Imagine if instead of endlessly circling the block looking for a parking spot, you could somehow search for a space online, find one, and pay five bucks to secure it. That’s the idea behind StreetParkNYC, a Web app that entrepreneur Rufus Davis launched a few weeks ago.
It works like this: A parking spot seeker enters an address for the neighborhood in which he’s seeking a space as well as the time he’d like to find one; the program then returns search results showing fellow motorists who have let Streetparknyc.com know of their intent to vacate their parking spots around the time you hope to get one. If your search comes back with no hits, the app will ask you if you want to be more flexible about where and when you hope to park.
If the spot seeker does find a match, he agrees to pay $5 for the coordinates of the space; the person who has volunteered to give the space up in turn gets credits posted to his StreetParkNYC account.
In his article about the app, New York Times city critic Ariel Kaminer wonders whether a program like StreetParkNYC could reduce traffic congestion, since it would get circling space seekers off the roads faster. Kaminer asks, “could it make driving more pleasant? Would that, in turn, lead more people into cars? Could reducing congestion then have the effect of . . . increasing congestion? The mind reels.”
As the name of the app implies, it only covers the five boroughs of New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island – but the business model could no doubt be tested in cities with similar parking issues. And as founder Davis joked to Kaminer, the possibilities might involve” merging StreetParkNYC with a dating service: post your photo along with your parking spot and see what develops.”
Image source: Wikimedia Commons