By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure has been awarded a $100,000 grant to help design and implement a strategy to improve curbside pickup for short-term parking to help restaurants and small businesses.

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DOMI has been working with local restaurants and small businesses along with other community and business leaders to help create a strategy to utilize sidewalks, on-street parking, and streets to assist the businesses in being able to adapt to best health practices during the pandemic.

With more businesses offering curbside and takeout services, these small businesses and communities have said they need to develop a more efficient parking system to make those services work better.

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The funding comes from Automotus, a tech company that focuses on mobility solutions and the project will pilot short-term parking zones that would operate similar to loading zones. They would have time limits and allow those picking up food to park closer to the restaurant.

The hope is this solution would provide faster, consistent customer turnover for these businesses.

Automotus will offer technology that uses license plate reading camera on nearby utility poles and those cameras will track the amount of time the vehicle is parked in the loading zone, charging them by the minute rather than requiring the driver to pay for a larger amount of time when they go to pick up an order.

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DOMI and Automous are hoping to launch the pilot zones in mid-2021 and will consult with business leaders, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, restaurant owners, and food delivery services to determine where these locations will be and how billing will take place.