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Confused By L.A.'s Parking Signs? There Might Soon Be An App For That

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You shouldn't need a PhD to figure out whether or not you're going to get a parking ticket, but any Angeleno with a car knows the agony of finally finding a spot—only to be met by a fully indecipherable medley of conflicting parking restriction signs. Well, if Councilman Mike Bonin has his way, there could soon be an app for that.Los Angeles City Council's Transportation Committee recommended yesterday that $1.1 million be set aside in the next fiscal year's budget for the first phase of a database of parking signs, also known as "Code the Curb," that could be used by app-makers or accessed by the public, according to City News Service.

As of now, parking regulations are identified through painted curbs and street signs, but no comprehensive database of which restrictions apply to which streets exists. Before a database can be created the city will need to inventory all of the public street curbs and signs, which won't be as simple as it sounds.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation estimates that there are more than 1 million parking signs posted around L.A., and the city would need to hire a contractor to go down every single street in the city to take picture's and record sign contents. An LADOT report estimates that completing the inventory and coding it will cost between $4.4 and $5.6 million. The department recommends funding it in phases over several years.

The $1.1 million necessary to complete the first phase of the project would come out of the Special Parking Revenue Fund, which is generated through parking-related fines. "Code the Curb" is one of 7 parking-related motions introduced by Councilman Bonin with input from a parking reform working group convened by Mayor Garcetti.

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The Los Angeles Parking Reform Working Group recommends that the city publicize the availability of coded curb information, which "will lead to the deployment of 'context-aware' applications," according to a city report.

Ultimately, app users could be able to enter the anticipated duration of their parking stay, the day of their stay, their preferred price, distance willing to walk to final destination, and whether or not they possess a disabled placard or preferential parking permit, and then receive input on whether traveling by another mode may be faster once ‘parking time’ is accounted for. Applications could also offer ancillary features, such as notifications for expiring meters or the start of parking restrictions, according to the report.

The Transportation Committee's recommendation will be considered by the City Council in April. City News Service reports that Mayor Garcetti has already expressed support. Connie Llanos, the Mayor's Press Secretary, issued a statement to LAist, saying "this program would allow us to have, for the first time, a better digital inventory of our parking restrictions across the city. With these resources, we can ensure that parking becomes a simple step in getting you to where you need to go rather than a burden."

We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Note: This post was updated to include a statement from Mayor Garcetti's press secretary.

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