The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Parking Services designs app to ease on-campus parking woes

For anyone having trouble parking on Mississippi State University’s campus, the answer might be found at the push of a button.

Many students like Casie Mahalitc, senior business management major, agree finding a parking spot takes plenty of time and searching.

“You have to get here at least 30 minutes early to park at least, if not more. And it’s always ride around, ride around, ride around and you finally find somewhere,” Mahalitc said.

Some students such as senior business management major Bailey Ivey said is often only found at the expense of being tardy. Ivey said he frequently ends up being late for class with a ticket to add to his stress.

“A lot of times I’ll park in the dorms, and sometimes you’ll get tickets,” he said. “Sometimes, you know, 10 to 15 minutes I’ll look for a spot and then just sacrifice and be late for class. It’s unfortunate, but I’d rather be late than not go at all.”

Mike Harris, director of Parking Services, said his team is aware of the difficulties students face finding a place to park and has had a plan in the works for the past eight months to alleviate some of that stress.

MSU’s Parking Services now offers a new app for smartphone users to see which parking lots are full before they reach campus.

Harris said the app is an easy way to view any lot’s parking availability at any given time to know whether it is worth going into beforehand.

“The students appreciate it because they don’t waste their time going into a lot that’s already full, and it’ll basically steer you into a lot where there’s available parking, thus saving you time and frustration,” he said.

The app, Parker by Streetline, Inc., can be downloaded free by both iPhone and Android users. The app uses color-icons above a map of the lots on campus to show how many parking spots are available.

A green icon indicates plenty of spaces are available, blue indicates some spaces are available and red indicates the lot is full.

Harris said the parking lots are checked every 30 minutes by the same Parking Service ticketers who check for parking violations. They report back by radio every 30 minutes with the number of empty parking spots in each area.

Sean Pratt, marketing specialist for Streetline, Inc., said there are currently three options for updating the lots’ availability to the app. MSU uses the manual update.

“Using ParkEdge, a parking provider can add their facilities and then manually adjust the parking availability using the ParkEdge web portal,” Pratt said.

Parking Services previously launched a shuttle GPS app to help student transit on and off campus. According to Harris, with the use of the shuttle GPS app currently reaching anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 people per week, Parking Services expects to see similar interest in the Parker app soon, as well.

“That’s where they (students) get their information. We certainly want to embrace that as much as we can and become part of that because it’s all about creating that stability and advances and convenience of having those things right in your smartphone,” he said. “We want to take advantage of that as much as we can to give that information to our students in a way that they receive it.”

Parker does not limit users to Starkville, though. Once downloaded, the user can check parking availability in cities, parking garages, lots, airports and colleges all over the country. Harris said MSU Parking Services decided to give it a try after the positive feedback from other universities using it, such as Auburn.

Pratt said MSU is one of 10 universities using the app, but that number is expected to increase by 2013.

To download Parker, students can search the app store or scan the QR code on many of the parking meters found around campus.

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Parking Services designs app to ease on-campus parking woes