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App Allows Garden State Plaza Shoppers To Reserve Parking Spaces

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Finding parking at local malls during the holiday season is not easy, but one shopping center in Paramus is using a new app to help shoppers reserve a space.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, the parking situation during the holidays can make for some heated moments.

"I've seen like yelling; some arguing," said shopper Mike Jung.

"I've seen people get out of their cars and literally fist-fight," said shopper Raquel Segarra.

But now, Westfield Garden State Plaza is making it easier for shoppers to put down their dukes and get a spot, using an app and reserved spots.

"You can reserve a space for within 15 minutes, or you can reserve it for up to six months in advance," said Lisa Herrmann, senior director of marketing for Westfield Garden State Plaza.

Right now, 33 spots near the mall entrance on the second floor of the parking deck are up for grabs via the app.

To get one, first you download the MyPark app and register. You choose what time and day you want the spot for, and you are assigned a numerical space. And then, once you are there and ready to park, you hit the "let me in" button and a gate comes down in the parking space.

But the app is not free. It costs $10 for four hours, and $5 for each additional hour. Still, for some, the cost may be worth it.

"Some shoppers don't like to valet. They prefer to keep their keys on them," Herrmann said. "It's close to the mall entrance, so shoppers, especially during the holiday season, have a lot of packages -- they can come back to their car and load it in their trunk and continue shopping."

Shopper Helen Florian said the fee would be worth it.

"The parking here is really outrageous. You can't find parking anywhere. You literally have to go outside the mall to park. It's crazy -- especially for the Christmastime," she said.

CBS2 noticed at least one last-minute shopper was not so last-minute with parking, and had already reserved a spot for Christmas Eve.

But others would rather take their chances.

"I'm not paying $10 to park," said shopper Kevin Price.

"just keep circling until I find something," Segarra said.

"I don't see why I should have to pay for parking," added Jung.

Garden State Plaza also offers free park-assist navigation in the parking decks. Follow the green lights and it will lead you to an open space – but don't be surprised to see a lot of red lights as the days in December go by.

The MyPark reserved parking spaces will be open year-round. Garden State Plaza does have more than 10,000 parking spaces in the shopping complex.

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