Did you know that there were hydraulic parking lifts in use in Houston? I didn’t.
District D Councilwoman Wanda Adams, who represents Midtown, attached an amendment to the city budget passed last month that requires the planning department to craft an ordinance in the next three months to regulate lifts.
“When I saw the parking lifts, I was like, ‘Whoa! Do we have standards for these?’ ” Adams said. She’s concerned about the safety of the lifts, which she says don’t look like they can hold much.
The devices have been in use at bars and restaurants in other parts of the country for decades, but there’s only about 25 of them registered at Houston’s Planning Department. (Nine of them were at a now-closed bar on Washington Avenue.
Sy Zuckerman, an 80-year-old parking lift sales representative at Denver-based Harding Steel, said safety should not be an issue with proper parking lifts.
Zuckerman said he does not know if the lifts at the Houston bars are Harding lifts, but said the lifts he has at condominium complexes are so easy to operate that residents use them on a self-serve basis after five minutes of training.
“It’s a no-brainer to operate the machines,” said Zuckerman, adding that he doesn’t know of a single claim filed against the company’s liability insurance in its 43-year history.
See here and scroll down to “#16. The Model T Vending Machine” to see a more extreme example of this technology from 1936. (You can also see it here.) I don’t have any problem with Council wanting to enact “design and installation standards” or for requiring permitting fees, but they should be reasonable and not restrictive. Especially someplace like Washington Avenue, I’d much rather use vertical space than more horizontal space to meet its parking needs.