Ever pulled into the Market Square Garage on a Farmers’ Market Saturday, not 100 percent sure, as you follow a trail of vehicles and climb to the top, if an empty parking space awaits you?
The mild anxiety over garage parking space availability may soon be a thing of the past at City-owned garages downtown.
The City of Knoxville has contracted with Parking Logix, through the Public Building Authority, to install sensors in the Market Square Garage that count vehicles as they enter. Starting this week, large new marquees at the entrances to the Market Square Garage are reporting how many parking spaces are available.
Motorists will know before they pull into the garage whether it’s full or close to being full.
In fact, the infrastructure by Parking Logix allows real-time reporting on the Internet, so at some point in the future, if sensors are expanded to additional City-owned garages, someone pondering where to park could check on a smartphone before leaving the house and determine which City garages have the most available spaces.
The sensors cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to install in a garage, depending on the facility’s size, number of entrances and number of sensors required. (Installation in the Market Square Garage, with two entrances, cost just under $10,000.) Parking Logix says the sensors provide data that’s 99.5 percent accurate; however, the City is reviewing the system during a trial period, and the sensors could be removed at no cost if the City isn’t satisfied with how they perform.
More than 7,500 vehicles a day, on average, enter City-owned downtown garages.
If the sensors perform reliably and accurately as expected, the City plans to eventually install them in the Locust Street and State Street garages.