San Francisco is not without its charms. The Bay is beautiful, the weather is pleasant in some of the city's microclimates, and....
Hmm. Did we mention the Bay?
One of the complaints that many people have about SF is that it's far too expensive. The tech industry has been a goldmine for some residents, but for those who don't code or build user interfaces, the picture isn't so rosy. (Which is, in part, why people have been attacking Google's buses.)
Ironically, this city with a liberal reputation has become, in many ways, a Pleasure Peninsula for the one percent. Don't believe us? Check out the "MonkeyParking" app for iPhone and Android devices, which could magnify one of residents' biggest problems: where to park their cars.
HOW'S IT WORK?
In a nutshell, MonkeyParking lets San Francisco drivers pay other car owners to leave a particular parking spot. So, if you're late for dinner or a meeting or your 6:45 Bikram class, you can crack open the app and see who might be willing to give up a prime parking place for, say, $10. Or $20. Or who knows? How much have you got?
And that's fine, of course -- it's their money, they can spend it as they see fit. The problem is, MonkeyParking makes it very easy to game the system. There are already fears that crafty parkers will squat in prime spots so that they can generate revenue from repeatedly moving their car.
In theory, that's okay, too. MonkeyParking doesn't appear to break any laws, so if there's a way to use it to make some extra cash, where's the harm in that?
The harm is that MonkeyParking stands the chance of turning San Francisco into an even more expensive place to live. Parking is so tough to find in some parts of the city, even minimal adoption of the app could push non-users to the breaking point.
Will SF's crafty car owners use the app to offset the sky-high cost of living? Will their neighbors riot in the streets? And how long until MonkeyParking rolls out to other congested U.S. cities? Stay tuned.