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An app and a trolley: How parking in Hillcrest just got easier

SAN DIEGO -- Everybody loves Hillcrest but one of the chief complaints that business owners, neighborhood groups and community leaders in the area hear is about a lack of parking - whether it be perceived or real.

On Thursday, the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) and Uptown Community Parking District hosted a high-profile launch of ParkHillcrest, a program that has been created to make parking and getting around the neighborhood easier. The program includes a parking website and smart phone app, as well as a free neighborhood trolley shuttle.

Nearly 50 community leaders and civic officials gathered on University Avenue at Fifth Avenue Thursday afternoon for an event that introduced community members and media to the new programs, and showed off the Old Town Trolley Tours shuttles that have been contracted to shuttle people around Hillcrest.

The free trolley service began last night and will follow a route that starts on Normal Street at the Hillcrest DMV parking lot, and follows University Avenue to Fourth Avenue. It will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 pm.

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The trolley will also run on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm and provide service between the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Normal Street, and the San Diego Unified School District headquarters, providing an additional 300 parking spots for the market.

The ParkHillcrest website and smartphone application is designed to provide users with usable parking information for the neighborhood. ParkHillcrest.com contains friendly search features that gives users the ability to search parking locations - be it stalls, garages or lots - by price point, location, time and other factors.

To assist drivers on the move, the app which is available for both Android and iPhones, gives users access to information on nearby parking spots, garages and special tips while they are out and about.

The Uptown Community Parking District surveyed every available parking spot in the area to create the platforms.

Additionally, over 35 restaurants and retailers in the Hillcrest community have signed up to offer validation. These businesses are helping to alleviate the cost of parking by giving Hillcrest customers the ability to receive parking credits for visiting their establishments. To easily access this information, drivers can visit the ParkHillcrest website or app and search for businesses that offer validation.

Community members at yesterday's launch event were excited to hear from community leaders such as Council President Todd Gloria; Uptown Community Parking District director Ben Verdugo; and representatives from HBA.

Luke Terpstra of the Hillcrest Town Council said that he and several members of the Hillcrest Clean Team and other community leaders, such as Tim Gahagan, Nancy Moors, Bob Martinec, Ann Garwood, Michael Brennan, Jim WInsor and others hopped on the first trolley car last night and said they had a great time.

More information about the new ParkHillcrest services is HERE.