A new program unveiled Monday is poised to change the way Los Angeles drivers find and pay for parking, according to the mayor.
The LA Express Park pilot program pairs real-time data from 6,000 parking spaces to a mobile application that lets users find, reserve and even pay for parking through their phones.
"Ground sensors send a signal that a spot is open. That signal gets sent to your computer or mobile phone and to electronic guide signs throughout downtown," according to an explainer video posted online (embedded, below).
“We’re finally becoming the cutting-edge city that we’ve talked about for years,” said City Councilwoman Jan Perry.
Drivers can then pay at the meter or through the app, which covers a 4.5-square-mile area in downtown. The app also currently shows data for Hollywood, Studio City and Venice.
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“When you’re at a meeting and you get a text message 15 minutes before your time is about to expire, through this app you can actually add more time as long as the posted time limit is adhered to,” said Amir Sedadi, assistant manager of the LA Deptartment of Transportation.
With the technological advancement, comes fee increases. Based on demand, meter fees could range from 50 cents to $6 per hour.
Mobile applications for the one-year pilot program are available on the iPhone and select Android devices. The service is also available online at laexpresspark.org.
"Thanks to LA Express Park, parking for residents, employees and visitors in downtown LA just got a whole lot easier," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "The future of parking is happening now and it's happening in Los Angeles."
The mayor was asked if the new program will lead to more, or less, tickets.
“We don’t know yet,” Villaraigosa said. “I think it will mean less tickets, I mean that’s pretty clear.”
The program is funded through a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and $3.5 million in city funds.