Valley Fair mall will feature a digital navigation system to aid drivers in finding their vehicles.
Punch in your license plate number at a kiosk and, voilà, a screen will reveal the floor, aisle and stall number of your car. That's not all. When you're driving into the garage amid the weekend rush, green lights will signal how many stalls are open in each row and show which ones are available.
The "smart" garage is part of a $600 million expansion of Valley Fair, which plans to add Bloomingdale's, high-end retail and restaurants. The remake will feature the first Northern California location of the celebrated Taiwanese dumpling shop Din Tai Fung and a 12-screen ShowPlace ICON movie theater that will offer advanced cinematic technology and an adults-only section with leather armchairs and cocktail service.
Although much of the retail additions won't open until 2017, the high-tech garage is expected to be ready in November. It will have 1,000 slots more than the parking structures it's replacing, on North Monroe Street alongside southbound Interstate 880. It will be accessible from the new I-880 offramp. The garage also will feature photo- and motion-sensors to turn off lights when people aren't around, bicycle parking, electric-vehicle charging stations, Wi-Fi and parking stalls for drivers with young children.
But those befuddled drivers who've misplaced both their vehicles and their license plate number may just be out of luck. Surely a tech aid will come along to help, but they might have to wait for the garage's 2.0 version.