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Monkey Parking is Monkey Business, Warns San Francisco City Attorney

A "cease-and-desist letter" was sent June 23 to MonkeyParking, a Rome-based tech startup that developed and markets an app that allows motorists to auction public parking spaces beginning at $5. The city attorney demanded shut-down by July 11.
June 25, 2014, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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City Attorney Dennis Herrera promised MonkeyParking a lawsuit if they don't meet his deadline. He "contends MonkeyParking and two other similar parking startups [ParkModo and Sweetch] also facing legal action have built business models entirely premised on illegal transactions - selling access to part of a public street," writes John Coté. 

Last month we described in more detail how the app functions, and compared it to the public parking program that attempts to achieve the same goal, SFpark.

The parking apps point to the underpricing, or in some cases, no pricing, of valuable parking spaces, even if they are public. In addition, the app can help turn-over spaces, always a goal in parking management, as MonkeyParking CEO previously told the Chronicle: "His company was just a facilitator between those looking for parking spots and those who need some incentive to leave a space," writes Coté.

However, at least one tech company involved in the parking business saw it differently.

"Companies should look to help solve urban living issues through technology, instead of taking advantage of public property or city residents," said Ashley Cummings, co-founder of Carmanation, a San Francisco startup that matches drivers with owners of private parking spaces.

Herrera referenced the marketing of private parking spots in a statement about the three apps captured by Kate Conger of The San Francisco Examiner:

"It's illegal, it puts drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and it creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate. Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely — to engage in online bidding wars while driving. People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so. But we will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 in San Francisco Chronicle
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