Parking downtown? There’s gonna be an app for that!

This article originally appeared in The Shreveport Times.

September 2, 2016-

Imagine sitting in a meeting in downtown Shreveport that you can’t leave.

The meeting was supposed to last about an hour and a half, and you’ve paid for the two-hour maximum at your parking meter two blocks away.

Now, though, it doesn’t seem likely that you’re going to be out of there any time soon. All you can think about is whether you’re about to get a parking ticket.

If only there were a way to pay for an extension without running down to pump another handful of silver into the meter.

Well, that’s just what Shreveport’s Downtown Development Authority is working to do for everyone who uses the parking meters in downtown Shreveport.

The Passport parking app is in its last stages of preparation for Shreveport and should be ready for users within the next 30 to 45 days.

“The app is ready — we are having to do some prep in order to apply it to our particular downtown,” said parking administrator Lorenzo Lee, who has been with ShrevePark Parking Services — a division of DDA — since January 2014.

Lee is excited to be introducing Shreveport to the next wave in savvy technology for anyone parking downtown.

Although several potential software programs were reviewed, the DDA’s executive director Liz Swaine said Passport was by far the best.
“They just seemed to have it all together,” Swaine said, noting that Passport satisfied the DDA’s hope to find an app that would be easy to use.

Motorists will be able to use the app by programming their license plates and making payments directly from their phones. With new signage indicating parking zones downtown, app users will be able to pay for the the time and space to the specific zone in which their vehicle is parked.

Enforcement will keep track of who has paid through the app for parking, and users will be given an option to extend their parking time by paying for additional time without dashing out to pay curbside. Everything can be done through an app downloaded to your phone.

Preloaded accounts will have the fee of 10 cents per transaction, while users without the preload will pay 35 cents per transaction.

All revenue generated through parking fees will continue going to the city of Shreveport.

Once the app is up and running, there will be an initial trial period of 90 days downtown. During the trial period. the city and the DDA will determine whether to go into a long-term commitment with Passport.