Mobile app to make parking downtown easier

Published On: Mar 11 2013 03:09:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 06:47:29 PM EST

Visitors to Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville will now be able to find available on-street parking spaces in real time, as well as the locations of parking garages and lots, using "Parker," a mobile application for iPhone and Android devices.

"I'm excited for the Streetline technology's potential to create a more user-friendly experience for our downtown," Mayor Alvin Brown said in a news release. "This initial project shows confidence in our momentum as we become a downtown with increasing options. More than technology, it's about fresh thinking and an invitation for people to visit and explore the city center."

Parker allows people with smartphones or computers to find on-street parking spaces in real time. The innovative parking app will make exploring downtown easier for residents and visitors.

The app is available as part of a project with Streetline that uses sensors in the street to detect the presence of a vehicle. The project is focused on Laura Street between the Jacksonville Landing and Hemming Plaza, and includes some neighboring blocks on Bay, Forsyth and Adams streets.

The area was chosen because it includes a strong mix of retail, restaurant and office uses, according to the news release.

"Downtown parking is one of the top three issues people complain about," said Jack Shad, of the city's public parking division. "For a lot of folks who aren't downtown regulars, they worry about parking. Where are they going to park? Are they going to get a ticket? Can they park near where they want to be?"

The city said it will decide whether to move forward with a larger installation of the sensor system based on the results of the initial project.

In addition to showing availability of on-street spaces, the Parker app also provides the location, availability, rates and hours of garages and lots. Once parked, motorists will be able to set a timer to track how much time is remaining on the meter and access walking directions back to their car. Parking meters require payment weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the app provides data 24 hours a day.

Some locals say they will probably stick to the old fashion way of finding parking.

"No, I wouldn't use an app to find a parking spot," driver Don Whaley said. "I just drive around until I find one. It's pretty easy and I get downtown early."

In addition to an easy-to-use search and visual map similar to GPS and in-car navigation systems, Parker includes a hands-free option that provides an audible cue when available parking is nearby.

Some of the features of Parker include:

For more information and to download the free Parker by Streetline app, visit

Downtown businesses can also embed a live map of nearby available parking on their websites using ParkerMap, the online version of Parker. For more information, go to

Streetline's parking solutions have been successfully implemented in a number of other cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New Brunswick, Reno and Washington, D.C.