(Panchenks/Flickr)

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has told mobile app startup MonkeyParking, which auctions off public parking spaces in the city, that earning a profit on public on-street parking spots is illegal. Herrera is also demanding that Apple remove the mobile application from its app store. We’ll discuss the city attorney’s move, which also affects similar start-ups like Sweetch and ParkModo.

Guests:
Jesse Smith, chief assistant city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco
Daniel Shifrin, founder of ParkModo

  • Chemist150

    Public land. Public access. No profit should be made.

  • Ben Rawner

    The people of SF already hate tech people and this is just one more way that startup fever is sickening the city. If they actually succeeded, imagine how much it would be to park in the city. Greedy tech people completely ignoring the law and all they are out for is for themselves.

    • Brad

      “The people of SF” — lol! Most of the alleged “hate” of tech people is expressed online or by a group of isolated protestors. I’ve been here 12 years and have yet to experience anything quite as dramatic and all-encompassing as comment boards would leave one to believe.

      • jamiebronson

        People are generally more polite in person than on a message board. The hatred of tech is quite palpable in some quarters of SF but not all.

        • Brad

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion; I’m just sick of people assuming that their opinion represents the entire city.

          • jamiebronson

            That’s called life on planet earth; it has nothing to do with San Francisco.

          • Brad

            I smell a troll.

          • jamiebronson

            Nope. Just older and wiser than you.

  • Another Mike

    Police Code Section 63 covers Obstructions on Streets and Sidewalks. Is a parked car an obstruction on the street? If not, how is this code section relevant?

    Further, Section 63 prohibits any agreement for use of the street, even without compensation. If Section 63 covered parking spaces, then I could go to jail for asking a parked driver if he was going to leave, and he said “Sure.”

  • jamiebronson

    Auctioning off parking places is a digital version of the homeless guy who is saving a spot but will “sell” it to you for a price. Disgusting.

  • The design or possible benefits of the app are irrelevant. This business model is illegitimate. No person may sell a license to use public property.

    • Another Mike

      If I put 20 quarters into a meter, then the city gives me a license to park at the curb for one hour. Why shouldn’t another motorist be able to give me $20 as an incentive to leave my space early?

      • The license is not your property. You may not lease it to others. (Entering a space with time left on the meter? Merely overlooked by the enforcement people.)

        • Another Mike

          I accept that the license from the city is not transferable. Absent a cash incentive to leave early, I merely want to get my parking meter’s money’s worth.

          Were the city to charge twice for the same time at the curb, would be of course unjust and unethical,

  • Lance

    MonkeyParking would be legal, and more to the spirit of helping if there wasn’t a bidding feature in the app. I love tech, but this is just profiteering from public property.

  • Deb McNeil

    How can you auction (for profit) something you don’t own??? Something in fact, that WE own!!!!

  • jamiebronson

    Colony Economics? Indeed. Caller was spot on. Stop calling it the sharing economy. There is no sharing it’s renting.

  • William Bishop

    It’s a public parking space. What happens if someone sells the spot and in the interim another person comes along first? The “seller” has no right to sell the spot, and the “buyer” has no recourse. You’re selling something that’s not yours, and if I see an empty spot, I’m taking it, and if they get mad because they think they own it, tough luck.

    • Mrs. Eccentric

      it’s called a con job.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    My mind is continually boggled by these tech people willing to ignore any law and sense of common courtesy and the public good in order to make a buck. I have to say that Mr. Shifrin is not making much of an argument for these services, especially as he conveniently and consistently leaves out the money-making part of the app. For pitys’ sake.

  • Kai

    Parking is a zero sum game. If one person “efficiently” gets a space someone else didn’t get that space. This won’t stop people circling the block.

  • James Clarke

    If these companies want to help, they can come up with a system (in cooperation with the City) that keeps track of available spaces in real-time. That would make some real sense and be legal. Re-selling spots is what we’re talking about here, don’t be disingenuous – this is not about just selling information. The City owns the spots and the spots can’t be “sub-let”.

