Easing the Park Slope Parking Crunch? There’s No App for That

All About Fifth, the blog of Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue BID, posted a plug today for Roadify, one of several emerging applications that hope to help drivers find parking through the use of mobile devices.

"Roadify is still in its infancy," reads AAF, "but any idea that will help to ease parking and traffic (caused by people
driving around in circles looking for a spot) is welcomed."

Setting aside the dubious notion of encouraging drivers to keep watch on their cellphones while careening through the neighborhood, if the Fifth Ave BID is serious about parking relief, it should stop grasping at straws and get behind reality-based methods like performance parking, which are
designed to increase turnover by implementing variable meter rates. DOT is already experimenting with its PARK Smart program in the Slope — over the strenuous objection of the BID — with plans to expand in the coming year.

Of course, who wants to waste time weighing actual solutions when it’s so easy to condemn the nearest bike lane.

  • Car Free Nation

    And now there are munimeters being put in. Think of all the pricing options we’ll have in Park Slope now…

  • Boris

    The app will probably succeed in evening out the flow of traffic and eliminating certain chokepoints by suggesting non-obvious routes and parking areas. Because of that, the overall amount of driving will probably increase as people realize that formerly congested streets are clear. This will make it yet harder to find parking and lead to all-encompassing LA-style congestion instead of congestion just at certain narrow spots.

  • I can see everyone wanting to check this app when looking for a spot, but who is honestly going to remember/take the time to mark a spot when they’re pulling out?

  • Thank God for the First Amendment, because it allows ill-informed people to blog at will. Mr. Aaron’s post was a sad departure from Streetsblog’s high standards. To set the record straight: the Fifth Avenue BID did not oppose ParkSMART – quite the opposite; it was a key part of a joint effort between the community and DOT to get it going. The Fifth Avenue BID was joined by the Park Slope Civic Council, the Park Slope Chamber of Commerce, and Community Board Six. The community got ParkSMART, and is getting MuniMeters, in no small measure because of the BID’s support. And as for “sniping about bike lanes,” that’s exactly what Mr. Aaron did. The fact that some people – not just merchants and not just motorists – think the Fifth Avenue bike lane is a bad idea hardly makes the BID a dark force in the community.

    Streetsblog makes a valuable contribution to the community and to the push toward livable streets and sensible transportation. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t engage in smears that can’t be backed up and that could alienate people who might actually be allies.

    Michael Cairl and Lauri Schindler
    Trustees, Park Slope Civic Council

  • No one said that the BID or All About Fifth endorsed the idea. It’s interesting. That’s all.

  • zach

    Though it falls here on deaf ears, I once again suggest that in order to keep drivers from freaking out at the idea of reduced or more expensive street parking, we couple it with increased and reduced fee parking lot spaces. Parking lots are ugly and potential attractions for crime, but telling drivers their spots will be moved, rather than removed, would reduce opposition to reduced road space for parking. When drivers come to 5th avenue and head directly for the parking lot, rather than driving around for street parking, everyone wins.

  • Michael and Lauri: Apologies. What I should have said was that the BID opposed raising Park Smart meter rates on Fifth, leading DOT to abandon plans to do so.

    While I don’t see that All About Fifth explicitly stated a position, it’s pretty clear that it, too, was against a rate increase.

  • Brad- All About Fifth was not against a rate increase. We reported that the BID was for the initial increase, which is still in effect today. All About Fifth was reporting that some merchants were concerned about the effects off increasing it even further to $3 per hour (the second phase). A lot were complaining that customers were coming in the stores angry and many customers were asking for quarters for the meters. Luckily, that will change with the MUNI Meters. We are not your enemy. Why not ask for a quote or clarification from us before making us look evil?

  • As far as Roadify goes, we know that many people don’t think through the implications of driving “improvements.” So it’s understandable that All About Fifth’s first reaction would be “wow, cool!” But I hope that they understand now what a bad idea it would be.

    With regard to Park Smart, it’s pretty clear that these bloggers have been at best leaning against it and unconsciously sabotaging it (emphasis in the original):

    So, what’s your opinion? Frustrated with the higher meter rates? Glad the rates are going up so that you can park along 5th and 7th Avenues? Let us know in the comments, below.

    Even better, if you are not happy with the rates, please don’t share your opinion with the area’s merchants, CALL 311. DOT is measuring the number of complaints that the Park Smart program is logging through 311 and so far, they haven’t heard a single complaint. If you want to have your voice heard on this issue, call!

    So, if you’re against it, call 311 and make your voice heard! If you’re for it, don’t bother calling, just leave something in the comments to this blog, where no one will look at it after a few days!

    We’re talking about Park Slope, people. If there were no parking anywhere on Fifth, all the businesses would do just fine.

    Oh, and Zach? Your idea is not “falling on deaf ears.” It’s just a really bad idea.

  • Mr. Aaron – apology accepted. What a number of merchants opposed was raising rates beyond the initial ParkSMART rate of $1.50. There was no unanimity of sentiment on that but in the end DOT kept it at $1.50. The data from ParkSMART are to be released this month and they should show that even at $1.50 there was increased availability of parking.

    As for Roadify, personally I think a cellphone-based app like this is a bad idea, but something that gave parking space data on a GPS display might be worth talking about.

    Michael Cairl
    Trustee and Chair, Livable Streets Committee
    Park Slope Civic Council

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