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New disks will relay parking info to smartphones

January 18, 2012 3:18:00 PM PST
Around Arthur Avenue, you could seemingly drive for hours and wait even longer for a parking spot.

"I get here around 7 o'clock to come to work at it's hard to find parking," said Peter Fusco, an area employee.

That is about to change as city DOT workers begin installing hockey puck sized sensors on 187th Street that will allow you to see if a parking spot opens up by using your smart phone.

"We are making it easier for drivers to park. We are actually piloting new technology that will bring parking information into the palm of your hand," said Janette Sadik-Khan, the NYC DOT Commissioner.

Sensors are already at work in San Francisco where information is uploaded to a central computer and then relayed to the app on your smartphone.

Fire it up and you can see the map around you.

Dark blue means plenty of spots.

Light blue means it's getting tight.

Red, and you can pretty much forget it.

"They will also not be causing the congestion you cause when you circle the block over and over again," City Councilman James Vacca said.

Shop owners like Sandra LaVista at Arthur Avenue Floral is thrilled.

"I think that's brilliant. I love it," LaVista said.

But not everyone will be able to take advantage.

"You are assuming that everyone has a smartphone. I for one happen to be someone that doesn't have a smartphone," said Margarita Lazri, an area employee.

For the experiment they have installed 177 of the sensors.

For three months they will test them to see if they stand up to the rigors of street sweepers and snow plows.

Then, they will make the app available to test so you see if you can get a parking spot.

"We are going to be monitoring it to see how the equipment works. If we get the information we need and to get it on a real time basis," Sadik-Khan said.

Perhaps this will relieve a major frustration for city drivers.

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