  • Brad

    In my experience people are always searching for that secret (free) parking space. If only they would head straight to the parking garages, which are by and large under utilized.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    I do not have a smart phone, I have a cheap phone phone. I should not have to buy a piece of tech to use public property I already pay taxes for. The City is running to “aps” more and more as though the economic divide does not exist.

  • Kathryn

    When I was in Lecce, Italy my friend and I would drive around the public square and look for parking. We pulled up into one and a guy appeared from behind a tree ‘guiding’ us into a parking spot. My Italian friend told me this was typical of the mafia in the south. This could really get out of hand. Computers are already being used to reserve and auction dinnner reservations. The shifts and competition in this city is easily becoming yet another thing for exploitation. Wait until we are short on water and food. It’s coming.

  • Daniel

    This is public land. How do you create equitable sharing of parking spaces when some people don’t have the apps or have a smartphone?

    • Fay Nissenbaum

      Thank you. I am even sick of the word, “ap” !

  • Instead of shutting these guys down, why doesn’t the city just take a cut of the revenue. What is so hard to understand this. Win win for everybody.

    • MNTaylor

      Because it’s not about money. It’s about protecting a public good.

      • Another Mike

        When it comes to gouging motorists for the right to occupy a space at the curb, the government reserves that power for itself.

    • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

      Maybe a good idea, but how exactly would the City collect this money? There would be lawsuits costing the City–which is Us–personnel to hire. I mean, how on earth would the City go about actually “taking a cut” of a private business? Shut these profiteers down, I say. Profiting from common human needs is nothing new, but Shifrin’s self-aggrandizing defense adds another layer of cynicism and greed.

      • Another Mike

        The same way as SF charges taxicabs to for the right to operate on their streets.

  • The founder’s naiveté is alarming. He is clearly unaware or unwilling to deal with the simple fact that his business plan is illigitamte and what he’s doing is clearly illegal. It’s unfortunate that people like him are attached to and associate themselves with the tech industry. Makes people like myself, who works in tech, cringe.

    • JuniorWoodpecker

      “Makes people like myself, who works in tech, cringe.” –It figures that you “works” in tech–too bad you don’t works a little harder on your English

      • Robert Thomas

        I believe you dropped a punctuation mark.

      • You also could have used an actual em dash (—) instead of two hyphens (–). Didn’t realize we were here to discuss my grammar and syntax. I presume it’s b/c I works in tech tho…

  • Billtron

    So is it now okay to use your phone while driving?

    I’m sorry, but looking at a phone or messing around with an app while searching for spaces in a conjested area with high traffic does not sound like a good idea.

    You need to be focused on bike traffic, pedestrians, other cars, and whatever else a busy street throws at you.

  • Guest

    Hard to see how a bunch of people using their phones to find a parking space while driving is going to make anything safer for pedestrians and other drivers.

  • Ben Rawner

    This zipcar guy is such a self righteous mule. How many people get hit while circling the block where are the numbers. His rational is sophomoric at best. It increases the cost because now we have to pay for access to the information. Zipcar makes a ton of cash, that’s the reason this guy started it, not because it helps he environment. He won’t be helping anybody but himself to lots of money. I cant wait til the first fist fight breaks out between a driver and someone who was waiting.

    • Billtron

      Totally. He’s a blowhard

    • Stella

      “I SINGLE-HANDEDLY reduced carbon emissions and cars in this city!!!!!” WHAT HAVE YOU ALL DONE?!?!?! what a douche.

    • Robert Thomas

      I understand that people don’t like self-congratulation.

      If someone thinks up a product or a service to offer to other people in return for money, is it unreasonable that he or she may also conclude that the product offered will benefit people who use it, at least, and possibly benefit the community in which the user resides? Whether Mr Shifrin’s service would result in such wider benefit is another question.

      I think anyone who is in business to make money selling cars may conclude that an improvement in their product’s efficiency is a good thing not only for their customer, but for the wider community. They may legitimately conclude this, whether or not they emphasize it in their advertising.

