Technology is casting a broader shadow over on-campus parking.
Lights indicating which spots in the stadium parking deck are open were recently added to make finding a spot more efficient.
The total cost of implementing the system in the stadium deck was about $181,277, according to Don Andrae, director of Transportation Services. That includes cameras, signage and installation costs.
When a light is red, it indicates there aren’t any spots available in that local area, and when it shines green, it signals there are open parking spots. Blue lights indicate that handicap accessible parking areas are located nearby.
Andrae said each light represents about four to six parking spots. The lights and cameras alone cost approximately $60,000.
As part of the project, there will be two signs at the entrances of the deck that will indicate how many open spots are in the deck.
The stadium deck is the only deck to have the lights system implemented as of now, but Parking Services will next be implementing a light system in the athletic deck and the north parking deck. Eventually, all decks will have the system.
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Implementing the system will cost approximately the same as it did to implement the lights inthe stadium deck. The north parking deck, however, will cost more because it has 300 more spots than the stadium deck.
“That one is even more important,” Andrae said. “You can imagine with 900 spaces and six floors, it would be very helpful to know where the spaces are.”
Andrae also mentioned that they are currently moving into another phase of updates that will move all of the lots located off Donahue to their parking app.
The AU Parking app shows the user, once they have selected their parking permit locations, what parking locations they are entitled to park at and how many parking spaces are available in those lots at a given moment.
“It lets the user know that there’s 1% availability in this lot, but there’s 60% availability in this lot,” Andrae said. “It gives you a recommendation of where to park, and then when you get to that lot, the app will show you exactly where the available spaces are.”
Andrae said the idea is to have people look at the app before they leave, so they know which lot or deck has availability.
Then, once the driver has gotten to the deck or lot, they will be able to look at the sign to know where the open spots are.
“We’re hoping it’s going to make it more efficient,” he said. “If somebody calls and says, ‘I can’t find a place to park in the stadium deck,’ we can say, ‘If you go to the third level on the right-hand side, there’s one right there.”
Parking spots will still be first come, first served, but Parking Services is looking into having a few spaces in each lot that can be reserved ahead of time.
“If you oversleep or you have a big exam, and you think ‘there is no way I can park in C Zone and get to my exam on time,’” Andrae said. “That’s what we have in mind for the use of these parking spots.”
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