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Sarasota Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 11 months ago

New parking app available in Sarasota

Parker also helps drivers find public parking spots in St. Armands Circle and Lido Beach.

A free parking app that helps drivers find public parking spaces in downtown Sarasota is now available for iOS and Android. The app, called Parker, also helps drivers find spots at Southside Village, St. Armands Circle and Lido Beach.

Parker combines data from the a series of parking sensors in the city, Google Maps and other app users to provide a real-time map on smartphones and tablets to show on-street parking availability. Instead of monitoring every single space, the app uses data updated every few minutes to make projections on how many spaces are available. 

“It’s not intended to be an individual space guidance app," said Sarasota Parking Operations Division manager Mark Lyons. "It’s to get you to an area where you'd expect to find a space."

On Parker, streets highlighted red on the map are projected to not have any open parking spaces, those highlighted yellow have some open spaces and streets highlighted green have multiple available parking spaces.

The app also provides directions to parking areas, reminds users their parking location and of informs them about any applicable time restrictions. Parker also provides hours of operation and prices for parking facilities.

Additionally, merchants can link to the app through their website, providing their customers with up-to-date parking information.

The city began implementing the parking system near the beginning of this year. After more than six months of research, Lyons said the developers behind Parker had collected enough data to present an accurate representation of real-time parking conditions for Sarasota drivers. 

“I’m happy about that," Lyons said. "We wanted to see it as soon as possible, but they wanted to make sure the information they were calculating made sense."

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