  • William Lynn

    Mr. Shifrin should pay attention to what the citizens of San Francisco are saying: we do not want your app (or other apps that purport to offer the same kind of “service”). Your app and your kind are not welcomed in our city. Please just take that graciously and maybe come up with another app to address other real social issues.

  • Sean Dennehy

    Mr Shifrin refuses to address the point of people already waiting for a spot. If I’m waiting for a spot that’s about to be vacated and someone else shows up who apparently “paid” for the spot, there’s going to be a problem.

    • Another Mike

      People waiting for a street space are blocking traffic, and should be ticketed.

    • Robert Thomas

      I think this already happens, right? If someone “conventionally” sees a free spot and maneuvers toward it, the spot may yet be taken by someone else first.

      It seems to me that what the person vacating the spot is offering is information about his or her intention to act at a certain time and place.

      I suspect that Shifrin’s response is merely that someone negotiating for the departure information is buying a higher probability that the spot will be available at the time and place indicated; if someone else wins the spot (who’s not using the service) by way of serendipity, then the buyer loses. Perhaps the buyer gets a refund; perhaps not. This wasn’t explained.

      Describing what the service is actually intended to entail wasn’t a priority in the short discussion.

  • $2870056

    This is selling information that creates a “reservation” in a private, commercial, business transaction for a public parking space.

    Mr. Shifrin (ParkModo, a private business)? Besides been belligerent in making his statements on a public radio program, does little to support his cause for profiting off a public good.

  • …and I live and work in SoMa. Finding a parking spot is not nearly as hard as the supporters of ParkModo are making it out to be. 5 minutes tops.

    • Billtron

      Straight up. I travel to SOMA twice a day sometimes and do just fine.

      People need to get a grip and learn how to drive in the city.

  • Kai

    Sensors don’t work because by the time people get there the space is gone? Of course, because it wasn’t being wasted by a squatter looking to make a profit. Mr. Shifrin’s motive is obvious and it’s not the enviroment…

  • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

    Mr Shifrin deserves a prize in the Disingenuous category. He talks about his “business model” and about his so-called altruism. This is about making money and nothing else. Shifrin’s claim that this is all about his altruism, “helping” San Francisco in everything from stopping pedestrian deaths to cleaning up the air is so self-serving it’s ludicrous.

  • monsterearthquake

    It would be nice to hear a city official looking for ways to work with innovators to solve problems. Instead, every time someone comes up with an idea that receives a lot of support from the public, city officials throw up their arms and complain it’s illegal to do this or that. Using smartphone to assist with parking sounds like brilliant idea to me. How about if city official start looking into ways to work with some of these service providers to improve an the very frustrating parking situation in San Francisco?

    • jamiebronson

      “receives a lot of support from the public.” Have you read the comments here? Zero support.

      • Brad

        Zero? I’m not sure a KQED comment board is an accurate representation of the population at large, but even here there are people who use and value “tech products” on a daily basis, though clearly not this app in particular.

        • jamiebronson
        • Lance

          This is not an innovation that resolves the problem. In no way does it increase parking or reduce traffic into the city. These apps only create a community divide for those with the resources to play in this sub-market.

          • Lavinia

            It would reduce traffic by more efficient allocation and organization of public parking spots.

    • Dino

      I hardly call this app “innovative” since other apps have been doing this for privately owned parking spaces for years. The only difference here is that public parking has all of a sudden become “regulated” by companies that simply developed parking software, which all of a sudden makes this kind of “regulation” possible.

      How about I create an app that monetizes public restrooms and auctions their use to those willing to pay? Currently, most public restrooms are free, generally in high demand, and therefore undervalued. Using MonkeyParking’s logic, that means people need to pay, and preference should be given to those willing to pay. Right? How’s THAT for “innovation”? Of course, I wouldn’t be responsible in any way for the cleaning and upkeep of those restrooms.

      By the way, if someone were to physically stand in public parking space, holding it hostage until the highest bidder pays up, would you still call that “innovative” or would you call the person doing this an a-hole?

  • Lavinia

    The key question is: Is there actually anyHOLDING of parking spots until the buyer arrives? Or do people post then leave and happen to get paid for the info?

