A packed and stacked parking lot in New York City shows the potential of a revolutionized system. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Associate Opinion Editor
Everywhere we look we see concrete parking lots. They blot the surface of our Earth with their carcinogenic grey gravel, painted with white and yellow skeletal lines to distract us from their true motives. They create a grey prison for the Earth that prevents it from growing the plants that it was meant to. They limit natural scenery to designated zones and mask their intentions by giving us a place to park cars. Of course, their service is well-appreciated, it’s much better to fight over a parking spot with another car in a parking lot, than fight an angry pack of bears for a parking spot next to a large tree. The two sides of the parking spectrum, complete cementification and complete forestification, have benefits but also plenty of drawbacks that make neither worthy of best fit for humanity’s parking problem.
To solve our problem, we must look back to solutions of previous problems faced by humanity. Long-distance transportation was a necessity for an expanding human population and required relatively safe technology to make it happen. At first, we used boats and various forms of carriages for, before upgrading to the planes. Like long-distance transportation, long-distance communication was a necessity. We used letters, flags, and light-codes, before developing the technology to take communication to the sky with satellites.
Now why not look to the sky again, there’s plenty of room up there. We can confine every car in a parking lot to one space if we stack the cars on top of eachother. Now this is impossible with modern car’s various shapes and sizes, so a standard style will need to be instituted to make sure the stacks of cars have stability.
The best shape for our new cars is rectangular prisms. Rectangular prisms would give the car sharp edges that make it easy for them to be aligned on top of each other. They have enough surface area on their top and bottom to give manufactures room to implement locking mechanisms. A possible locking mechanism would be four retractable cylinders on the top of a car that slide into four fitted holes on the bottom of the car above it. The cylinders would create an internal framework that adds to the overall stability of the stack. Think of it like a bunch of Legos stacked on top of each other.
Getting a car to the top of a stack poses a new problem. I think that the best way to solve this problem is to develop a drive-in elevator. The elevator would be situated next to the stack and would go as high as legally allowed. It would have a conveyor belt type mechanism that would feed cars into its main compartment. When the compartment reaches the top of the stack, it would carefully slide the car into its proper position before returning to the ground for its next shipment.
We are free to go up the elevator with our cars then take it back down once the car is officially parked. The elevator ride would give us a free birds-eye of our surroundings, something that ground parking does not offer. The ride may give us a needed break from a busy day, unlike in a regular parking lot, where finding a parking spot contributes to day to day anxiety.
We all seem to be in a rush while we park, so the conveyor belt gives us the option to park and forget it. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s efficient. With the conveyor belt, we would be free from the struggle of finding a parking spot, as well as the risk involved in traversing a parking lot filled with anxious drivers. Our time and safety have guaranteed protection with the conveyor belt and elevator combo.
Our cars, on the other hand, are not so fortunate. There is extreme risk in giving machines total control over the future of our car’s success. To compensate for this, there will be technicians on hand at all times of the day, ready to step in if a technical failure arises. Accidents are still bound to happen even with this precaution, so institutions will create funds specialized for paying back any damages. What the institutions lose in money, they gain in the well-being of the people they reside over.
Getting rid of the conventional concrete parking lots in favor of car stacks gives nature freedom to retake some of its territory and alleviates some of the burden we face when we park. Without all that concrete, there is new room for patches of trees and shrubbery to grow which gives us new space to appreciate the beauty nature has to offer. The parking conveyor belt and elevator would limit the time we lose trying to park and eliminate potential risk of harm to people and cars in conventional parking lots. Trusting machines to take care of our cars is risky, but there would be appropriate measures taken to limit the damage that could be caused. I say we take to the sky to solve yet another problem plaguing us everyday.