Construction has started on the first public high rise parking lot in Ho Chi Minh City, as many similar structures are expected to be built in coming years.
The news website VnExpress on Wednesday said multi-story parking lots are considered by many investors to be an "optimum solution" for the city's parking scarcity, as they cost less money and take less time to built than underground facilities.
On March 23, the Saigon Transport and Mechanics Company (Samco) began the ten-story project on Co Giang Street in District 1.
The amount of total investment has not been released but the company said the project will accommodate 500 cars.
The Investment Development for Underground Space Corporation (IUS) also said it will continue the US$100 million project on Le Van Tam Street this August so that it could be put in service in 2015. The project was started in 2010, but red tape has stalled its construction.
Another project on Cach Mang Thang Tam is also planned to break ground this year.
Two other ventures which have been approved are located at Hoa Lu Stadium at the corner of Dinh Tien Hoang and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Streets, and one at Tao Dan Park on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.
Since 2003, HCMC has been planning to develop high rise parking lots to solve the lack of space for vehicles in the city.
A couple of high-rise parking lots were built at luxury apartment buildings such as Thao Dien and Hai Van Nam but they exclusively serve cars associated with that building.
Many roads in the city are now used as parking lots for cars, only worsening traffic congestion.
VnExpress on Wednesday cited city statistics as saying that nearly 500,000 cars and more than five million motorbikes are registered in the city, in addition to more than a million vehicles from outsiders who commute into the city each day.
The investors say they will use automatic vehicle arrangement technology, in which drivers simply push a button upon entering the structure and their cars are then moved automatically.
The technology reduces carbon emissions as users do not have to drive around the structure in search of a parking spot.
The parking lots will be unmanned, thus casualties from potential fires or explosions will be limited, the investors said.
"We only need a very small area and simple iron frames," said Vu Huy Thang, general director of Billco JSC which on March 22 proposed his own multi-story parking lot project.
Thang said such parking lots are useful for office and apartment buildings that draw a lot of cars but have little space to house them.
Nguyen Thi Bao Quynh, deputy general director of Dong Duong Corporation which invested in the parking lots at Hoa Lu and Cach Mang Thang Tam, said a multi-story parking lot has a capacity to hold 20 times more cars than normal ones.
Nguyen Dinh Hung, deputy director of HCMC Department of Architecture and Planning, said the city can attract individuals or private firms to invest in such projects by simplifying the procedures and establishing reasonable prices for parking once the structures are built.
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