129 surface parking

According to an 8/20/11 article in the Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette, headlined City authority explores new type of parking facility, Forest City Ratner is considering an inexpensive, fast-to-assemble pre-fab parking solution (which, I'd add, is apparently little tested domestically, if at all):
Williamsport Parking Authority is exploring a less all-concrete type of parking facility, designed to be demountable, semi-permanent and more environmentally friendly.

It's called More Park System, a "bump-up parking deck," which is made of removable pre-cast concrete platforms secured by galvanized steel beams that can be assembled in a few weeks - as opposed to several months of construction - and is available in airports in Europe and soon to be providing parking for the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA's new franchise team.
Neither the Nets (not a "new" franchise) nor Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner have made such an announcement, but it's plausible that the developer would aim to save money and time.

About More Park

More Park, based in Patterson, NY (off I-84 in Putnam County), states:
The MORE PARK®; System has International and US patents pending, and is a foundationless single story steel and precast concrete parking structure. The MORE PARK®; System installs over your new or existing asphalt or concrete surface parking lot in just a few weeks with limited disruption versus the months to a year-or-more it takes to build a conventional structure, gaining you a year-or-more of parking revenue.

The MORE PARK®; System is the lowest-cost parking deck available, it is completely demountable and can be used either in a permanent or semi-permanent manner, but can be dismantled and transported to another site and reused an unlimited number of times. The MORE PARK®; System is a green parking solution with a minimal environmental impact and is built largely from recycled materials.
Where used?

A Q&A is a bit ambiguous:
Where is the MORE PARK® System currently used?

Currently, there are hundreds of installations of demountable steel and concrete single story parking structures along the lines of the MORE PARK® System throughout Europe and the UK.
(Emphasis added)

Yes, the company lists airports, hospitals, mass transit facilities, inter-modal transportation facilities, shopping centers, military bases, educational campuses, and various businesses--but "along the lines of" is not the same thing.

So it's unclear where, if at all, it's been used in the United States. It is being considered in Newark, DE (more here).

Videos show process

Below are the two videos from More Park's YouTube page.





Use of stackers discounted, then predicted

According to the Empire State Development Corporation's November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Chapter 12, Traffic/Parking (below):
A further 1,596 public parking spaces would be provided in Phase I in three temporary parking lots: an approximately 182-space below-grade parking lot at the southwest quadrant of Block 1120 with access expected to be from 6th Avenue; an approximately 470-space at-grade parking lot midblock on the north side of Block 1120 with access from Atlantic Avenue; and an approximately 944-space at-grade parking lot on Block 1129 with access expected to be from both Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues. The two temporary parking lots on Block 1120 would be attendant-park facilities with stackers, while the lot on Block 1129 would likely be an attendant-park facility with no stackers.
(Emphasis added)

That "likely... no stackers," of course, evaporated after Forest City Ratner in 2009 renegotiated the Atlantic Yards plan with the ESDC, as noted by Atlantic Yards Watch.

According to the ESDC's 12/13/10 Technical Analysis of an Extended Buildout (also embedded below), use of stackers was planned:
Prior to the time when construction on Block 1129 is completed, the surface parking lot there would provide varying numbers of parking spaces to accommodate parking needs of construction workers during the workday and arena event traffic during the evenings and weekends. In addition, parking for police vehicles would be provided until permanent parking for those vehicles is available. When necessary, stackers would be in use to allow for the parking of up to two cars per space and a total surface lot capacity of up to the 1,100 cars.
Local impact

Atlantic Yards Watch points out:
The use of modular parking platforms on block 1129 may affect not only the impact of the facility on the surrounding streets (which are located in the Prospect Heights Historic District), but also the opportunity to landscape the interior of the lot. Although interior landscaping of surface parking lots is required under New York City zoning, Forest City Ratner has stated publicly that it believes it is exempt from such requirements.
Why is FCR exempt? Because the state can override city zoning: Here's the language from the zoning text (embedded below):
All open parking areas with 18 spaces or more or 6,000 square feet or more in area that front upon a street shall be screened at the street line by a perimeter landscaped area at least seven feet in width measured perpendicular to the street line.
...All open parking areas of 36 or more parking spaces or at least 12,000 square feet in area shall provide at least one tree for every eight parking spaces.
The NetsDaily reference

The modular parking news first emerged on NetsDaily, whose pseudonymous Net Income reported:
And what's this? An upstate New York company, More Park System, is claiming its prefab parking solution will soon be used by the "Brooklyn Nets". It's a a "bump-up parking deck," which is made of removable pre-cast concrete platforms secured by galvanized steel beams that can be assembled in a few weeks. 
The item linked only to the company web site, which does not make that claim.

That claim appears, as noted above, in a news report, which was not linked. Carelessness or just an attempt at pseudo-omniscience?

Sourcing to BUILD's website? Nah

In another episode of questionable sourcing, Net Income reported on details of the BUILD training program, crediting it "to a notice on the group's website," though AYR was cited for first reporting it.

No link to BUILD's website was provided, perhaps because the notice was not, in fact, posted on BUILD's website. Those of us following BUILD know the website hasn't been updated since 2005.

Actually, BUILD circulated the information by email to me and three community boards.

Chapter 12 Traffic Parking FEIS Final EIS

ESDC Atlantic Yards Memo 121310a

New York City Zoning Requirements: Parking Lot Landscaping

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