Today’s news:

Parking technology being tested in Belmont

Bronx Times

The Department of Transportation is partnering with three tech firms on a new application that may help motorist find parking spaces throughout the city via their mobile devices.

As part of a pilot program called the Parking Availability Technology pilot, city DOT has installed sensors embedded into the street at 177 parking spots along the Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street that can detect if a parking spot is vacant. The sensors would then transmit the data as to how many spaces are available on a given block to mobile devices of motorists, reducing time spent cruising for spots.

DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Councilman Jimmy Vacca were on hand in Belmont on Wednesday, January 18 to announce the start of the pilot program, which is expected to last for several months.

“Too many times, people from all over the Bronx shy away from wonderful shopping areas such as the Belmont community because finding a parking space is very difficult,” Vacca said. “With these new street sensors, drivers will be able to locate the nearest parking space with a simple cell phone application. Hopefully the sensors will be a success because we want people to shop and eat in this community.”

The sensors were provided to the DOT at no cost by three technology firms, according to the DOT’s website. Those firms are listed as ACS, IPsens, and Streeline.

“DOT partnered with three tech firms to launch the Parking Availability Technology pilot, testing state-of the-art equipment to see if it can handle New York City street conditions while wirelessly transmitting parking information to users,” said DOT spokesman Montgomery Dean. “DOT is embedding sensors along Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street in the Bronx that can detect whether a parking space is vacant. If successful, the pilot has the potential to ease congestion by informing the public through a smartphone app how many spaces are available on a particular block, reducing the amount of time spent cruising for a spot.”

If the sensors work, it should provide much needed relief for motorists who are often ticketed by traffic agents as they double park to enter stores for short periods of time, Belmont community resident Joe Marano said. Many of the people who come to Arthur Avenue from other parts of the borough or beyond often don’t realize the limitations on parking.

“They might not realize how long it will take them when they run into a store, or how quickly the area fills up with cars on a given Saturday,” Marano said. “Parking Enforcement doesn’t give you any breathing room.”

It would be good for businesses in the area if motorists are able to come to Belmont and find parking quickly, and if the pilot program works, it should be a win for the area, Marano stated.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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