KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A new phone app now gives drivers a better idea of where to park in downtown Kirkwood, an area known for limited parking spaces.

Recently, the city partnered with local tech company Fybr to install 275 sensors in parking spaces around downtown. When a car is parked in a space, the sensors send that data to the "Park Kirkwood" app, allowing drivers to see which spots are open and those that are full.

"You don't have to go driving around and hunting down this parking spot, you can actually see with the app, where parking is available and where it is not available," said Brett Beringer of Fybr.

In doing so, Beringer says national studies the company has taken part in show increased compliance, lower emissions into the atmosphere and decreased congestion and traffic.

"Rather than say, 'it's always terrible I'm not going to go', you can say, 'now I'm going to go because I can find a place to park,'" he said.

The city will monitor the 24/7 data through the end of the year and it will make decisions as a result of that information in the years to come. Right now, the majority of parking spaces in downtown Kirkwood have posted time limits of two or three hours, but do not require a driver to pay.

The data will also be readily available to police officers, who can look at the map to determine where they want to prioritize their time, said Beringer. 

According to Donna Poe, the executive director of Downtown Kirkwood, the city's goal of the pilot program is not to write tickets for those discovered to be over their time limit. Rather, the city is looking at any trends the data may point to.

Mike Duffy, owner of Mike Duffy's Pub and Grill, said in more than 30 years in Kirkwood, he's always able to find a parking space close to his destination.

"I can always find a place that's within walking distance that you don't have to walk two blocks. I've never had to park more than a block away," he said.

In addition to street parking, the city offers several parking lots around the downtown area. While they're known to fill up fast, Duffy said spaces are around if you're willing to walk.

While the program will help with compliance and enforcement, Duffy said he's concerned too strict of enforcement could run off customers.

"If you want to come in here and sit for three hours because you're watching the cardinals game I want you to be able to do it," he said. "I don't want someone so worried about their parking space that they limit their time here."

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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