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App For City Centre Parking

Manchester goes digital for automobile spaces on mobiles

Published on March 25th 2013.

App For City Centre Parking

MOTORISTS will soon be able to find vacant parking spaces in Manchester city centre using their mobile phones.

The sensors are being placed in 200 bays but if the trial is successful, the system could be extended to other parts of the city centre.

Manchester City Council is testing technology, used in American cities, with electronic sensors placed in parking bays in the Northern Quarter and Chinatown areas.

In what will be the first major trial for a UK city, motorists will be able to download a mobile phone app which will enable them to see in real time which bays are available.

The free Parker app, available for iPhones and Android devices, can also act as a sat nav directing motorists to the nearest available bay and is voice-activated so can be used while driving.

The app, which recently won an innovation award at an award ceremony in Barcelona, will also be linked to the City Council’s existing pay by phone system.

Meanwhile, it will also enable parking bosses to see detailed information about which bays are being used at what times, and for how long.

The City Council, along with its contractor NSL, is working with US-based company Streetline to trial the new system, which is currently being used successfully in cities such as Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York.

The company is providing the equipment free of charge for the six- month trial set to start in March.

The sensors are being placed in 200 bays but if the trial is successful, the system could be extended to other parts of the city centre.

 Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, said: “This technology has proved very successful in US
cities, where it has been welcomed by both businesses and motorists who say it has made finding parking spaces much easier and reduced the need for people to drive around looking for available bays. I believe motorists coming into Manchester to shop, eat in restaurants or go to the theatre will find it just as useful."  

The sensors will be placed in bays on the following streets: King Street, George Street, Faulkner Street, Charlotte Street, Nicholas Street, Princess Street, Tib Street, Thomas Street, Turner Street, Spear Street, Hilton Street, Stevenson Square and Newton Street.

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

David FoxMarch 25th 2013.

That's ironic- when its £5.40 to park for 2 f*****g hours and there's loads of spaces apart from say 5 hours per week max.

Jonathan SchofieldMarch 25th 2013.

So it's not working for city centre businesses do you reckon David?

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

If you live in a major city you don't need a car. #anticarculture

1 Response: Reply To This...
StephMarch 25th 2013.

Except if you work out of the city, have visitors who need to park or want to buy food at decent prices.

avoMarch 25th 2013.

Yep, David is right. Since the increase in prices coupled with the longer times which the charges are in place, there are plenty of parking spaces free all day in Manchester. The council have been successful in driving people away from the city centre to areas with free parking.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Cj ThompsonMarch 25th 2013.

Agreed, its hardly ever a problem finding a parking meter these days, I assume its due to the ever increasing cost and the reduction in the hours where you can park for free. Afraid its driven me to The Trafford Centre on many ocassions.

Simon BoothMarch 25th 2013.

Too true - the Council solved the parking problem overnight when they increased the charges and the times till 8pm 7 days a week.

I was caught at 6.45pm on a Sunday - blissfully unaware of the new rules - which were not signed anywhere. A £35 lesson.

And where do the Council think the cars are going? Straight to the TC, of course.


Send them off to Strangeways Brewery to organise a party - that will confuse them.....

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

What is it with Mcr Confidential's obsession with parking?

So boring. Promote public transport for once instead.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

Encouraging mobile phone use whilst driving, whatever next.

Steven AshleyMarch 25th 2013.

The actually don't need these sensor in the city centre now because all of the shops are closing and in any case people, including me, no longer go to Manchester because of the rip off car parking charges. Why spend money on sensors instead of removing most of the unnecessary yellow lines. Save on paint, save on sensors, save on traffic wardens

Dennis MasseyMarch 25th 2013.

The crap Metrolink is enough to drive anybody into their cars (see what I did there!!)

crisbyMarch 25th 2013.

I don't buy this 'parking charges driving people away'. Shops are struggling because of the recession or because landlords in places like King Street haven't made their rents more competitive to meet the challenge of Spinningfields.

I visit Leeds and Liverpool regularly and parking seems to be little cheaper there, if at all. Driving into the centre for an evening out, one advantage is it's much easier to get a space around 7.30-7.45 pm - with a minimal fee to pay until 8 - than it used to be. But as with so many motorists, the glass seems to be half empty for a lot of people. (Don't know where you live Dennis, but for us the East Mcr line has been pretty good so far, when it eventually got running.)

Simon, it simply isn't true that the car parking changes weren't signed anywhere. There were notices all over the place for weeks.

David FoxMarch 25th 2013.

Most events/shows/gigs start in Manchester city centre between 7pm and 8pm. I would like to have a bit to eat/take in the city before the show. I do not have the luxury of living close to public transport that reliably works after 10pm. I am not a gas guzzling facist - infact I cycle to work and read the Guardian. I do not earn a large income. I would like to take advantage of some of the great restaurants in town. I hear Tampopo does a 2 course £8.95 menu. In order to get to my show in good time I need to be at the venue at 7pm. That means I need to get to my restaurant of choice by 5:45pm to get served in an hour which leaves me 15 minutes to walk to the venue. This means that I cannot pay £5:40 to park for 2 hours at a meter as I will get a parking ticket. I can however park at an NCP car park and pay £8:40 for 5 hours. Sod it I'll have a bowl of pasta at home.

David FoxMarch 25th 2013.

I am Italian family living in Northenden. We have two small children and I would like to go in and "fare la bella figura" in Mcr city centre on a Sunday. Something I enjoy doing in my home town of Turin. Just chill out, maybe grab a coffee, do a bit of shopping, grab a bite to eat. I have heard there's a lot to do in Mcr. I get the bus to work every day of the week. Its a Sunday. I know its a bit naughty, but its my day off and I would like to drive. It is also easier with small kids. Most people drive into Turin on a Sunday. It a bit chaotic - cars parked all over the place, but I'm Italian and I like it. Here in Manchester I can't pay £5:40 to park at a meter as I would like to spend a few hours in town. The kids are small so I am not keen in parking on the edge of town. What its going to cots more than £8 to park! Sod it - I'm off the to Trafford Centre.

David FoxMarch 25th 2013.

Don't get me wrong. I love public transport and I am a Mcr public transport evangelist. Its just the timing of charges. The Sunday charges and the daily 8pm finishes are to me plain wrong.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

Before we go on NCB sent me this tonight: I do not know how usuable it is.

Please find below the night rates.

High Street (Arndale) valid from 5pm – 05:00am

Bridgewater Hall valid from 18:00pm – 06:00

Gmex Upper and Lower - £5.00 valid from 18:00 – 23:59

Sackville Street – valid from 18:00 – 06:00

To qualify for the tariff your vehicle has to enter within the time periods stated otherwise you will not receive the rate.

There is a day rate as well but you must be there before 8.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2013.

Sorry I meant NCP

ps I think automobiles need cell(phone)s in the headline

Jill JillianMarch 26th 2013.

Isn't it funny how ManCon has gone quiet on the parking issue since NCP started contributing to its bank account

AnonymousMarch 26th 2013.

If it is they do a bad job for NCP: see my note above.

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