Fully automated parking garage opens in Oakland

The Hive Parking Structure, the first and only fully automatic parking garage in northern California, opened for business Monday in Oakland.

The new parking structure appears to have many advantages over traditional parking garages and more are coming.

The Hive Parking Structure, which has spaces for 39 cars, is located near the corner of Broadway and 24th Street.

Users of the parking garage can drive in, lock their car and the garage lifts it to a resting spot. Upon return drivers can push a button to retrieve their vehicle. Just over a minute passes, and the vehicle is back in their possession.

CityLift CEO Scott Cable says, at seven stories tall, it's built on an incredibly small footprint of 1,600 square feet. "It reduces the need for space by as much as 80 percent. Because land values have come up so much and there's so much growth in terms of people coming into cities, that's made a big change in terms for the need for this," said Cable.

The garage is secure because no one, other than technicians, can go up into the structure. "The recent wave of smash and grab that we've had in the Bay Area is not an issue," said Cable. He also said t's designed to be mishap free, "You don't have to worry about scratches and dents."

Though the structure is seven stories tall, the sky's the limit. "This building fits within Oakland's zoning parameters, but technologically, the buildings can be taller," said Cable. The cost of construction is the same as a traditional garage and far, far more environmentally friendly. "Since we're removing cars having to idle or looking for parking spaces, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions drops like a rock. We'll use 4 percent of the greenhouses gases that traditional garages would use. These can also be used for electric vehicle charging," he said.

Besides several projects here in the Bay Area, CityLift's home region, there are also projects in New York, L.A., Chicago, Boston, Florida and the Pacific Northwest.