Parking Structure Avalanche

Downtown Auburn Hills is home to our municipal parking structure. It opened in 2014 with 233 spaces and was funded by the Tax Increment Finance Authority with the long-term growth of the downtown in mind.

The structure is attached to the Auburn Square apartments which has 97 residential units and 5,800 square feet of retail space at street level. The structure sees a lot of use, especially during events such as Summerfest when street parking fills up. As the downtown district continues to grow, this structure will become even more important into the future.

But how do you clean the snow from the top deck?

You might be surprised at the answer.

When a snow event occurs, the first thing that happens is that our downtown snow vendor piles it up. Our vendor has to use rubber blades on their plow or a powered broom to clear the snow from the parking spaces. Special care has to be used to protect the integrity of the concrete joints used in the deck.

In addition to the low impact snow removal equipment, only special de-icing compounds can be used that are safe for concrete structures. During the snow storm, the vendor pushes all the snow into the outer corner of the deck, this is where the Department of Public Works comes in.

The snow you see in the above picture is from the storm we just had on Monday. You might be wondering what’s the fastest way to remove the snow pile from the upper parking deck?

The answer is right over the side! As you can see, Department of Public Works employee John Garavaglia uses a skid-steer with a bucket to carefully scoop up the snow and dump it over the side of the parking deck.

The snow lands mostly into a landscaped area and sometimes a couple of the nearby parking spaces. Just to make sure someone doesn’t accidentally wander into the avalanche area, DPW employee Brooke Sawyers guards the area to make sure everyone is safe.

Thanks to the entire DPW crew and our downtown snow vendor Miller Landscaping for all their hard work on a very demanding winter storm.

Stan Torres, Manager of Municipal Properties

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