Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

A2 Parking Geeks

16. January 2009 • Nancy Shore
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If you haven’t already noticed, parking is a popular topic of conversation in Ann Arbor.

In addition to talking about parking, there are people in Ann Arbor who are creating ways to better understand parking availability in the downtown. Let’s call them A2 Parking Geeks.

Any A2 Parking Geek already knows about the real time parking data on the DDA website. This data shows you the number of available parking spaces in downtown parking structures, and is updated every minute.

This info has recently been used to create some other tools. These tools have been discussed in detail on the Ann Arbor Bi Bim Bop lunch email group (A2B3).

Patrick and Fred over at VoIP Tech Chat have created a phone service that you can call and get information on parking availability and weather updates over the phone.

The number is +1 (212) 937-7844 and press 6 (this is not a toll-free number).

From Fred: “You can select any garage and it features a notification option… the system will check every minute for you (for 30 minutes) and call you back if fewer than 10 spaces remain.”

Fred would love people’s feedback on this, so comment here.

Tyler has used the DDA parking data to create a page that shows you the percentage of availability in each parking structure and also lets you download parking data.

Local blogger (and creator of A2B3) Ed Vielmetti has even discussed creating a Twitter feed that would post parking data.

There are even former A2 Parking Geeks that have left Ann Arbor, but still like to talk parking. Arbor Update co-founder Rob Goodspeed recently posted his thoughts on parking in downtown Ann Arbor on his blog.

What will those A2 Parking Geeks think of next?



  1. FYI some DDA Board Members are interested in knowing if the tools being created would be useful to folks. So please provide your feedback here.


       —Nancy Shore    Jan. 16 '09 - 05:33PM    #
  2. Check out the Ann Arbor Chronicle for a really neat way of finding out about parking availibility. I tried it and it works.


       —Leah Gunn    Jan. 16 '09 - 06:00PM    #
  3. Thanks, Leah.
    I actually found out about the phone call parking availability from the Chronicle. The article that references it is here.


       —Nancy Shore    Jan. 16 '09 - 08:08PM    #
  4. Ann Arbor News story with photo

    For the record, I am not Parking Structure Dude!


       —Edward Vielmetti    Jan. 17 '09 - 12:25AM    #
  5. Looks like something happened to Tyler’s parking site last night. It now says:

    “Note: The automatic download of AADDA parking data stopped at approximately 5:30pm on 1/16/2009. This has apparently been caused by a change on the web server that serves the AADDA data, which now returns an error (403 Forbidden HTTP status code) for requests from the data harvesting script that is used by this site.”


       —Nancy    Jan. 17 '09 - 04:50PM    #
  6. Somebody needs to get in touch with Stephen Smith at Republic Parking.


       —Leah Gunn    Jan. 17 '09 - 05:50PM    #
  7. I’ve sent a note about Tyler’s issues to my contacts at the DDA; I’m hoping that something simple can be put into place to fix this.

    He works at the Michigan Tech Research Institute , a piece of Michigan Tech here in Ann Arbor. Remote sensing is what these guys do for a living.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Jan. 18 '09 - 05:53AM    #
  8. I have also sent an email to DDA requesting a discussion in regards to the blocked access, and wrote up a summary of what has transpired so far.

    In the meanwhile, I’ve started putting together a web page that works with the data that has already been harvested. It uses the IUI library (thanks Ed!) to mimic iPhone navigation in a web page. However, I don’t have an iPhone to test it out, so I’d appreciate feedback from anyone who can try it out.


       —Tyler Erickson    Jan. 19 '09 - 02:46AM    #