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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Crowded trailheads are a common sight along the Front Range, especially on the weekends. But would-be hikers usually don't know a parking lot is full until they show up. An app called 'Lot Spot' wants to change that by transmitting real-time information on seven parking lots within the Jefferson County Open Space system.
Jefferson County officials knew they needed to try something new, as rangers are constantly seeing cars that are parked illegally. One picture shows where a pickup truck made its own spot by parking on the side of a hill.
"They’ve parked illegally along the side here; they’ve parked along the highway and really put themselves in harm’s way to try to just get here to go for a hike," said Matt Robbins, the Community Connections Manager with Jefferson County Open Space.
Robbins believes it's the first time this kind of technology is being used to track parking for an open space. It works by using sensors to track cars driving in and out of the lot. Anyone with the app can check to see how many spots are still available. If the parking lot is full, the app can recommend the closest park with available spots.
There is also a function where users can report available spots that do not show up in the app.
"We want people to visit our parks but perhaps if the next wave of folks come in and know there’s no parking they can check the app and know just four miles up the road there’s another place for them to go," said Robbins.
Here's a list of parks that are part of the pilot program:
- Alderfer/Three Sisters Park
- Lair o' the Bear Park
- Mount Falcon Park
- Mount Galbraith Park
- White Ranch Park