When innovation helps ease parking woes

Menara M Summit along Magazine Road. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group
Menara M Summit along Magazine Road. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 22 — Penang is known as a food haven with its delicious street cuisine.

But anyone who has been to the island knows what a pain it is to be stuck in traffic jams, let alone to search for a space to park one’s vehicle.

This is made worse with the narrow and congested roads, especially during peak hours, weekends and worse of all, on long public holidays.

A developer, however, recently installed the latest technology to overcome some of the parking woes on the island.

An LED display (right) indicates what type of parking bays are still available: SUV, MPV and sedan. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group
An LED display (right) indicates what type of parking bays are still available: SUV, MPV and sedan. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group

Menara M Summit in the busy Magazine Road is believed to be the first in the country to implement the “comb type” tower mechanical car park.

Standing at 34 storeys, the state-of-the-art car park, which uses Chinese technology, comprises three towers.

It can accommodate 204 cars. Cars as big as a Toyota Vellfire or a Mercedes-Benz E class can easily fit in a parking bay.

“With this system, we can not only allocate 200-odd parking bays but also solve urban parking woes within a limited space.

“It is efficient, time-saving and a boost to personal safety as drivers, especially for ladies, who do not have to go to their cars to retrieve them as they will be delivered to you.

“The system also prevents car break-ins, vandalism and thefts,” said founder and managing director of M Summit Group Datuk Albert Moh.

Another view of cars decked up to save space. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group
Another view of cars decked up to save space. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group

Apart from meeting the needs of the staff and guests of the building, he added the car park is also a hit with the public, especially those who wished to enjoy hassle-free parking in the heart of George Town.

It is located near Komtar, shopping malls and famous street food hubs.

As with anything new, members of the public and drivers can be seen taking video recordings of the technology where the car enters a special lift guided by a electronic voice recording.

There are also video display panels for safety.

Once in place, the car is lifted to a particular slot and upon flashing the designated electronic card, one can also get the system to bring down your car.

The car will be also be rotated, making it ready to be driven out from the car elevator.

Upon descending, the cars are rotated 180 degrees, ready to be driven off. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group
Upon descending, the cars are rotated 180 degrees, ready to be driven off. — Picture courtesy of M Summit Group

“Many amused drivers who are picking up their cars from the tower car park were seen being taken aback when the vehicles start rotating after descending from the top,” said Moh.

He also said the company had carried out detailed studies on similar Japanese and Taiwanese technologies before making their final decision based on practicality and dependability.

“One has to see this technology to believe it.

“Nowadays, I always park my car here as it is very safe for women drivers and the parking charges are very reasonable,” said Kathy Wong, 32, who works at the nearby Komtar administrative centre.

M Summit Group also hopes to implement this parking technology at their condominium and high-rise projects currently under way on the island.

An LED board is also located at the building’s driveway on Magazine Road to inform drivers of available bays for saloon, SUV and MPV cars.