“For traffic-snarled San Francisco, an app that allowed drivers to auction off their street parking spaces to the highest bidder seemed a natural fit for a city on the cutting edge of technology and commerce,” David Weidner reports for MarketWatch. “Instead, MonkeyParking has become the latest flash point in the growing conflict between mobile technology’s ability to make life easier (and costlier) and an establishment that sees such apps as a way to circumvent the rules.”
“City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Monday sent a cease-and-desist letter to MonkeyParking’s developers and a request to Apple Inc.’s general counsel asking that the company remove the app from its store,” Weidner reports. “Two other apps that provide a similar service are being targeted by Herrera’s office: Sweetch SF and the yet-to-be-launched ParkModo, which pays drivers to hold parking spaces and then sells them. ‘Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work — and Monkey Parking is not one of them,’ Herrera said.”
“Paulo Dobrowolny, chief executive and co-founder of Rome-base MonkeyParking, disputed the assertion that his service wasn’t beneficial. MonkeyParking lawyers issued a statement Thursday asserting that the app was being unfairly targeted,” Weidner reports. “‘A new company providing value to people should be regulated and not banned,’ Dobrowolny said. ‘This applies also to companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft that are continuously facing difficulties while delivering something that makes users happy. Regulation is fundamental in driving innovation, while banning is just stopping it.'”
“The city says selling parking spaces violates a law banning the buying and selling of public resources. And to some in a city tense about the distribution of wealth among its residents, MonkeyParking reflects how the city’s tech riches have distorted the marketplace,” Weidner reports. “The message seems to be, if you can’t afford to rent or park here, try Oakland… By contrast, cities such as Pisa, Italy, are working with app developers to ease traffic in a way that attempts to balance public interests. City officials there are working with telecom providers and urban mobility startup Kiunsys on a system that uses ground sensors to help drivers find parking spots more quickly, thereby cutting down on traffic and pollution.”
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