  • Eros A. De Brawn

    Mr. Shifrin has some lovely rhetoric. What a saint he is magically fixing the environment and how evil are the city officials who don’t care about the City they run. It’s easy to cast arguments as either us or them. How do the app solve the problem of first come first served? If Mr. Shifrin’s goals are so noble, why doesn’t he work with the city. Market forces? Money?

    • Lavinia

      And then what? Ban entrepreneurs?

      • Eros A. De Brawn

        Why ban entrepreneurs? I didn’t claim we should do away with tech innovation. Or making money for that matter. I just find Shifrin’s attempt to polarize the issue by turning it into an us/them issue fascinating.

    • Robert Thomas

      Neither the host nor attorney Smith asked the obvious question that arises from a simple analysis of Shifrin’s brief explanation of the service: How is the total parking-search time of the area served reduced? If users of the service are statistically more successful reducing their search time, total search time goes down only if those not using the service give up and take action not requiring a parking spot. If most do not give up, they may yield to pressure to use the service or to use a competing service. If enough people (including tourists and other occasional visitors) use such services, the success of each user will be reduced and the services will seem less valuable.

      More careful analysis may suggest some other likelihood.

  • Another Mike

    Trading spots as the caller mentions would violate Police Code Section 63 according to the City Attorney’s interpretation, as an agreement to use the public street even without compensation.

    She confessed — arrest her.

    • William Lynn

      SOL has run…I’m sure.

  • Lavinia

    And the “techie” bias is ridiculous.

    • Billtron

      Does that mean you feel ‘techie’ is being used a slant that you disagree with or that you feel that it is wrong that being a techie grants you an advantage.

      I lean more toward the later.

      • Lavinia

        The fact that the creator and/or user is a “techie” is irrelevant. Yet, it’s being used in this discussion as if it connotes self-important, privileged, entitled elitist a displacing “the citizens of San Francisco. Make a point and don’t try to attack an entire industry of employees–it undermines the value of one’s argument and the entire discussion.

        • Billtron

          okay. so you feel the term is being used as a slant.

          thx

  • Billtron

    I’m listening to this guy from park Moto/ Zipcar. Every time he opens his mouth, all I hear is him being defensive.

    Just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you’re right bro;)

  • Patricia

    It would be nice if everything weren’t always auctioned to the highest bidder. Would be nice if civic sense vs profit motive started to drive public policy.

    • Another Mike

      Too late. Depending on demand, that space at the curb will cost you between $0.25 and a whopping $7.00 an hour, thanks to the SFMTA.

      • Lavinia

        On Sundays and holidays too!!!

  • Brad

    One is reminded of MTA’s failures as they pull the tunnel digging equipment out of the ground in North Beach. These constant parking debates would be greatly helped if MTA would build a reliable public transit system.

    • Another Mike

      Buses could navigate the streets more easily, if no one was blocking a lane waiting for a parked car to leave its space.

      • jamiebronson

        It would be great if money grew on trees and lollipops out of the ground. You and what army are going to be out ticketing every person who is waiting for a parking space? The answer is for buses to have their own lane that can’t be accessed by cars.

        • Another Mike

          Ban street parking altogether, in that case, because buses need to reach the curb to pickup and discharge passengers.

          • jamiebronson

            Yeah, that would be great for local small business owners. Amazon would love that. The method I mentioned is actually going to be implemented all the way down Geary in the Richmond district. Also along International Blvd in the East Bay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

          • Another Mike

            Geary is about the only E-W street wide enough to give up two lanes exclusively to buses.

      • Brad

        LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! I bike every day, so I’m perfectly aware of “blocked lanes” (more often bike lanes). This is NOT a new phenomenon.

    • jamiebronson

      Muni is $10BB under funded

      • Brad

        You’re right — a quality transit system can’t possibly be built (or even maintained, it would seem) with the existing budget. It would require a significant investment — likely in the form of bonds.

