‘Smart’ parking system may ease drivers’ woes near Anaheim’s Packing District, Center Street

by in News

For anyone who’s had trouble parking when running to City Hall to pay the water bill or trying to grab a bite at the Anaheim Packing House, city leaders have heard your groans of exasperation.

To make parking less of a pain, Anaheim will be adding a “smart parking” system that can monitor where spaces are available in seven city lots and garages in and around the Packing District, City Hall and the Center Street Promenade.

The information will be fed to electronic signs at the lots and garages, as well as to a smartphone app so people can see what’s available before they arrive. Red and green indicator lights will help more clearly indicate which spots are available (no more being foiled by smart cars and other small vehicles).

Drivers will also be able to pay for parking online and through the app.

“We definitely hear from a lot of people that are coming to downtown that they have trouble finding parking or that there’s not enough parking,” city spokeswoman Lauren Gold said. The city has found there are often a lot of unused spots – drivers just may not know where to look.

The new system will work in tandem with FRAN, the app-based fleet of electric vehicles that give free, on-demand rides in the Center City area, Gold said. If there’s a parking spot open that’s farther than you’re able or willing to walk, FRAN can get you from there to your destination.

The design and installation of the smart parking technology by San Francisco-based Parking Sense is expected to cost no more than $1 million.

The first location – the Center Street garage next to the Anaheim West Tower – will go online in July and the remaining sites should get the upgrade by year’s end, Gold said.