Google Maps Can Now Tell How Nightmarish Parking Will Be

A new feature makes it easier to decide, ’Should we just Uber?’

Trying to find parking in places like the Arts District, West Hollywood, or the beach is a fool’s errand; anyone in the know will tell you that. A new Google Maps feature—currently in Beta mode for the Android—will come to the rescue for even those not schooled in the parking ABCs of specific neighborhoods.

When asking for driving directions, the update now includes a circle with a “P” that’s colored either blue (oddly, not green) or red. If the parking is plentiful or decent an “Easy” or “Medium,” will be indicated near the blue dot. If it’s like trying to secure a spot at Bestia without valeting, you’ll see a red dot with “Limited” spelled out.

Sounds great, but there’s a pretty major hitch. The results look at the average number of available spots nearby, not the real-time situation. It’s especially concerning since the driving directions are updated with instant info, yet the parking isn’t. Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction, especially since circling for parking causes approximately 30 percent of congestion, according to research.

Speaking of innovation, two parking apps launched last year. SpotHero sells off unused spaces in garages and valet services, letting drivers reserve and remotely pay for their spot; much quicker than the old rigamarole. We’re also impressed with MyLucke, which TimeOut described as an Airbnb for parking, where homeowners allow parkers to utilize their driveways and garages; could be a goldmine for those folks living near the Forum or Rose Bowl.