Website Deciphering Impossible Parking Signs So You Don't Have To
There's a running joke in Sydney that by the time you decipher the web of parking signs around the CBD, you will have already copped a fine.
But one company is promising to change that frustration for drivers, providing a real-time digital map of on-street parking rules in Sydney's congestion hotspots. And it's a free service.
Spot Parking, the brain-child of former Opal CEO Elizabeth Zealand has been running since 2015, with the company now preparing to expand to other city areas, and even overseas.
Zealand admitted it was actually her own troubles with parking that sparked the idea for Spot Parking.
"It came about because I got two parking tickets in one day, and I thought there had to be a better way," she told 10 daily.
In the 20017/2018 financial year, motorists paid more than $172 million in parking fines to NSW councils.
The Sydney-based startup which focuses on what Zealand describes as "digital infrastructure for future cities", collects on-street parking sign restrictions and translates them into a free and interactive map for users.
It considers a number of different factors including free and paid parking, disabled parking, no stopping zones, no parking areas and loading zones.
"We really want to make it so people are planning a journey know: 'what are my options.'"
While the sheer thought of trying to park in Sydney's city can be overwhelming for many, Zealand said the actual 'collection' process of signs and restrictions on each CBD street, only takes a couple of weeks.
"We collect on foot -- we found it more reliable and more accurate and we can remotely recruit and train our collectors," Zealand said.
So far the company has mapped the CBD and Pyrmont areas, with data also collected around Bondi beach, Surry Hills and Chatswood.
One of the concerns with mapping, however, is that parking signs could always change.
Zealand said that the company has established a process with its client cities to let them know when restrictions change, as well as collecting crowdsourcing report and providing options for feedback.
Spot Parking also offers parking finder products which it sells to businesses and councils.
In the coming weeks, the website will also be launched for Parramatta, another Sydney hotspot, after the company teamed up with the local council last year to launch a 'Safe School Parking Finder'.
The new initiative will see local residents and those working around the area have access to information about on-street and Council car park options and prices, a City of Parramatta spokesperson told 10 daily.
"The City of Parramatta is currently experiencing considerable growth and development," the spokesperson added.
"In summary, being able to plan where you will park should reduce the number of people driving around the CBD looking for places to park."
The spokesperson also confirmed members of the public would be able to provide feedback if any errors are noticed, while the council's traffic committee would also provide direct feedback to Spot Parking if there are changes to signage and local traffic condition.
A similar program was launched around Bendigo in Victoria earlier this year, with a focus on helping locals easy identify disabled parking bays around the city.
Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the development of the web for the area was done in consultation with the local Disability Inclusion Reference Committee after calls for easier identification of disabled parking spaces for vehicles that required a hoist and rear-loading of wheelchairs.
READ MORE: NSW Government To Slash Parking Fines To $80
Zealand said Spot Parking has already seen around 10,000 visits in the last few months.
"It's not complete, we are still growing," she said.
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