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City of San Luis Obispo launches app to make parking more convenient

City of San Luis Obispo launches mobile phone app to make parking more convenient.
The Honk App allows users to make parking payments from their phones instead of doing at a pay station.
Posted at 7:48 PM, Oct 22, 2021

The City of San Luis Obispo launched an app called "Honk" so drivers can skip pay stations and instead pay from a mobile device.

This is an effort to make parking more convenient for residents and visitors.

However, just finding an available spot around downtown is quite challenging.

“We have to leave at least 30-40 minutes before to find parking depending on what area we are staying in,” says Jasmin Molina, who frequents Downtown San Luis Obispo.

Drivers have to go through a check list in order to pay at a parking station.

“I’ll take a picture of the license because I can’t remember my own license plate and then go to the paying spot,” explained Funke Somotun, who came to visit her son who studies at Cal Poly.

The City of San Luis Obispo launched the Honk app to make parking a little easier.

“People can find a spot, park, pay and then extend their stay,” said Whitney Szentesi, Public Communications Manager at the City of San Luis Obispo. “They’ll get a notification to let them know that their time is about to run out, and they can extend.”

Drivers can download the app for free and will need to have a credit card to create an account.

“It’d be a lot easier to use the app than looking for pay stations,” said Jocelyn Lozano, who plans to download the app.

Some residents are still hesitant in adding another app to their phones.

“If you’re not computer smart or app smart, you know setting up and then you have to put a credit card,” said Jolene Barbosa, who works in Downtown San Luis Obispo.

The Honk app has another feature.

“The mobile app will help people find less expensive places to park in downtown especially for street parking where rates can vary from $1.25 an hour to $2 an hour,” added Szentesi.

Paying for parking is a daily struggle for workers.

“When I work during the day, I end up leaving my car at home and walking because parking is horrible, I can’t find parking and then, they raised the prices,” said Barbosa.

For longer stays in Downtown San Luis Obispo, the city recommends using parking structures.

"We have three parking structures, it’s a lot cheaper, the first hour is free, and the daily max is $6," explained Szentesi.

The parking app is just an option. Those interested in making payments at pay stations are welcome to do so.

In the next couple of weeks, the city will have access to three other parking apps: Park Smarter, ParkMobile and PayByPhone, which are widely used across the state, the Central Coast and Cal Poly.