Park It!

If you live in the Bay Area, you are no stranger to parking woes. If you live in any big city for that matter! The problem with parking lots is that they can be hard to find, and when you do find them there is no guarantee that they won’t already be filled to the brim. Like many things nowadays, there is an app for that. Spot Hero, (available for both Android and iOS) is hoping to help solve some of your parking nightmares. This app will not only find you a lot or garage to park in, but they will allow you to reserve your spot through the app to secure your space before you arrive.

I live in Oakland, which is about twenty minutes outside of San Francisco. I was curious to see what parking lots are in my area. Turns out there are quite a few. Pricing ranges around $5 to $20. The price depends on a few different variables, including lot size and how busy of an area the lot is located in. The app will even tell you how long the walking distance is from your house. This might be for those of you who, like me, live in crammed neighborhoods with extremely limited parking. If you have a friend coming to visit, it almost makes sense to have them pay to park, just out of convenience. If you think about it, driving around looking for parking is not only aggravating, but it wastes gas. With gas prices creeping up again, it might save you money in the end to reserve a spot in a lot.

If parking in your neighborhood isn’t even an option, you can use Spot Hero to find you a garage or a lot that will sell you a monthly pass. Some have hourly restrictions, which would work for folks who work near the lot or garage, and who don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding daily parking. Your parking spot is registered by your license plate, so remember your monthly pass will only work for the car that you are driving.

The app will also give you valuable details about where you are about to park, including time limits and if there are in and out privileges. Spot Hero will also let you know ahead of time if the lot is staffed, which is important in high crime areas with a high rate of vehicle break-ins and theft. Something to remember too is that pricing varies between cities, and when you switch your destination to SF, the price range also shifts, and gets much higher. Monthly passes in popular sections of the city jump up to $500, and daily spots can fetch up to between $30-$40 depending on where you are looking to park. These are pretty standard rates for SF parking, so the real convenience is finding a location that already has a spot with your name on it. You can even reserve a spot for when you park at the airport. Keep in mind that there are time restrictions too; you might find a spot for $5, but remember that the spot might only be reserved for two or three hours.

Some see apps like this as unfair, as those “first come, first served” can get turned away if there are spaces taken up by folks that are using the app. There were similar apps that popped up last year who would find you empty street parking-for a fee. Cities quickly shut these apps down, as no citizen owns public property, and therefore cannot profit off of it.. Spot Hero is different because they work with lot owners, so it’s a legal transaction. The app is currently available in fourteen major cities, including Chicago, NYC and Washington.

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