  • Stella

    I’ve been using an app called spoton parking which allows home owners or businesses to rent their spots that they OWN. Been renting for a couple months now and I no longer have to look for parking when I get home for more than 45 minutes! yay! and if this parkmodo guy was so keen on reducing carbon emissions and cars in our city, he wouldn’t let people sell their spots but offer it for free. That might be something that could be useful.

    • Another Mike

      I can’t imagine how this would work in SF, unless you park in people’s garages.

      • Stella

        I have been parking in the lot of a business near my house that the business is renting when they are closed

  • kathrynfk

    The argument that these parking apps are good for the environment is totally bogus. It assumes that people will drive no matter how hard it is to find parking. Sure, if you are going to drive no matter what, it’s better, environmentally, not to have to circle looking for a spot. But in reality, if you’re going somewhere that it’s hard to park, you’ll probably decide to take public transit instead. Every time I go downtown, to SOMA, to Hayes Valley, etc I think about how long it will take to drive there, plus how long it will take to park, and I take the bus.

  • Nikolai

    It is “techy” who are guilty in invention the car to start from, and thus creating the parking problem! Let’s go back to stone age, no parking issues there!!

  • Robert Paul

    Mr. Shifrin insists on an incentive model to make this idea work. But why use money as an incentive, especially since that instantly makes this activity illegal? This could be adapted to use an in-app “social currency” based on user trustworthiness and reputation. Such a model has worked to incentivize meaningful participation across many social media platforms.

    • Another Mike

      Police Code Section 63 says that compensation is not an element of the crime.

  • Ranu Mukherjee

    Please let’s not let more public resources be privatized and let’s not add to the intensity of parking. Parking spaces are PUBLIC…. we already pay for them by paying our taxes. They are there for everyone, not just those with smart phones. There are so few resources left that are accessible across the economic spectrum- we should be working towards increasing that gap, not the opposite.

    • Another Mike

      It helps to have a credit card, unless you carry roll after roll of quarters with you.

      • Ranu Mukherjee

        That is just another example of the problem, not the solution.

  • Selostaja

    Allow us to park in our own driveways in the evenings! I work a late shift and the usual spots are already taken. When I park in my driveway, my car is in the street no farther than a parked car and is on the sidewalk only as far as the tree in the front of my house. I do not block pedestrians, yet this is illegal. This is just another way for the city to bleed us dry,

    • Another Mike

      This would be an unambiguous violation of Police Code Section 63, Obstruction of both the street and the sidewalk.

      • Selostaja

        I am not denying it is a violation of an existing law, I disagree with the purpose of the law if the obstruction obstructs nothing. Thank you for the section number but if I needed to know it, I could look at the citation.

    • Lavinia

      I too would appreciate driveway parking but I also see the inherent risk to obstructing the sidewalk in any way. Imagine a neighborhood fire. Where will people wait when they exit their buildings?

  • Nikolai

    I wander, when SF city officials understand that solving the problem needs more than fighting with the folk who try to solves the problem. SF have a taxi cab crisis and fight with Pink Mustache. SF have an apartment crisis and fight with VRBO. Also helps to prohibit new construction without public housing. Now SF have a parking crisis and find new culprit. Of course, as soon as all these greedy techs will be out of business all problem will be automatically solved. My question to SF officials: when you win all the fight above, from who’s taxes you will get your salaries and pensions?

    • Another Mike

      SF already regulates cars that pickup and discharge passengers on the street, and people who offer travellers a place to sleep for a few nights. These apps simply enable private citizens a way to break these laws, while raking off a healthy commission for themselves.

  • momacat

    Good intention, wrong business model. It’s one thing to exchange information about parking availability, but to auction isn’t the right approach. ParkModo should revise the app.

  • sd

    If there was no money involved in this app then it would have been perfectly fine as information is free and sharing it should be free. But when you are trying to sell/auction free information for tax paid public properties, it is close to black marketing and is 100% illegal. If it was free information, 5 people might have come to same spot and it would go to first person based on first come first serve bases. But when there is a money transaction involved, one of those 5 people would think he owns that space because he paid for it but in reality, it is still public space and should go to first person who came there – just simply wrong.

