by Sarah Buhr : techcrunch – excerpt
Parking app Sweetch has open-sourced its code this morning in an effort to solve the parking crisis in San Francisco. The free, open-source project, called Freetch is open to any developer willing to work on solving parking problems for the city.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera called out Sweetch and other parking apps earlier this week in a cease-and-desist letter it sent to MonkeyParking. The letter specifically warned Sweetch and ParkModo, both of which the city believes “…similarly violate local and state law with mobile app-enabled schemes intended to illegally monetize public parking spaces.”
These parking apps could also face $300 fines per violation, and both companies are potentially liable for civil penalties of $2,500 per transaction for illegal business practices under the California Unfair Competition Law, according to the letter.
This may be why the Sweetch founders have now changed direction on their approach and opened up their code.
Sweetch users pay a flat rate of $5 for a spot and get paid $4 for notifying another driver when they leave their spot, whereas MonkeyParking works more like an auction. If someone accepts your bid for their spot, you get the spot. It’s unclear how ParkModo’s model will work, but recent Craigslist postings show they may be planning to pay drivers $13/hour to squat on parking spaces in order to save them for users.
However, Police Code section 63(c) states: “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to enter into a lease, rental agreement or contract of any kind, written or oral, with or without compensation, for the use of any street or sidewalk.”
Sweetch addresses section 63(c) on its most recent blog post about the issue:… (more)
If you are tired of the parking policies the SFMTA and city authorities have brought us, including this legal mess that they will now have to spend time and money cleaning up, support the Restore Transportation Balance initiative and let the voters decide how to fix the parking mess: http://restorebalance14.org/