Can’t park? There’s an app for that
Former Dalhousie student, Christian Browne, has created an app for student parking after years of inconvenience.
November 13, 2013, 7:15 PM ADT
Last updated November 14, 2013, 11:05 AM ADT
Parking is pesky. Especially at Dalhousie University, where finding a spot is slim-to-none at any hour of the day.
Christian Browne had this problem every day for six years. He even said this problem made him late for class.
That’s when he had an idea: what if you could search for nearby parking spots, before you got to school? That’s when Park Halifax made its debut in Browne’s imagination.
He decided to make it a reality by entering the app4halifax contest, which is in affiliation with the Open Data Project.
The projects mission is to increase usage of resources to “improve citizen engagement and enhance transparency.”
The application is a community project, where the funds came out of Browne’s own pocket. He’s hoping for and expecting people to use it, since he knows he’s not the only student who finds it a struggle.
Nousha Saberi is in her fourth year at Dal and has this same problem.
She says the idea is long overdue.
“(Now we won’t) have to drive around looking for a spot, circling the same areas because you won’t have to park far. (Even) if you’re late you know where there is or isn’t parking so you can plan ahead better and have a better chance of finding a parking spot close to the building you want,” says Saberi.
She says the worst place to find parking is in front of the Killam Memorial Library.
“A lot of people park on the side parallel to the meters, which can result in a $100 ticket,” she says.
She’s speaking from experience.
Browne feels good that he can now prevent this recurring problem for students and wishes someone thought of the idea sooner.
He adds the purpose of Park Halifax is to make people aware of what parking is available to them in the vicinity. He says not only will this reduce pollution, but it will also “reduce congestion and eliminate the frustration that comes with searching for a parking spot.”
The inventor says people will be able to find parking spots with the best rates and hours by using the maps and directions through the GPS system on their phone.
“I saw a problem and made an attempt to create a solution,” says Browne.
The app will also be able to check up on the traffic in the area they’re going to and be notified of parking bans that are in action during the winter season.
He adds that Dal and University of King’s College students will be able to vote for their favourite app from Dec. 2 to Jan. 6.
The winner gets a cash prize of up to $5,000 for their idea.
Browne says he wants to advance the app in the future. He plans on creating a way for people to pay for their parking via mobile application.
Though, he has to wait until Halifax uses the new parking meter system that other big cities in Canada use in order to do that.