Downtown Austin Alliance pushes for parking fixes

AUSTIN, Texas — We've got smart phones and smart cars, now we could use a smarter parking strategy for downtown Austin.

That's the thinking behind a bunch of new recommendations to fix one of the city's biggest mobility issues.

The Downtown Austin Alliance hopes new ideas and integrating technology can make it easier to park downtown.

The group shared its parking strategy with the City of Austin's mobility committee on Wednesday.

The first of 19 recommendations is called performance based parking.

"Just like the hotels when you come to Austin during South by Southwest, they're going to be more expensive. So in your most popular spaces at your most popular times you could see prices go up," said parking strategy consultant Phil Olmstead.

The idea isn't meant to be a cash grab.

Like some of the other recommendations it's supposed to balance demand between nearby spots and alternative ones that may be empty.

"Performance based management isn't just about raising the prices but in the areas where you have lower demand you're actually thinking about lowering the prices," said Olmstead.

Integrating new technology, like a wayfinding system and smarter signage could play a big role as well.

The alliance says Austin is known around the world for its parking and mobility problems and says this could help solve the problem.

"We're getting constant inquiries from technology companies across the world asking if they can demonstrate their technology for us. So we believe the technology is out there picking the right solution is going to be important for us," said Downtown Austin Alliance CEO Dewitt Peart.

City leaders and the consultants agree there's no easy answer, and the fix won't come fast.

It's still be a while before we see these changes on the streets.

The next step calls for a Priority Action Team to be formed that can become a working group in 6 to 12 months.

To view the alliance's full report, visit here or read below.

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