New Website Helps Drivers Find Legal Street Parking in Manhattan

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Like many other vehicle owners, computer programmer Mike Hill used to drive slowly through streets at night, reading parking signs and looking for a valid, empty spot to park near his apartment.

Like many other vehicle owners, computer programmer Mike Hill used to drive slowly through streets at night, reading parking signs and looking for a valid, empty spot to park near his apartment.

Hill got tired of circling his East Village neighborhood nearly every night for one year looking for valid parking spaces for his motorcycle and his wife's car. In June, he decided to create a computer program to help him find the best places to look for parking. After three months, primospot.com and m.primospot.com were born. Both websites are free and allow people to find the best spots within an area for street parking.

Here's how it works: Type in http://www.primospot.com and a Google-powered map will appear with color-coded markers on it. Green markers indicate spots that have the longest amount of time before they run out, yellow markers mark spots with two days or more before they run out and red markers indicate spots that are valid for less than 24 hours. If you click on the markers, signs pop up showing what the actual street signs say. For example, a red marker on the east side of Essex Street between Houston and Stanton Streets could indicate "9h 24m left," and when the marker is clicked, two signs pop up that say "Metered parking 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. except Sun" and "No parking 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Mon thru Fri."

To pull up the parking data you want, type in an address in the search box. The program can pull up parking data within 0.1, 0.2, 0.5 or 1 mile from the address. If you are in a vehicle away from your computer, you can use a cell phone and the m.primospot.com site ("m" for mobile) to access the same data. The program will prompt you to type in an address and then list approximately 40 local street parking areas and the amount of time left in them. If you click on "Show top ten best times for this address" at the bottom of the page, the program will list the top 10 parking areas with the longest amount of valid time.

"I started using the program the first week after I created it," Hill said. "I had it up and running enough to add data, but I only put in data for my neighborhood."

"For a long time I was trying to think of an idea for a site, something that had not already been done," he said. "When I started with the parking thing, it hit me that this is a need that has not already been filled and I decided to do it and follow through with it."

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