Jason Heard got to Fenway Park at noon for Monday’s Red Sox home opener, but he wasn’t there to watch the game. Instead, Heard was working for a parking lot tucked behind the ballpark, waving cars into an alley with a bright orange flag.
Fifty dollars per carload for the prime spots. If that seems steep, the market didn’t think so — an hour and a half before the first pitch, Heard was using his flag to tell people there were no more spots to be had. Read MoreBye-bye, $1.25: Smart meters could spawn 'surge' pricing for street parking
One more thing you'll be able to summon with a smartphone app, starting this spring: a blue-jacketed valet who'll take your keys and park your car. The San Francisco startup Luxe Valet, which recently raised $20 million in fresh funding, hopes to be up and running in Boston in time for Opening Day at Fenway Park.
Wen Sang says he was astonished to learn how much fuel is burned — and traffic caused — by drivers in search of the perfect parking spot. At the same time, most parking garages have spaces sitting empty. What if you could share that information with drivers, perhaps even adjusting the price of vacant spaces so that they were more appealing? Sang says he came to the United States from China to earn a PhD, not start a company. But the possibility of solving that problem led him to launch Smarking last year, after earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Read MoreMay I take your keys?A quadcopter could lead you to your next parking spot
Has your mobile phone not quite eliminated the headache of parking in Harvard Square or the North End? A trio of new startups hope they can help — and none of them is attempting to "monetize" city-controlled street spots, as the Baltimore startup Haystack tried to do this past summer. The first to launch is Veer, which shows up in Apple's iTunes Store today.
Earlier today, in a Boston City Council meeting that also tackled possible regulations for Uber, an ordinance was submitted by Boston City Councilor Frank Baker prohibiting, without permission from the City of Boston, the ability to "sell, lease, reserve, or facilitate the reserving of any street, way, highway, road or parkway, or portion thereof under the City of Boston's control." Read MoreCircling the blockCan mobile apps help make parking in Boston less miserable?
I’m an optimist, and so despite almost 15 years of searching for parking, getting ticketed, and being towed in Boston, I still believe that something will eventually mitigate the misery.
Several new mobile apps promise to do that. So I loaded them on my iPhone this month and set out in search of parking.
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