While he can’t drive just yet, a 15-year-old Winnipegger is making the search for a parking spot easier.
Grade 10 student Nazar Viznytsya, who was once selected as Winnipeg’s first "kid mayor," has created the website myparkingnumber.ca.
"It (seemed) like a very straightforward thing, like something that could actually help a lot of people," said Nazar, who attends Pembina Trails Early College in the mornings and Shaftesbury High School in the afternoons.
When a driver enters the website’s address into a browser, he or she is asked to allow the site to access his or her current location. After that information is given, the screen displays the five closest city parking pay stations. A click on each option reveals the site’s pay-by-phone zone number, price per hour and parking time limit, while a map shows where the stalls are located.
"If you go to the downtown, and you need to find the number for the pay-by-phone (zone for parking), and you don’t want to get out of your car, this is an application that would be able to do that," Nazar said.
While the site relies on a browser and doesn’t require a user to pay a fee or make a download, Nazar said its functions are similar to an app. He said the initial prototype took him about a day to develop, which he fine-tuned with the city over a two-month period.
Despite his young age, this is not Nazar’s first software creation. In Grade 7, he produced an app called "What is in your phone?," which explored the material contained in cellphones.
While he appears to have a talent for developing apps and websites, Nazar said his career interests aren’t limited to technology. He’s currently considering an undergraduate degree in software engineering, possibly followed by a law degree.
The project followed virtual sessions the City of Winnipeg held in the winter, through which it shared municipal data with students in the school division’s early college program, which teaches software development, web development and cyber security skills.
Andrew Burton, the city’s co-ordinator of data services, said the city challenged the students to devise creative apps to make the data more accessible.
"Literally, the next day… Nazar had a prototype and it was amazing," said Burton.
He said the city decided to promote the website to acknowledge his hard work.
"It was a bit eye-opening. The generation that’s coming up behind us, they’re quite capable," said Burton.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.