This app wants to help crowdsource NYC street parking

Finding a parking spot in New York City requires fortitude, patience and plenty of luck. Even then, good luck squeezing your car into a space where it can live for more than 24 hours before a street sweeper (or ticket-wielding NYPD officer, or film crew eager to clear the block, or, well, you get it) forces your vehicle to relocate. Free parking is a painful process, with metered parking not much better. And unless you’re willing to shell out cash in the triple digits to store a car in a lot or garage, the street is your best option.

To make New York City street parking a little easier, a new social network is trying to encourage neighbors to share information about locally available parking spots. Street Parking Community (SPC) is a new, free app (available for ios and Andriod) designed to help locals navigate parking.

In the app, users can see available (green) or unavailable (red) spots nearby, intended to help prevent the constant block circling (and maybe some praying) that New Yorkers tend to do when they have to park a car. Once you’ve parked, the app will automatically mark your spot as unavailable and when you leave again, the app will know the spot is free. If location services freak you out, you can also mark the spot manually. Of course, the system isn’t flawless – if someone without the app swoops into an open spot promptly, you may feel bamboozled. But the more users who sign up to share user-generated data, the more accurate parking info can be. 

The app, designed to create a parking community, also keeps eco-friendliness in mind: If you find a spot quicker, you’re using less gas, which is always a good thing. Within the app, users can also flag if they’re planning to stay in the spot, or just hold it for 5 minutes or a longer duration of time. Users can also magnanimously share that they’re planning to leave within the half hour, should someone want to linger by the soon-to-open spot and show off their prompt parallel parking prowess. 

There are, of course, some safety concerns with sharing your car’s location with the entire neighborhood. Some users may prefer to sign up with an alias, and sharing your license plate is not necessary. 

With alternate side parking back to its pre-pandemic regularity (that’s twice a week, on most streets), outdoor dining huts still in full force, and New Yorkers relying on personal vehicles more than ever, a crowdsourced parking app may be just what we need to help solve our free parking woes. 

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