City tests out parking meter app in the Bronx

Mayor Bloomberg announces new pilot programs to pay

Mayor Bloomberg announces new pilot programs to pay parking meters (Mayor's Office) (Credit: Mayor Bloomberg announces new pilot programs to pay parking meters (Mayor's Office) )

New York drivers are getting a new weapon for their eternal quest to find a parking space that will also make it easier to pay for it when they find one.

The city's Department of Transportation launched a pilot program Tuesday that allows smartphone users to pay meters at 18 blocks and one municipal lot in the Belmont section of the Bronx. It also created an online map that gives users real time updates on open parking spots.

Mayor Michael Bloom-berg said the city has been looking for ways to make navigating the city easier and predicted the apps would be a hit.

"It's everything you can think to make your life better," he said of the two programs.

Users can download the PayByPhone app for their iOS, Android or BlackBerry devices, input their credit card and license plate number and head to the designated locations. Once they park, they can input a number written on the muni-meter machine, add money or refill until they reach the max time limit with the tap on the phone.

"If you're sitting in the restaurant and you're running out of time, you can run out and pay or you can stay there and hit a few buttons. That's the beauty of it," the mayor said.

App users won't need to place a receipt on their dashboard during the three- month trial, and traffic cops will just have to scan the license plate to know that the spot is paid for, according to Transportation Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Kahn.

Sadik-Khan said the city will analyze the data from the pilot and could eventually move toward making it citywide.

The DOT's other new proproject, which is already tested in the Bronx on portions of Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street shows where there's more spots by using data from street sensors.

The interactive map won't give exact spots for available parking, but it does give an indication of what streets are cluttered.

"Knowing where to go and concentrating your search on which place will have the best value is half the battle," Sadik-Khan said.

Despite Bloomberg and the commissioner's touts, some experts say there are some dangerous tradeoffs for the apps. Louis Camporeale, the creator of parkingpal.com, said he's concerned that drivers will be too focused on their phone while searching for parking or paying the meter while behind the wheel.

"If you have good parking instincts and know where to get around, you can find parking," he argued.

Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan, however, stressed that they only want drivers to use the programs when they are not driving.

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