7 On Your Side

iPhone app helps avoid parking tickets

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We all know that San Francisco is short on parking spots and if you do find one, and overstay your welcome, you're bound to get a very pricey ticket. There is a new app out that should help curb some of those tickets.

Oh, the pain of getting a parking ticket. Most get one either because they didn't follow the rules or thought they would push it just a bit. Well in San Francisco pushing it can come with a high price tag. Street cleaning tickets are a huge revenue source in San Francisco with an average cost of $62.

Paul Rose is the spokesperson for the San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency."We issue about 500,000 parking tickets from street sweeping in San Francisco and that's the highest amount for any other citation in the city," he said.

That adds up to a lot of financial pain for residents.

"I'd say like $500, actually more than that because I got towed one time and that's $500 right there," San Francisco driver John Sheffield said.

"It's a nightmare, I get like two a month," said driver James Arcidiacono.

Parking is so tight people are just happy to find a spot, often ignoring posted signs.

"I get home at night, I'm like oh my god, you know, am I in a street cleaning spot?" Sheffield said.

Entrepreneurs Colin Sill and Pete Ryan, fed up with their own street cleaning tickets, came up with an app called ParkSmart.

ParkSmart is a simple app. It embeds free city data about street sweeping times in the city of San Francisco onto a map and for $0.99, anyone can download the app on an iPhone.

"You drop a pin to your location of the car and then you can set two alerts that alert you prior to when the street cleaning is going to happen," Ryan said.

The app is also useful to help keep track of where you parked your car and although it doesn't have data that tells you about your particular meter, you can use the timer to remind you when to feed the meter.

A few years ago the city of San Francisco released all sorts of parking information for developers to come up with ideas that would help make parking in the city easier.

"We're taking advantage of the innovation that's in the San Francisco Bay Area and to use that data to help us find solutions to some of the parking challenges that we have in the City," Rose said.

4,000 motorists have already downloaded ParkSmart, however City officials say they aren't worried about the loss of revenue because more people are now paying at the meter rather than paying fines.

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apps, parking, iphone, 7 on your side, michael finney
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