Drivers in northeast Old Town Scottsdale can now find parking faster with a new smartphone app that displays available free on-street parking.
As part of a pilot program, 834 sensors were embedded in each on-street parking space from Scottsdale Road east to 75th Street between Indian School and Camelback roads. The sensors relay data to a free phone app that displays street-by-street parking availability.
(Photo: The parking app color codes streets based on parking availability.)
This new "smart parking" pilot was initiated to help with traffic congestion and limited parking in Old Town.
"When we first started looking at parking problem areas, the northeast quadrant of Old Town had the most challenges," said Transportation Director Paul Basha. "With this new technology, visitors can drive directly to a street with available parking, which will reduce driving time, traffic congestion and vehicle emissions."
The new parking system is also expected to help improve Old Town Parking in the future.
"The system allows us to maximize our current parking resources while helping us better understand specific parking habits and needs," said Basha.
The new parking system is also improving parking enforcement efficiency.
"Officers no longer need to drive street by street chalking tires and then come back after a time period to check for chalk marks," said Lieutenant Christopher Dipiazza.
The parking system allows officers to see specifically where a vehicle has violated a parking limit and drive directly to it.
"This greatly reduces parking officers' driving, which is more economical and greener," said Dipiazza. "It also enables us to better enforce disabled parking spaces and parking in other areas of the city."
Better parking enforcement is expected to improve parking turnover and increase visitors to businesses in Old Town. Merchants can also provide real-time parking information on their websites with the new system.
The parking app also provides alerts for when parking limits are about to expire and directions for drivers to get back to their vehicles, making it easier for drivers to comply with parking time restrictions. For visitors who need to park longer than three hours, the app also shows where nearby parking lots and garages with unlimited free parking are located.
The pilot is for one year but can be extended for up to five years. The city welcomes comments about the system.
Like with other phone apps associated with driving, such as map apps, drivers should park or move out of a travel lane before interacting with the parking app. Once drivers select a parking area near their destination, the app can provide audible directions.
For links to download the free parking app and instructions on how to use it, please visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov and search "parking."