November 23, 2011
I’ve always been weary of parking in downtown Syracuse. The one-way streets and parking meters have always terrified me — it’s my driving luck to go the wrong way, or to park in a fire hydrant zone without noticing. I feel you have to leave 20 minutes early to find a parking spot, only to finally show up five minutes late.
So last week, when I was attempting to visit a Syracuse institution, I went around and around the surrounding five blocks trying to find a spot. In frustration, I tweeted“Why is parking in downtown #Syracuse so difficult?” I ended up missing my appointment entirely.
I went back to my office on James Street, and was surprised to see a response from @downtownSYR: “Check out our downtown parking brochure or download the Creative Core Connect app to make the process a bit easier!” Ecstatic that our local committee had created something so useful, I pulled out my smartphone and was anxious to see what it really had to offer. Which was, in all fairness, a business listing — the yellow pages in a cute, green app. It certainly left something to be desired.
I had hoped to see something more interactive, perhaps offering a map showing where parking meters are. Maybe reviews of parking areas, with helpful hints on how to get around.
That was what I had hoped to see. The app shows business listings in numerous categories for 15 central, western and northern New York counties. The categories ranged from animal care to hospitals, parking lots and listings of museums and art galleries. You can show a map and use your phone’s internal GPS to find one of the lots, which are also owned by businesses, and cost anywhere between $4 and $6 for the spot. I’m young, broke and live at home — I can spare $.75 for the meter, but cash money is hard to come by, especially at four bucks for an hour or less meeting. That’s an expensive habit to get on board with.
While I applaud the area for having an app that can be expanded, I urge locals to come up with a more interactive or user-friendly app that will truly assess the parking situation. With high-tech parking meters, it seems an app could be built-in off the meters’ system — how cool would it be to have an app that shows open on-street parking?
Amanda Seef is an editor/reporter at Eagle Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @AmandaSeef.