    Don’t get me wrong, i live in silicon valley and use and love all the innovations coming out of the valley and how they have made my life easier but we really need to stop selling our products or these apps as “solution for saving world problems”! When this Monkey Parking guy says he is doing this to “help environment’ or ” reduce deaths” or “fix traffic issues”, everyone who heard him can tell that is bunch of BS and big buzz words for marketing. People might look at the app differently if he just be honest and say that he is selling information for money.

    • Lavinia

      Apparently, There is no auction occurring. People post when they are leaving. People buy the info. Users are not supposed to hold the parking place. I’m downloading and going to use the app starting today.

    • Robert Thomas

      I don’t think I heard anyone connected to MonkeyParking speak on this program.

  • Robert Thomas

    I’m not surprised to read vehement comments on the subject.

    Somehow, listening to the broadcast, I got the impression that ParkModo is in fact NOT MonkeyParking and does not involve an auction mechanism. Commenters here inform me that it does. Which is true?

    In fact, I missed the explanation of the actual way in which ParkModo is intended to work (is it already working?). I got the impression from Mr Shifrin that

    1) after getting permission to use the service somehow (fee?), I then announce my intention to vacate a parking location (using GPS coordinates?).
    2) If someone bites, I log a fee for myself?
    3) If on the other hand, I notice (through what amounts to a “club” buliten board) an offered spot, I show up at the indicated location at the indicated time I have merely a better chance of scoring the spot; if someone is poised ahead of me to take the spot (having just got lucky, rather than using the service), I lose. Maybe I win more often on average by using the service.

    I really don’t understand. Can someone who knows, set me straight on this?

  • forcryinoutloud

    These app developers “believe” they’re right. So it must be true – right? WRONG.
    The arrogance. They think they know better. So what if they’re breaking the law – Their response usually is that “we’re making the world a better place”. Besides, they claim, the law being broken doesn’t make sense anymore. They’d like to replace it with a law that supports their twisted, self serving logic.
    Forget the Tea Party –
    What’s more frightening is the prospect that these people might one day be running our country.

    • Lavinia

      Oooooh app developers!!!

  • Michael Owen

    Daniel Shifrin, really last time you checked constitution? You are now an expert on constitution? Guess what people in SF drive smart cars / electric cars so no pollution. Stop your nonsense about you caring for environment.

  • steve

    ParkModo’s Mr. Shifrin sounded cocky from the start and increasingly defensive throughout the program. The qualities of your idea that you find so appealing may be just what makes your idea so difficult for others to accept. Galileo was certainly proud of his contributions in proving the sun was at the center of the solar system, but his hubris, and lack of interest in explaining it in terms palatable to the Church, made him and his theory unpopular. Your own frustration made your position less appealing, making it much less likely others will sign on. That, and the elitist aspects of the “service” are straight up cringeworthy.

    • Robert Thomas

      I agree that Mr Shifrin’s comportment was lacking. Do you really think that however appealing or unappealing he seemed to listeners here, his performance will sway those inclined to use the service? Do you think that “cringeworthy elitism” will dissuade those same?

  • Captain Janks

    A perspective that hasn’t been mentioned yet:

    Essentially, what these startups are doing is capitalizing on a fundamental shortage of a scarce public resource, parking. In some areas (maybe not SOMA, but definitely the Mission and similarly congested parts of SF) demand for parking far exceeds the supply of spaces, so some people are willing to pay more for something that’s currently either free or underpriced – a meterless space or a cheap metered space. Right now, value is being wasted because the spaces stay free or cheap, and tons of people end up circling forever in search of the tiny number of spaces that become available. It’s a classic shortage. ParkModo and others (their PR nonsense notwithstanding) remedy this shortage by capturing that wasted value for themselves, allowing people to pay the market-efficient price for the space and giving their users a cut of the profit. Wrongfully, I hasten to add, because the space in question doesn’t belong to them, but to the public. This market is immoral, but it’s a mistake to pretend that this market for “free” parking doesn’t exist.

