Burlingame is working toward a solution to the crowded downtown area's parking shortage by working with a company that provides an app to map out available parking.
City officials are considering an agreement with The Streetline to implement the parking-app program in the community, which would cost $600,000 over five years, Department of Public Works Director Syed Murtuza said at a City Council meeting this month. Streetline is a company that manufactures hardware and software for parking management, Murtuza said.
The parking program agreement is still pending, as Streetline is working with potential sponsors to offer the service, Murtuza said.
“The program is very expensive, but the idea is to do it at no cost to the city,” Murtuza told the council.
Burlingame Avenue, a main thoroughfare in the city, already has smart parking meters installed, which allow drivers to pay for parking with either cash or card. By tracking sensors on the smart meters, the Streetline app allows users who are looking for available parking to identify where spaces are located in the area.
“The parking meters have sensors installed which show what parking usage and demand are and when spaces are available,” Murtuza explained.
“For example, if you want to go to Apple computers, it will show you all the parking lots in the area,” Murtuza continued. “Instead of driving around … it directs you toward available parking.”
People who want to use the app would download it onto their smartphones.
City officials have noted that the downtown Burlingame area has become more congested with auto and foot traffic since the revitalization of the Downtown Business Improvement District.
Kevin Folan, a South San Francisco resident who works in Burlingame, expressed that finding open parking spaces can be particularly challenging in the downtown area.
“It's gotten a little bit better now that the construction's done, but it's still not that great,” Folan described.
Murtuza said one contributing factor to the parking crunch is that the new downtown street improvements have created more room for people to walk along the avenue and there are a lot more attractions.
“Traditionally speaking, Burlingame Avenue has always been attractive for people to come … and so this creates a demand for parking,” Murtuza said. “Downtown Burlingame Avenue and the downtown district is a very popular destination.”
While Folan does not work solely in downtown Burlingame, he sometimes visits the area, and believes a parking app map would be a useful tool for motorists.
“For out-of-town people, especially commuters coming to work on Burlingame Avenue or people working at Pete's and other retail stores, I think the [app] would be really helpful to them,” Folan said.
There are 18 parking locations around the downtown area, according to the Burlingame Downtown Business Improvement District website.
Parking options in the downtown Burlingame area span from California Drive, near the Caltrain station, past Lorton Avenue, and include street parking and parking lots.
“We do have some parking spaces in the outer-lying lots where people can park away from the downtown area, and that's where educational efforts need to be made,” Murtuza said.