RENO, NV - There's a parking lot in front of Junkees Clothing Store, and the owner says she's lucky.
Too often, she says, other business owners in the area complain the two-hour parking limit in the neighborhood isn't being enforced, and they are missing out on additional customers.
“On a business to make it, you've got to turn it and burn it. So the 2-hour parking is perfect to get a sandwich, a coffee, or to go into a dress shop,” says Jessica Schneider of Junkees.
But sometimes cars can be parked up to 8 hours, and it might even be a local business's employee.
Enter Siemens technology, which along with the city has started a pilot program that monitors parking spaces with the help of wireless network sensors.
Already installed, they for now will collect real time data on the cars parked, and with the help of a free "Parker" Smartphone app, allow drivers to locate open spaces throughout the neighborhood.
“You pull this up and every single space is occupied. You have your passenger doing it while you drive, you'll see as spaces become open because it's real data,” says Larry Hillman with Siemens.
For now, Hillman says this is only a fact-finding endeavor.
But certainly there are other applications that may or may not be implemented by the city.
Could parking enforcement be plugged into the system ready to issue a ticket?
While not yet available, there is a way to pay parking via mobile phone.
Can the driver just do a modern-day feed-the-meter?
Schneider says she doesn't want to see meters ultimately installed here...but we couldn't help but notice the parking spaces are already identified with numbers--much like metered parking on other downtown streets.
Both Siemens and the city stress the 4-month pilot project is just that.
No decision will be made about what to do with Midtown parking until all the information is collected with the help of the newly-installed sensors.