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Game Day Parking helps fans find open lots

Sarah McCarthy | Friday, September 21, 2012

South Bend residents Celeste and John Ross are working to make football gameday a more enjoyable experience for both football fans and local traffic.

Ross and her husband, a 2003 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, created the Game Day Parking App in 2011. The app allows iPhone users to directly access information on available parking spots during gamedays.

The couple thought of the app at the beginning of the football season last year when they went to Michigan State for a game, Celeste Ross said. As they drove around the parking lots in search of an empty spot, they noticed the parking seemed very restrictive.

“My husband … said, ‘It would be really nice as a guest if I knew where to go and where to park,’ ” Celeste Ross said. “That happened a couple of other times in a couple of other places and the result of that was thinking, “I wonder if there’s an app out there that … tells me where I could go for football parking.”After some research, they discovered there was no such app and decided to create their own, Celeste Ross said. The app is currently only available for iPhone users and can be accessed at Notre Dame, the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.

“With the goal of making the football gameday experience better for fans, you, through the app, can choose where you want to park around the stadium,” Celeste Ross said. “So if you are on the east side [of the stadium], the app will pull up all the non-reserved parking in that area.”

The app also allows users to factor in price and distance to the stadium when looking for a parking spot. It provides specific information on certain parking areas, such as how many parking spaces are available, how many restrooms there are and if tailgating is allowed.

“Once you decide where you want to go, [the app] will give you turn-by-turn directions from wherever you are to that parking space,” Celeste Ross said.

The couple hopes to expand their app to other smartphones, such as Droids, in the future, she said.

Although she and her husband themselves do not attend every Notre Dame football game throughout the season, the app is still useful when they have guests, Celeste Ross said.

“We have a lot of friends coming into to town who have always … asked, “Where do we park?” she said. “We were always drawing maps or trying to explain … but now we can direct them to this app and they have a choice of parking.”

For more information, visit www.gamedayparkingapp.com.

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