Parking Authority to develop online space reservation program

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The Pittsburgh Parking Authority today voted to begin development of an online parking space reservation system and to add a pay-by-phone feature to recently installed multi-space parking meter devices.

The authority said the projects are designed to enhance revenues and customer service.

The board voted to spend up to $35,000 to develop the on-line reservation program, which would debut sometime next year. It would allow motorists to reserve and purchase spaces in six Downtown garages: Mellon Square, Smithfield Street/Liberty Avenue, Fort Duquesne Boulevard/Sixth Street, Oliver Avenue, First Avenue and Grant Street Transportation Center.

Right now, motorists may reserve spaces in authority-owned and privately-owned garages through a program run by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. But the authority said its program will have more features, such as allowing motorists to gain access to garages with the credit card they use to make the reservation. The credit card would be charged when the driver uses it again to exit the garage.

The authority also is planning more changes for drivers who park at on-street meters and metered lots in various neighborhoods.

David Onorato, the authority's executive director, said workers have installed nearly 560 multi-space metering devices in about a dozen neighborhoods. The machines, which accept quarters or credit cards, replaced about 3,000 single-space meters, which accepted only quarters. The machines are on streets and in neighborhood lots.

Now, Mr. Onorato said, he wants to take the meter modernization program a step farther by allowing motorists to pay for those spaces by phone. The authority voted to solicit proposals from vendors.

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