Developers of a new parking app created in Southern California say it will help drivers decipher street parking restrictions, avoid citations and even fight tickets in court.
The geeks behind Polis Assist, expected to launch this month, have been amassing detailed data about block-by-bock parking restrictions so that drivers can know in real time whether a spot is going to cost you $73 because you pulled in at the wrong hour. It will point you to free parking and tell you where the best deals on paid spots are, its developers say.
While other apps have made similar promises in the past, they were often crowd-sourced and couldn't necessarily guarantee the times and places for street parking were accurate, according to Dennis Baker, founder of the Polis Technologies, Inc. Baker says parking rules for curbs in 85 percent of core Los Angeles communities have been entered into Polis Assist's database. Human eyes considered countless hard-to-decipher parking signs.
"We did it the old fashioned way," he says. "We hired an army of people to go collect information with a proprietary tool, using geo-synchronicity. Physically, they went around and collected all the data on every single street."
The app covers Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City and West Hollywood. The app will also help out in the San Fernando Valley (including the cities of San Fernando and Burbank but not including all of Glendale) and Marina del Rey, Baker says. The development team is still working on Pasadena.
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The app is free and will take cash from advertisers. It will also take income from premium subscribers ($1.99 a month or $23 a year), whose purchase will get them digital testimony about the time they parked and where they were exactly, down to a few feet, should they need that information to fight a ticket, Baker says.
He argues that the app's data is solid for court battles. "If they got a ticket and they shouldn't have based on meter time, they can have some third-party verification," he says.
Baker says he plans to roll out and New York and San Diego in the future. But Los Angeles is perhaps the epicenter of outrageous traffic tickets, which the city admits are a necessary source of income. "It's important for people to avoid these high-price tickets," Baker says. "It's a social justice issue. The working poor in L.A. are the people who can least afford to pay these tickets."