More companies and cities are letting drivers reserve parking spots online or by phone:
MobileParking LLC has a service in which users call 800-PARK-123 to check parking availability and reserve spots at roughly 400 parking facilities in Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, among other cities. The Bowie, Md., company plans a nationwide launch of the service later this year when reservations will be possible at roughly 1,000 facilities around the country.
The services come as traffic is growing worse around the country and are meant to help ease the traffic tie-ups caused by drivers cruising for a parking spot on the street, where charges tend to be lower than garage rates. In downtown areas, based on studies from cities around the world, about 30 percent of traffic results from drivers searching for curbside parking spots, says Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Besides using availability information or reservations to attract drivers to garages or lots, other efforts to reduce such tie-ups include raising the price of curbside parking or charging different rates during various times of the day.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.