SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Finding a parking spot in a popular shopping or dining area is never fun, especially in places like Old Town Scottsdale.
If you’re one of those drivers who has experienced the frustration, now there’s a new app to help drivers find a parking spot faster while easing traffic congestion at the same time.
The busy Old Town Scottsdale entertainment district has it all. There's shops, restaurants and nightlife. That means a lot of people, and a lot of people means less available parking spots on any given day. So getting to where you’re trying to go can take a lot longer than you’d like.
“We’ve all had the experience where we can’t find a parking space, so we turn left and can’t find a parking space there, so we go somewhere else,” said Paul Basha, the transportation director for the City of Scottsdale.
The city is close to launching a new iPhone and Android smartphone app called Parker by Streetline.
More than 800 sensors are embedded in the pavement throughout the northeastern portion of Old Town Scottsdale. When a vehicle pulls in, the sensor recognizes the space is taken.
“And this sensor then informs the master computer somewhere,” said Basha.
The app knows where a driver is looking for a vacant parking spot and their phone helps them find the closest available one.
“Click on the app, it shows you a map of the area,” said Basha.
The new app is a win for businesses too.
“This particular area, you can see that the signs say 2-hour parking,” said Basha. “We have 2-hour parking to encourage turnover.”
If the app is tested and proves to be a success, Basha says the city will release another request for proposal and extend the service. At that point, the city might expand the service into other parts of Old Town.
Visitors will be able to take advantage of the new app in Old Town starting in June.
So far this is just an experiment and the cost is approximately $230,000 dollars.