Detroit launches new parking app to help visitors locate, prepay for spaces

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — The city of Detroit has a new parking app that makes it easier for residents and visitors to identify spaces and compare pricing.

The latest version of the ParkDetroit app, which launched Thursday, also allows visitors to prepay for parking in garages and some off-street lots. Existing users must delete and redownload the app from their Apple or GooglePlay store. Parking in Detroit is free until city offices reopen Jan. 4.

The app can check parking availability in public and private garages, surface lots and on-street metered parking. The map interface will continue to use parking zones, but also allows users to zoom in and pinpoint a specific spot to check and compare pricing by the block, city officials said in a Thursday news release.

“It’s important for us to match our world-class city with a world-class parking app,” said Keith Hutchings, director of the city’s municipal parking department. “We must continue to push the envelope to ensure today’s sophisticated consumers have the means to make their lives easier, and we believe the revised ParkDetroit app does that.”

Once parking is prepaid, the app generates a QR code which visitors would then use to scan to gain access to the garage or parking lot.

The app also includes a list of events happening in the city and visitors can check for available parking using the name of the event or the venue in which the event is taking place. If a visitor forgets their parking location after the event, the app can guide them back to their vehicle using turn-by-turn navigation.

Residents without a smartphone can reserve and prepay for parking using the website. Ticket fines for improper parking in the city remain $45.

The upgrade is the first of three phases in the works for the app, the city said. 

Future upgrades include a multi-modal transportation options and a merchant discount program expected to be added in early 2022.

The city first revamped its parking system in 2015 by rolling out an app that gave drivers more options to pay for spots in metered zones by using technology tied to their license plates.

Prior to that, it was reported that about half of the city's 3,000-plus, on-street meters didn't operate properly.