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New app GarageHop hopes to end eternal hunt for parking

A new app is making it a little easier to park in downtown Seattle. (MyNorthwest file photo)

Searching for a parking spot in Seattle can take an excruciating amount of time. At any moment, numerous drivers are circling in an eternal hunt for the great open space.

But a new Seattle parking app is hoping to play matchmaker with those spots.

“I have a question about how these apps work,” said KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “How do you know that the parking spot that you’re sending the new guy to is going to be free? What if the guy decides to go home for lunch or take half a day off? Do they have to sign a contract saying: ‘I will be gone from eight in the morning to five at night.'”

Tom’s on the right track. GarageHop is a new Seattle-based startups that connects drivers with free spaces at residential buildings, according to the Seattle Times. The way it works is this: Drivers sign up online, pay an $80 monthly fee (320 quarters), and get access to unused Seattle parking spaces at multiple garages with contracted apartment buildings. The app actually unlocks the garage, which must feel pretty cool.

RELATED: Seattle council approves massive parking changes

The rotisserie-like search for parking is not merely a time issue. A study by IBM found that approximately 30 percent of traffic emissions in cities are a result of cars circling for parking. This is what prompted Helene Costa to create the app after she moved to Seattle from Paris, where she didn’t even own a car.

“We help building owners increase their property income substantially by using an asset that they are not using,” Costa told the Seattle Times. “On the other side, we’re helping Seattleites cut the frustrating time they have in their car when they’re looking for a parking space.”

Changes in parking legislation paved way for Seattle parking apps

Recent changes in Seattle parking regulations make it easier for apps like GarageHop to function. In April, the Seattle City Council passed legislation that gives tenants the option of refusing a parking space. That allows them to pay less for rent and additionally enables building owners to make parking available for public use.

At the moment, GarageHop only works with four residential buildings in Seattle and one in Kirkland. So if you happen to be endlessly circling in the vicinity of those five buildings, a parking spot may be on the horizon.

“The beauty of the parking spot is, it doesn’t move,” joked KIRO Radio’s John Curley. “You can get to it without it moving on you.”

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