Published on January 21st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
iPhone App Purports to Decode NYC’s Bizarre Parking Laws
When I was a child, my favorite movie was an adaptation of the book The Phantom Tollbooth, in which one of the first characters viewers meet is a random and authoritarian policeman who is part cart-like vehicle, if my 25-plus-years old memories are accurate.
As a college student living in Manhattan, the little half-cars of the NYPD always reminded me of Officer Short Shrift, and nowhere are common New York City ordinances more indecipherable than parking laws. It’s almost a given the laws are deliberately vague to drum up revenue, and no matter how skilled you are at getting a certain distance from curbs, signs, meters and other cars, if you street park in New York, you’re basically guaranteed two tickets a month.
But now there’s an app for that. One frustrated New Jersey resident, Michael Fasano, came up with the idea for the app when attempting to park in front of a Tribeca building. Fasano asked a doorman close by if the spot was legal, and the doorman was clueless. Fasano then realized the potential for a parking-centric app for the city’s regulations might be a big seller, and the app “Can I Park Here?” was born.
The New York Times reviews the app, and explains its functions thusly:
To check whether a spot is legal, you open it up and take a photograph of the sign. The app then tells you whether you can park there, for how long and, if relevant, on which side of the sign you need to be. If you decide to take the spot, you can tell the app you are parking. It then starts a timer and notes where you are, so you can find your way back to your car at the appropriate time.
However, per the Gray Lady, “Can I Park Here?” is awaiting some critical make-or-break GPS mapping, and it is as of yet unclear as to whether the app will work as well as it says it will. While a $2 investment in the parking app could lead to a false sense of security, it could also save you time circling and ultimately, a ticket that is- like everything else on the island of Manhattan- priced insanely high.
Have you managed to figure out how to park safely in the city? Do you see yourself using the “Can I Park Here?” app?