VoicePark is new remedy for parking headache

The quest to reduce daily stressors is a buzz topic these days. And for good reason! There’s just way too much of it going on. So now… let’s talk about parking, shall we?

Parking in The City is an out and out nightmare. Up hills you go, round blocks, battling one-way streets, and on it goes. By the time you park the darn car you’re an anxious mess and no matter how early you left home you’re running late.

Helping people deal with parking stress led San Francisco psychotherapist David La Bua to write an insider’s guide to parking in San Francisco entitled “Finding the Sweet Spot.”

La Bua, like many was impressed with the tech behind recently-launched City pilot program SFPark. The system collects data in real time from sensors under the asphalt at nearly 20,000 metered parking spots, so it knows exactly what spaces are open.

As part of the program, SFMTA created a nifty iPhone app called, naturally, SFPark. As impressive as it is, it posed a potentially serious safety issue: To find an empty spot, you had to read a map while driving.

La Bua spotted the shortcoming and longed for more. “I thought, why don’t they make it so it tells you where there is available parking by voice, so you can just drive?” he wrote on 7×7.

After navigating the usual bureaucracy, he found SMFTA embraced his idea. To his delight and amazement he was invited to work on it. Now, his new app called VoicePark is available for the iPhone.

Just install and launch VoicePark and press the big green button. A computerized voice guides you to the closest available spot, with automatic updates every eight seconds if a closer space becomes available.

Soon 30,000 more spots will be added to SFPark. VoicePark expects to expand to more than 50 cities in 2012.

How’s that for less stress? Happy parking!