Shopping center magnet Rick Caruso in Los Angeles is certain that autonomous vehicles are coming, and he thinks sooner rather than later. In this article featured on parknews.biz, he is quoted as saying:
“This isn’t a fleeting moment, some interesting blip that will come and go,” he said. “This will change traffic in L.A. in a very positive way.”
He’s talking about autonomous vehicles greatly reducing the number of parking spaces required for major projects such as the “Grove” in Los Angeles. He says that today, his project receives literally thousands of visitors coming through their ride share (Read that Uber and Lyft) portal daily. Those relate to thousands fewer cars parking in his huge 10 story garage.
He and his ilk see self driving cars basically replacing parking in the next decade. So he is planning for the future. His garages have level floors, not ramps, so they can be converted to shops, offices, and apartments. Some are built with 13 foot ceilings so the infrastructure (HVAC, Plumbing etc) can be added for build outs when the parking is no longer needed.
“As you go above that (the first few floors), it gets more complicated,” he acknowledged. The towering garages “may become obsolete and have to come down and be replaced.”
Is all this going to happen in the next decade? George Orwell wrote “1984” in 1950. His prediction was that his dystopian society was coming in 30 years. Here we are nearly 75 years later and well, look around. The 21st century Los Angeles of Blade Runner Fame looks nothing like reality.
We like to believe that things happen faster than they really do. Caruso may be right. Its not a bad thing to plan for an uncertain future. We ignore it at our peril. Note that Caruso isn’t not building garages, he’s planning them so they can be converted “IF” predictions come true.
Its not bad to hedge your bets.