    Thus the answer to this problem is not to beat our fists against the pavement and scream about having already paid for parking via our tax dollars. It’s for the city to swallow hard and price parking efficiently itself. In areas where demand for parking is most intense, SFMTA needs to convert a ton of meterless spaces to meters (Smart Meters where possible), jack up the price of existing meters, and think about substantial (but targeted) increases in the price of residential permits. Clearly, a parking permit of only $100 or so a year is a massive windfall bargain for residents in some parts of town, who are only making the problem worse by taking up spaces in congested areas.

    This will ensure that parking is efficiently priced and distributed, raise lots more money that can be used to fund transit improvements, and – most happily – like an economic judo master, use the market to drive these apps out of business, because no one will want to pay them on the side anymore once the parking spaces in question cost the same amount of money they are willing to pay for them. The money these apps are making belongs to the people of SF, and pricing parking correctly is the way for the public to keep this money for themselves, rather than bleed it to startups and private drivers.

    • Another Mike

      The price of an hour at a meter already runs from $0.25 to $7, depending on demand.

      • Captain Janks

        Not at every meter; only at smart meters around downtown and a handful of other areas. Much of the Mission, Richmond, Lower Haight, and other highly congested areas have either underpriced fixed-price meters, or meterless residential permit parking that is driving much of the demand for spaces. Time to bring the downtown model to other parts of the city which are experiencing parking shortages.

        Here’s the MTA’s meter map (PDF): http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/maps/ParkingMeters_Citywide_052014.pdf . I believe the variable-priced meters are only in Area 5 (downtown and environs). The pricing for the other areas, I think, varies somewhat by meter location (that’s why there’s a range of hourly rates), but not by demand/time of day/etc. The Mission looks particularly egregiously unmetered despite its being in the pilot area. People constantly search Guerrero, South Van Ness, etc. in search of an unmetered space.

  • Robert Thomas

    In the jurisdiction, if I call my roommate and offer her five dollars to tell me exactly when and where she’ll be vacating a parking spot near our shared residence this evening and she accepts my offer, is this an illegal act? Which of us will have committed the offense? Will both of us have committed an offense?

    Does this mean that it can be an offense for my roommate to offer me information in exchange for money about her intention to act in a certain way at a certain place and time?

    Are there directly comparable prohibitions? Maybe I’m not permitted to sell information about my intention to take some financial actions, for example. Aren’t such prohibitions contingent on my specific agreement to be entrusted in some way? What general legal idea or reasoning prohibits the transaction above between my roommate and me?

  • Dino

    That 30% figure sounds like a load of horse manure. I listen to these self-rightous idiots and I can only feel disgusted by them.

  • Dino

    By the way, Haystack Mobile has also launched, and it is now live in Baltimore, MD. Unfortunately, Baltimore’s Mayor and City Council seem to be in full support of what Haystack doing, despite the fact that it’s illegal.

  • johnqeniac

    Shifrin’s attitude is freaking annoying. An angry, shrill, annoying guy. Definitely an a–h— , despite his repeated claims to be the greatest human in the history of the Universe. In response to Krasny’s question about whether it isn’t simply another mechanism for the rich to screw the poor, he said that when someone buys a slot on auction he can then turn around and auction the same slot to the next guy, so that it turns out it’s all free. He claims it’s a completely free service, not a business at all. Uh-huh…right. Sounds like another ponzy scheme. I viscerally dislike this guy.

  • johnqeniac

    Again, I would be impressed if Shifrin wrote an app (except he probably doesn’t actually know how to program) for scheduling parking in advance and gave it to the city free of charge instead of trying make a bundle off a bad problem. He flippantly claims that it is mathematically impossible for a public app to provide the same service without the motivation of greed, but I just don’t believe the guy. Something about him is just repellant.

  • Aksel Kargård Olsen

    Sounds like MonkeyParking is monkey business. The altruistic and larger-than-life goals of Mr Shifrin notwithstanding, parking takes a long time in North Beach on a Saturday not because the perfect app is missing. It take a long time because a lot of people want to go. An app DOES NOT produce more supply. It is musical chairs.

    • Another Mike

      Much easier to park in North Beach than, for example, the Richmond.

