SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Council passed a contract to create new digital, real-time parking signs that will direct drivers to open parking spots and garages.

The contract, which was passed on Tuesday, February 13 adds more signs to help visitors and residents find parking. The signs will be connected to the city’s parking availability system and will be placed at freeway off-ramps to direct people just entering the city. They will also be set up near the Third Street Promenade, right in the heart of Santa Monica. The signs will direct drivers to open parking lots, a result that officials hope will lower the traffic and parking problems in Santa Monica.

According to a report sent to the city council, the “Downtown Real-Time Parking Signs Project” will “develop construction-ready plans, specifications, and estimates for real-time parking and traveler information signs for motorists traveling to Santa Monica’s Downtown parking garages adjacent to 2nd Street, 4th Street, and the Pier.”

There are already 21 digital parking signs in Santa Monica, but they are specific to beach parking. During the city council meeting, Mayor Ted Winterer noted that these signs had been “successful” at directing visitors to appropriate, open parking spots. They have reportedly reduced overall congestion in those areas as a result.

The new signs will be added to a total of 18 different streets, diverting drivers to seven different parking structures scattered throughout the city. All of the signs are expected to be complete and put up on the streets by spring 2019.

The signs will be used for parking as well, as for warnings or unique instructions for special events downtown.

The contract, which allots $105,000 over 3 years, was made with Transpo Group, Inc., for their engineering and design services. It is a part of the city’s Downtown Community Plan (DCP), which was approved in 2017 and includes different steps to improving Downtown Santa Monica.

The plan includes other ways to fix traffic problems as well, including tearing down old buildings from the 1970s in favor of more parking structures and apartment complexes. New underground structures are also included in the DCP.