‘Smart parking’ comes to downtown Los Angeles
A year-long demonstration project is changing the way drivers park in downtown Los Angeles. LA Express Park is a technologically advanced parking system that notifies motorists where parking is available by using in-ground sensors on city streets and lots.
The project, which began May 21, also prices parking based on supply and demand. When demand is high, parking rates increase. When demand is low, rates drop. Drivers are given an option of price ranges based on location and are charged according to the time of day and length of stay.
Drivers can get parking information and access the system through several methods, including the latest technology. They can go online to view a map showing available parking spaces. Changeable message signs in the downtown area display information about available parking.
Drivers with cell phones can receive audible guidance — "parking to your right" — to available parking and there are web-enabled applications for smart phones. Drivers can also pay through their cell phones with debit or credit cards.
The intent is to reduce the “cruising” common to downtown areas, as drivers circle looking for a parking spot. That increases traffic congestion, wastes fuel and increases vehicle emissions.
“Downtown is the heart and soul of Los Angeles, and has experienced significant growth over the last decade,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “LA Express Park’s dynamic system will make parking in downtown easier, faster and smarter for all Angelenos.”
The parking project involves only City of Los Angeles-owned parking spaces and facilities in a 4.5 square mile area in downtown. It includes about 6,000 high-tech parking meters. The project is a partnership with the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, supported by $15 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration and $3.5 million in matching city funds.