Downtown Jacksonville gets 'smart' on parking
Updated On: Feb 05 2013 06:05:16 PM EST
Visitors to downtown Jacksonville will soon be able to know more easily and in real time where on-street parking is open.
Mayor Alvin Brown and the city of Jacksonville are working with Streetline, a leading provider of innovative parking solutions, to implement the company's smart parking system in certain sections of downtown. It will allow people with smartphones or computers to find on-street parking spaces in real time, as well as the locations of parking garages and lots.
Brown said that as part of his vision to make downtown more accessible, vibrant and lively, a project will take place to implement parking sensors near certain meters to make visiting downtown easier for residents and visitors. The sensors will detect which spaces are available, which will be shown on a smartphone app that will also offer other useful features. By early March, the app -- Parker by Streetline -- will be published to connect the data to visitors.
"I am excited to see this innovative technology reach our streets," Brown said. "Our citizens have told us that parking is a big factor in their downtown experiences, and this action represents another example of the determination that I and many other stakeholders have to move our downtown forward and truly make it a destination for all our residents and visitors."
Brown has made economic development, and particularly reinvigorating downtown, a strategic priority, successfully winning approval from Gov. Rick Scott, the Legislature and City Council for improvements to economic development by the city, including creation of the Downtown Investment Authority. Most recently, joined by business and community leaders, the mayor announced an initiative that invests $9 million in savings toward leveraging private investment for downtown.
"We are delighted to help Jacksonville solve one of the most pressing problems facing our cities today -- parking," said Zia Yusuf, CEO of Streetline. "Using mobile parking guidance, Jacksonville drivers will be able to more easily enjoy all that downtown has to offer."
Installation of 99 parking sensors will begin this week at the intersection of Laura and Forsyth streets. The sensors will be embedded in the pavement.
The sensors will stretch along Laura Street from Monroe Street to Independent Drive and will also span several blocks of road intersecting Laura Street including Adams, Forsyth and Bay streets. Parker is the sensors' partner smartphone app that will provide the location and availability of on-street spaces, as well as locations, rates and hours of garages and lots. Once parked, motorists will be able to use the app to set a timer to track how much time is remaining on the meter as well as access walking directions back to their cars.
"Parker will encourage even more residents to enjoy our great downtown restaurants and activities," said Bill Prescott, vice-chair of the Downtown Marketing Collaborative and member of the executive board of Downtown Vision Inc. "By guiding visitors directly to available spaces, people will see there is ample, easy-to-access parking in our urban core."
Besides an easy-to-use search and visual map similar to GPS and in-car navigation systems, the app includes a hands-free option with an audible cue when available parking is nearby. Parker is expected to be available for download in Jacksonville by the first week of March.
"It's encouraging to have the Streetline technology to help create a more user-friendly downtown visitor experience," said Donald Harris, chairman of the Downtown Investment Authority. "There is a remarkable customer service angle to this pilot project that I believe will help strengthen the buzz about our downtown and build on our momentum for new opportunities."
Streetline's parking solutions have been successfully implemented in other cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New Brunswick, Reno and Washington D.C.
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