San Francisco parking app shuts down service

SAN FRANCISCO — An Italian company whose mobile app allows San Francisco drivers to get paid for the public parking spaces they exit has temporarily shut down the service following an order from the city attorney.

Despite saying last month that it wouldn’t stop, MonkeyParking said in a blog Thursday that it “temporarily disabled” its bidding service in San Francisco, a day before City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s deadline to cease operations or face a possible lawsuit.

“We are currently reviewing our service to clarify our value proposition and avoid any future misunderstandings,” the website said.

MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny said in an email Friday that his company was working with lawyers and he hopes to meet with city leaders soon.

“We want to operate in full collaboration with the city,” Dobrowolny said.

Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey said the city attorney’s office will wait until after Friday’s deadline before commenting or taking further action. Herrera sent a letter to the Rome, Italy-based startup June 23 threatening a lawsuit if it doesn’t cease operations by July 11.

MonkeyParking allowed drivers who score a notoriously hard-to-get parking spot on San Francisco’s streets to sell it for $5, $10, even $20 and then hang out there until the buyer arrives to take their place.

Herrera’s letter was the latest as state and federal lawmakers grapple with new technologies that people can use to privately replace taxis, hotels and even restaurants. Firms in neighboring Silicon Valley often use San Francisco as a testing ground, pushing the boundaries of local authorities who don’t want to quash the booming tech economy.

Herrera also cracked down on two similar smartphone apps that exchange money for parking spaces.

Two weeks ago, Dobrowolny said MonkeyParking doesn’t sell parking spots, but rather convenience, citing freedom of speech. He said people have the right to tell others they’re leaving a parking spot and get paid for it.

On Thursday, the company reiterated a similar sentiment in its blog.

“Street parking is currently not a first-come-first-served process, but still a random-served one: you can go in circles for hours while a lucky driver can find a spot in a minute, right in front of you,” the blog said. “It is an old and painful problem and we believe that drivers deserve a better solution.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Stan Jones (left) father of Vice Chairwoman Teri Gobin, gets a handshake from Jared Parks while Herman Williams Sr. hugs Bonnie Juneau (right) after the Tulalip Tribes and Quil Ceda Creek Casino held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel on Tuesday at the Tulalip Reservation. The casino hotel will be built on 16 acres of ancestral tribal land and will feature a main casino that will showcase as many as 1,500 slot machines. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million project in Tulalip.

“Women Make Us Better,” a video on the Boeing Co. website features 15 female engineers. (All images Courtesy The Boeing Company)
For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence of an embarrassing past.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Trudeau snubs Boeing, unveils plan to buy used Aussie jets

Trudeau will be assessing the impact fighter jet contracts have on his country’s economy.

Boeing raises dividend 20%, continues stock buyback program

The manufacturer said it has repurchased $9.2 billion worth of its shares this year.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Most Read