Shared parking spaces could be the answer to your parking woes

October 1, 2013

Parking is considered a scarce commodity in America even though, on average, three non-residential parking spaces exist for every registered car here. America has 300 million citizens with 255 million registered cars and almost 800 million parking spaces. Still, finding a parking space at the right place and the right time is tough. Daily commuters searching for a parking space cause 30% of the traffic in cities.

shared parking

Where is the alleged excess of parking when you need it? Image by Alex.

Shared parking spaces make sense

A family has a space to park their car when they’re home, but when they are at work, the space is empty. Similarly, a parking spot at an office is empty after office hours. Sharing this empty parking space can effectively ease parking problems in heavily-trafficked areas. Individuals and even companies who have a few additional parking spaces can make a little extra money by renting unused spaces out to those who need parking spots.

An article in Slate points out: “A single space in a driveway or backyard is hardly worth marketing but if an online service can drastically simplify the discovery process, then suddenly ‘hidden’ parking capacity can be unlocked.”

Two parking services we recommend:

1) Parking Panda

Parking Panda is one of the many parking assistance services that works on the concept of shared parking to provide suitable parking spaces in the locations drivers want. Launched in Baltimore and now available in many cities, it has updated, searchable maps; a quick and easy-to-use mobile app; and multiple options to rent or reserve a parking spot.

Users can look for available spots in certain areas and see what the owner is charging before confirming the reservation. The reservation can be for an hour, day, week, month or any required period.

While another service, ParkAtMyHouse, only lets individuals rent out their driveways, Parking Panda helps large garages rent out space too. Parking Panda took this step after it realized that peer-to-peer driveway renting “only works in certain neighborhoods,” according to its CEO Nick Miller.

For example, San Francisco’s South of Market area has few private driveways and it is tough to find parking there, so “in SoMa you need garages to supplement that.”

2) Divvy

Sharing a privately owned parking space is an idea that is becoming popular both in America and in other parts of the world. Divvy, a company in Sydney that handles the transaction between a private parking owner and the renter, works on the same concept.

“Our members look for long-term, affordable parking during business hours as parking stations are just too expensive and the surrounding streets only accommodate short-term parking. Our rates are 40% cheaper than parking stations and it is worth avoiding the fines.” said Nick Austin, founder of Divvy.

Shared parking could change the politics of parking

Shared parking could change residents’ attitudes about new developments that are built without parking. After all, renting out a parking space becomes more lucrative (and useful) if parking is scarcer overall.

Category: Miscellaneous

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