New smart phone app simplifies parking experience in downtown Salt Lake City

Posted at 6:44 PM, May 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-15 09:29:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City has faced numerous complaints in the last few years since launching the electronic parking meter system currently in use downtown, and Thursday they unveiled a new system they hope will be a solution.

It has been a rough learning period with the blue parking kiosks in downtown Salt Lake City. Installed in the spring of 2012, the electronic meters brought about numerous complaints that they malfunctioned often and were too complicated.

"They are time-consuming, they don't always work on the first time around, and when the weather is bad it's very inconvenient," said Salt Lake City resident Jen Hill.

The city went to work on trying to upgrade the system, and the kiosks were replaced with different models and a new operating system. Thursday, the city launched its new smart phone app as well.

“More and more people want technological options, and so a pay by phone technology is really important to get right," said Robin Hutcheson, who is a transportation director for Salt Lake City.

The app allows patrons to add time to their meter with the convenience of not having to physically return to the parking kiosk. The upgrade has resulted in fewer complaints than ever since launching the electronic system.

"That's a great idea; that sounds like a great solution," Hill said.

One of the advantages to the upgraded system is the merchant program, which makes it so merchants can pay for part of or all of a patron’s parking session.

“I think many will go to the mall because they know they will get validated parking, and they’ll just experience that food,” said Greg Fritz, who is the general manager of the restaurant Martine. “Now we’re hoping they’ll step outside of that box and come try some other things.”

Fritz said before the ParkSLC app, he’d see restaurant customers have to leave the table to go add money to their parking meter.

"We think this is just another way to try and help make it easier for people to come and enjoy our great food," he said.

City officials said the app and all the recent upgrades have added no additional costs to the original $4.3 million budget.

The ParkSLC app is a free download, click here for details.