App helps drivers find and reserve open parking spots
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As cities get more crowded, one question looms: Where do you put all the cars? There's more room than you might think and now there's an app to help you find it.
To see the breathless parking valets running around San Francisco's downtown Marriott hotel you might not guess it is one of the slowest times of the week. Though they expertly squeeze cars between pillars, putting small ones in small spaces, and big ones in big spaces but entire rows of spaces sit empty.
"We always have parking available for hotel guests," Towne Park District Manager Guy Purser said.
But they're not coming for hours. And meanwhile, the garage at the office building across the street is full.
So why can't the hotel rent out those empty spaces for just a few hours? Now they can.
ParkNow is a free app that calls itself the Expedia of parking. It offers drivers cheap rates on spaces that would otherwise sit empty -- as long as you agree to be out by a certain time.
ParkNow also has a green side. For one thing, it'll let you search for garages that have electric charging stations, and reserve one of them in advance.
And ParkNow's CEO says the average user books a spot 11 hours ahead of time which in theory cuts down on circling.
But perhaps the most interesting thing about ParkNow is who's paying for it. It's a joint venture between a few private investors and BMW.
"You look at any city and really, owning a car is one of the things you almost regret when you move to the city," ParkNow San Francisco manager Ry Sanderson said.
So as more Americans move to big cities, it's in a car company's best interest to take the headache out of owning a vehicle.
"BMW has been focused on trying to find ways to ease the stresses associated with mobility, particularly here in the US where our congestion issues are much more significant than other markets," ParkNow CEO Gary Neff said.
apps, technology, jonathan bloom
- Collapse feared at site of massive 5-alarm fire in SF 41 min ago
- FBI searching for Bay Area bombing suspect 10 min ago
- Lawmakers call for changes after refinery acid spill
- San Jose police officer facing rape charges
- Santa Cruz police arrest suspect in sexual assault 26 min ago
- Driver arrested after officer finds 128lbs of pot in van
- 49ers acquire Jonathan Martin from Dolphins
- Malaysian military says missing jet changed course
- Two students arrested for making dog drink beer
- Pedestrian hit by car in downtown San Francisco crosswalk
- Pavelski scores twice as Sharks beat Leafs 6-2
- roundup: Bay Area winds; Great Highway closure
- abcnews: 'The Bachelor' Finale Full Recap
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Wednesday
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos