Yellow curb, red curb, white curb, blue curb — figuring out where to park, especially in a big city, can make you feel like you’re in a zany Dr. Seuss story. And when you do snag a sweet street spot, it can feel like a mini moment of glory.
In cities, parking signs contradict each other. There’s 7 a.m. street cleaning and odd hours when you cannot park your car (only until 2 a.m. in some places).
If you live in a crowded metropolis, then finding a parking spot is likely a task you’d like to see made easier. Here are seven helpful parking apps to help you find a safe place to park. Sure, it’s not like having your own driver, but it’s the next best thing when you’re trying to find a spot in a traffic-ridden city.
(San Francisco): Finding The Sweet Spot is a book by David LaBua that teaches readers how to be savvy at finding parking in San Francisco. Now, those ideas are incorporated into an iOS app called VoicePark. “VoicePark guides you by voice, turn-by-turn, to the nearest available parking spot using real-time information refreshed every eight seconds,” according to the website. VoicePark uses the city-owned SFpark (which also has its own app for iOS and Android) technology to find open spots based on location and price in eight areas of the city.
One of the most interesting features of the website is that it keeps a constant tally of San Francisco parking revenue — the city is already at more than $18 million in revenue for 2012. VoicePark is available only in San Francisco, but the company says it will roll out to 50 other cities this year.
Can I Park Here? (NYC): No more asking strangers where to park — or adding more cash to New York City’s $600 million yearly revenue from parking tickets. Snap a picture of a questionable parking sign, and this $1.99 app will say whether you’re safe to park there. Clicking “Park It!” will set an alarm that alerts you when there are 15 minutes left on the meter, so you can get back to your vehicle with minutes to spare. Have a habit of forgetting where you parked? The “Park It!” button also puts a pin on the map, so you can easily navigate back to your car.
PrimoSpot (NYC, Boston and Seattle): Using Google Maps and a database of parking signs, PrimoSpot helps city dwellers in New York, Boston and Seattle find parking. This iOS or Android app lets you look up parking rules in your area and find out where there are great parking spots. The app doesn’t indicate which spots are available, but the map feature could be a neat way to figure out where you might find good parking. In addition to street parking, PrimoSpot gives users details about nearby garages, including address, phone number, hours and photos.
Chicago Parking: This Chicago-specific parking app includes meter rates for various areas of the city and can help users map the closest fare box. It also includes information for 300 Chicago parking garages, with hours, rates and directions.
Apps for Everywhere
Parking Mate: The Parking Mate app for iOS tells you where the closest and safest places to park are located — and keeps a log of places you’ve parked. Plus, like Can I Park Here?, the app keeps track of how much time you have left in your spot and notifies you when you’re close to expiration. Users can add “rules” (i.e. street cleaning on Mondays) to the app to help themselves and others stay abreast of the parking regulations in various neighborhoods.
iSpotSwap: This app tells you when others are vacating their spots, letting you swoop in to take it. Members can “tag” their spots and include the time they expect to leave, which helps drivers find an open or soon-to-be-open spot. This app also includes a “meter minder” to keep track of how much time you have left on your meter while you’re away from your vehicle.
Parker: Parker is another free iOS app that tells you where the closest spots are in real-time. GPS navigation guides you to the open space or a local garage. Garages can also notify Parker of available spaces, enabling users to make advanced reservations.
This family of apps is helping drivers save time, gas, and money (no more parking tickets!), all of which make city living just a little more convenient. If you see an app you like but it’s not in your city, don’t fret — some of these apps are expanding to new cities soon.
Do you currently use any of the parking apps listed in this post? What do you think about them? Do you use any parking apps not mentioned here? Which ones? Tell us about them in the comments.