Downtown parking: a headache Sac city is working to cure

How much does it cost searching for a parking spot?

A new report out this week says Americans spend some $73 billion each year just looking for parking.

The city of Sacramento says - it's being proactive to help mitigate that.

RELATED: Americans spend $73 billion a year searching for parking

In October, the city launched a website and app called SacPark.org. There, people can view available parking garages in Sacramento's core and their various prices - and reserve a space before heading downtown.

230,000 spaces have been reserved using that site and app since its October launch, Sacramento parking manager Matt Eierman said.

"Think about all the congestion that serviced in our community," he said.

Both public and private lots are shown on the site. People booking a spot at the city lot receive a 25 percent discount on the cost of parking, Eierman said. That's to encourage people to plan ahead, park in a lot and avoid adding to traffic congestion while trying to find street parking.

"The city of Sacramento has put in many different options and many different ways for people to really plan ahead," Eierman said.

In late fall 2017, he said, the city plans on launching a new app, which includes all the services of the current app - plus a feature that will help drivers search for street parking.

"We currently have sensors in each one of our parking meters out on the street, which is building an information bank of where parking is available and at what times," Eierman explained. "So when you're coming to our downtown, you'll just pull up our app, you'll put in your destination and it'll give you a route with a probability of how much parking is available along that route."

The app won't guarantee somebody on-street parking, he said. It will just let drivers know which streets will present the best chance to find parking.

The late-fall launch will also include a roll-out of new technology in Sacramento's parking garages. The city's, county's and Downtown Commons' parking garages all now have sensors in each parking space. That accounts for a total of about 8,550 smart parking spaces. Users of the new app will be able to see how many spaces are available in any of those garages - and whether the entire garage is full and they should look elsewhere.

According to the new report, American drivers, on average, spend 17 hours per year searching for parking. The headache-inducing task of finding an open spot costs $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel and emissions - equivalent to a collective $73 billion. Many US drivers also overestimate how much time they will spend in a parking spot and overpay to avoid a parking ticket.

"The things that INRIX is talking about is real in cities, and we've taken a proactive approach to making sure that all the people that are coming to Sacramento are serviced and can find parking."

Sacramento's ParkMobile App allows drivers to plug their street-parking meters remotely and repeatedly, so they don't have to overpay from the get-go.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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