SINGAPORE: A pilot programme on mechanised parking in HDB estates will be tried out at three locations.
These are Car Park BJ15 beside Block 259A Bangkit Road, Car Park Y39 beside Block 666A Yishun Avenue 4 and Car Park CV1 behind Block 1 Changi Village Road.
GPC Chairman for National Development Lee Bee Wah announced this during a site visit to the proposed area at Bangkit Road on Sunday morning.
In January 2012, Dr Lee had initiated a joint GPC-HDB study on the viability of mechanised parking in HDB estates.
The objective was to address car park shortages in older HDB estates, where there is limited space to build more lots.
The study team evaluated different mechanised parking technologies and looked into potential implementation issues, such as residents' acceptance, retrieval time and management of breakdowns.
The team visited commercial and private residential developments which have already implemented mechanised car parking systems to learn from their experience.
It also studied experiences in Japan and South Korea, two countries which use such systems extensively, to cater to the parking needs of their urban populations.
The study found that mechanised car parking systems have three key benefits:
-- they use land more efficiently and allow more parking lots for a given footprint than multi-storey or surface car parking.
-- they allow parking spaces to be created in areas with site constraints, including building them on existing car park lots.
-- they allow customised design so that the mechanised car park can blend in with the aesthetics of the area.
However, due to its more complex design, the cost of installing and maintaining mechanised parking is higher than that for multi-storey or surface car parking.
Dr Lee said: "This is an additional option, it will be used only when a multi-storey car park, surface car park is not feasible, then we will look into this mechanised parking system.
"Because of its cost and this being the pilot project, we have to study it in detail. We want to address the concerns of users -- in particular residents are very concerned about reliability, whether it will break down and how fast is the response time.
"The other is cost, residents are worried it will cost more. For the first batch, it will definitely be at the same price, so residents will not pay more."
As such, the study team recommended that HDB pilot mechanised parking selectively - within estates that experience parking shortages and where there are no other alternatives.
The HDB said the three sites identified - Bukit Panjang, Yishun and Changi Village - have very high demand for parking and a shortage of lots.
However, due to site constraints, it is not possible for HDB to add more lots by building more surface car parks or constructing multi-storey car parks.
Dr Teo Ho Pin, MP for Bukit Panjang, said: ""Over the weekend, we can see a lot of cars coming over here. I won't say it is very, very chronic, but yes, there is a shortage of carparks over here.
"We are expecting a growth in demand in the future, with the hawker centre being ready by 2015. Because the town centre serves the whole town in Bukit Panjang and there are many residents from Chua Chu Kang and Bukit Timah coming over here."
While residents welcome the project, they also had some concerns.
Pung Whei Meng, a resident of Bukit Panjang, said: "It is good for season parking users and for the younger people to use as it is more electronically-based. But for older citizens, there may be some issues. (They should) have some guidance during the initial launch.
"Sometimes electronic things will break down, and if that happens people will panic and may get frustrated. It is important that this goes through and everything that needs to be done is done -- not say faultless, but as good as possible to prevent failure."
HDB said the system adopted at the three pilot sites will depend on the parking situation there and site configurations.
HDB will be installing the "Tower Parking System" for car parks at Bangkit Road and Yishun Avenue 4, and the "Cart System" in the car park at Changi Village Road.
The project is estimated to be completed by end-2015.
HDB added that as this is a pilot study, the parking charges for the mechanised parking system will be the same as existing car parks.
Writing on his blog, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the pilot programme will allow HDB to gauge public acceptance of the system. - CNA/ir/ac
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