Parking in Downtown’s Cultural District just got a lot easier with the option to get online, make a phone call, or check an app to check parking availability.
Introduced and implemented at noon today, ParkPGH will deliver parking vacancies in all Cultural District garages in real-time. Funded by the Benter Foundation, the free smartphone application that works on iPhones, Blackberry and Android phones uses updates from each garage in the district to tell drivers the parking availability of 25 percent of the garages downtown.
"ParkPGH connects to a central database and to the gates at each location and updates every thirty seconds to provide real-time parking availability to the Cultural District," project engineer Mark Fleming says.
Fleming made sure that ParkPGH is also available to those who don’t have the smartphone app. It can be accessed through the web, through texting PARKING or calling 412-423-8980 through which users will receive an automated response.
According to Kevin McMahon, President of the Cultural Trust, and Bill Benter who funded the project, the program was made to reduce the hassle of finding a space, and hopefully draw more people for not only performances, but also impromptu visits.
"I believe [searching for a space] is an impediment to people coming in and enjoying the wonderful things we have going on in the Cultural Trust so this is an attempt to make that easier for everyone," Benter says.
According to developers, the first trial will be assessed before citywide expansion is implemented and that evaluation should be completed by March.
"Over time it's possible that this could expand to all parking, whether it would work for metered parking, who knows? With some of the great things that technology is doing, down the road it's possible," McMahon says.