  • tbatts666

    A lot of people are concerned about the high charges for public parking.

    We all pay for parking, even if we don’t have a car. We pay to park in higher costs of goods and services for everything else, just not in our role as a driver. We pay for parking when we buy bread.

    Apples are good, but that doesn’t mean they should be free. There is a huge demand for free parking, just as there would be a huge demand for free apples is they were free! Parking is good, but that doesn’t mean it should be free. In many places the rent for our cars is capped by government regulation, but rent for places to live skyrocket… people go homeless, but cars always have a place to stay.

    We worry about poor people not being able to afford a place to store their car, but we really don’t care if they can afford a place to live.

    So we subsidize driving, and the results aren’t good. We circle blocks cruising for free spots! We flatten large public spaces into parking lots. We spread our cities out to satisfy the demand for free parking.

    It’s estimated that the subsidy for parking in the United States rivals that of Medicare or national defense. **I am taking some of this information from Donald Shoup’s book*

    Mr Schifrin does come off as kind of a jerk. Our government has failed to manage parking demand so we can actually get a spot when we need it. And we got sub-optimal solutions like Mr Schifrin’s app when the city fails to manage parking. The failure is in our leaders to come up with better solutions. We all feel very personal things about parking…. We are used to underpaying for parking.

  • monsterearthquake

    My observations have to do with the reaction and response of city officials, not with the particular claims of folks who promote this idea. I live about 30 minutes from San Francisco by car and the most convenient and least expensive way to get to the city is by car, especially if we are going in a group. However, finding parking is always a a challenge. In addition, parking enforcement in SF is both aggressive and very expensive. And so, as a frequent visitor to San Francisco – a city that I happen to love, I can attest that I have received nothing tangible for the hundreds of dollars I have paid the city of San Francisco over the years in parking fees and fines. Nothing. My parking dollars are not building infrastructure or contributing in any significant way to my visits to San Francisco. They are simply maintain a Status Quo that isn’t working and help pay salaries of city employees.

    Finding sensible ways to manage the limited parking space available in SF is a very good idea. If the city offered a service that takes advantage of available technology to reduce the amount of time and inconvenience of trying to find a parking spot in the city, maybe something along the lines of what some of these companies are already doing, everybody wins.

    Complaining about technology and technology companies is not only pointless, but a futile undertaking as well. Whether you have a smart phone or not, or no phone at all, makes no difference. At the end of the day, we are all not only using technology, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading or writing anything here, but in this day and age, our very livelihoods depend on it. There is no going back. Large affluent metropolitan areas must take advantage of technology to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

  • monsterearthquake

    As I said, I would like to hear city officials have a more open mind to new ideas and use technology to figure out ways to fix not only this problem, but many others. This recalcitrant attitude is what bothers me. The first thing I hear these guys say every time is how illegal this or that is. How about if the city provided an app that helped drivers find a parking spot, through which you paid the parking fees as well? Why not? Imagine the money the city could save by not having to maintain all those parking meters. I would certainly pay a fee to the city for that service. Maybe they could hire you to develop that app.

  • SJRES

    Daniel Shifrin may extol the virtues of Zipcar but he failed to mention (even though Michael could barely stop him from talking) that this is where the seeds were planted for his mission of using public assets for private gain.

    Zipcar occupies many formerly public parking spaces in San Jose – permanently! When I first saw this, the first thing that came to mind was – hey, that used to be a public parking spot. Now it’s turned over to a private company.

    This broadcast should be saved in the Hall of Fame. Daniel Shifrin gets the DDDD award: Most Dislikeable, worst Demeanor, most easy to Disagree with, and best job doing a Disservice to his cause, of any guest in recent memory.

    • I agree. He did not serve himself well. He very clumsily set himself up as a target. It was a strong negative lesson for students of mass communication.

      • jamiebronson

        True, but he has done more to eliminate carbon from the atmosphere than anyone else in San Francisco. I fell out of my chair laughing when I heard him say that. I just realized that this is the same tool that produced the blight on our culture called Auto Wraps. Where a car gets entirely wrapped with an advertisement. Genius.

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