6 February 2023
We’ve all been there – driving up and down the levels of a tiered parking lot, trying not to irritate the people behind us but keeping our eyes peeled for those telltale bright white lights that mean someone is reversing and we can nab their parking spot.
If only there was some way of predicting what we were getting ourselves into before we entered the unknown and started climbing heavenward towards that elusive open parking block.
Well, now there is.
Instead of trying to find a curbside spot at Camana Bay, why not head to the Solaris parking garage on Solaris Ave., where a digital readout provides real-time data on how many spaces are available? Now, you can enter the edifice with abandon, aware that you are not embarking upon a fruitless journey.
“The idea for the digital counter came from our asset management team, championed by Chris Palmer, senior manager asset management,” said Jeffery Wight, senior property manager at Dart. “Philosophically, the project came about because we want to encourage more utilisation of our Solaris parking garage. We track parking data throughout the day at Camana Bay and have noticed [it] always has significant capacity.”
Although something about human nature compels us to covet ground-floor parking spaces (which Wight says are perfect for short shopping or dining visits), there is no reason to eschew the higher floors which offer elevators and stairs between levels.
“Floors 2 through 5 are available for everyone to use during the day,” Wight said, adding that there are open spaces for visitors even when the lot is used by staff who work nearby.
Palmer said that before the digital readout was in place, data implied that “customers were resistant to park in the garage because they were worried that they would waste their time and not find a space.
“Providing information on the availability was the obvious solution to the problem,” he explained.
The decision to install the new technology was a carefully thought-out one.
“The sign has been in the works for a year or so...but fully commissioned [in late January],” Palmer said, adding they worked with a Barcelona-based company in that time.
“There are sensors on all the ramps and entrances to the car park, which monitor the movement around the garage. These sensors send real-time information to the sign, informing customers where they can find a space," Palmer said.
Although direct feedback from clients has yet to be received since the system went live, the number of cars now being found in the garage tell the story for them.
“Customers vote with their feet (or, in this case, their cars), and space use increased 10% the first week the sign was operational,” Palmer said.
Now, if only Dadeland Mall could take a leaf out of this book.
This article was originally published in the February 2023 edition of Camana Bay Times.