Local parking app will find open spaces for you - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local parking app will find open spaces for you

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  One local entrepreneur is matching drivers with available parking spots.
    
The creator of ParkParrot gives Channel 3 a first look at the technology that could soon be available only to us here in Chattanooga.
    
"Most other parking apps just show you where they're located, maybe a price," Burke said, "But this one shows you what spaces are open specifically so you're not just driving around looking for an open space."

As a Cleveland native and UTC commuter student, Chandler Burke was always late to class. He said parking spots were always hard to find.
    
So his senior year he created ParkParrot to cruise the block for him.

"I thought it would be an incredible time saver," Burke said, "Save me a lot of hassle if I could be, you know, just guided to that open space instead of driving around."
    
Here's how it works: Sensors in a parking node will detect if a spot is free or taken and send a signal to the ParkParrot servers. The more nodes in parking lots around town, the more complete the app will be to guide users.
    
Users will see it all in real-time. The sensors update every second.

"In the long term this could be put in any parking lot, it could be put on street parking, it could be put anywhere," Burke said.
    
Burke used investment money to make a large-scale prototype but needs more funding for a beta test this spring.
    
If all that goes well the app could launch city-wide.

"If I can't get the funding," Burke said, "Then it's probably not going to happen."
    
Members of city council say downtown parking is already scarce.
    
The council approved a proposal this week for 174 new apartment units but only if it included plans for more parking.

"Particularly downtown there's a great need," said District 9 Councilman Yusuf Hakeem, "A lot of apartments are coming online, if we look at the units that are being built on ML King or Riverside Drive ."
    
With a growing city but limited parking, Burke says Chattanooga is the perfect place to launch his new technology.

"I just feel like people in Chattanooga are really open to things changing and new technology and bettering their city," Burke said, "And this is something that is moving toward a smart city."

Burke created a kickstarter campaign to help raise the remaining $75,000 needed to launch the app. He hopes the free app/website will be available this summer.


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