LOS ANGELES – New smartphone apps that facilitate buying and selling public parking spaces would be banned in Los Angeles, thanks to a motion authored by Councilmember Mike Bonin and approved by the Los Angeles City Council today.
Smartphone apps, such as “Monkey Parking,” allow people to auction-off access to public parking spaces to drivers looking for a spot. With the aid of the app, people are encouraged to sit in a spot and wait for the highest bidder before turning the spot over and cashing-in. The phenomenon makes parking even more difficult to find in neighborhoods with parking shortages.
“This is extortion masquerading as the sharing economy,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who Chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee. “The idea that individuals could personally profit from seizing and selling public parking spaces is just wrong and we’re taking action to stop these parking pimps.”
Los Angeles is the latest city in California to take action against predatory parking apps. Earlier this year, the city of San Francisco sent a cease and desist letter to Monkey Parking, the City of Santa Monica recently approved a prohibition, and the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are currently considering bans.
“Los Angeles has invested millions in smart parking meters and technology to develop a more equitable parking system that is designed to fairly manage pricing based on the availability of curb space,” Bonin said. “Monkey Parking and apps like it undermine the city’s work by encouraging people to squat in a space as other drivers circle a neighborhood engaging in a bidding war for prime spots.
“From making parking worse in our neighborhoods, to allowing people to sell public assets for private gain, to encouraging people to drive while distracted by online auctions on their smart phones, this app is dangerous, dumb and damaging to our neighborhoods,” Bonin added.
Bonin’s motion was seconded by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who serves with Bonin on both the Council’s Transportation Committee, as well as the Metro Board of Directors.
“This is an example of a smart phone app that’s really dumb,” said Krekorian. “We are currently working on a number of sensible ways to make parking easier for people. MonkeyParking would do the opposite by turning street parking into an auction where public spaces go to the highest bidder. It has no place in Los Angeles.”