By Mike Dunn

 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia City Council member wants to ban a new type of mobile app that lets people essentially auction their on-street parking space before they pull away.

Monkey Parking is a free iOS app that lets people announce where they are parked, and then take bids on who wants rights to park in that space next.

On the other side of the transaction, drivers looking for spaces agree to pay in order to have the spot held for them.

“Cars would be sitting there and they would move (s0) you could come in, if you paid a certain price,” explains councilman Bill Greenlee.  “Now, these are public parking spots!”

Greenlee says Monkey Parking and similar apps are starting to be used in Philadelphia, and he opposes the concept.

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(A Monkey Parking screen shows a parking space at 1206 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia being offered by "Shawn."  Image provided by office of Councilman Greenlee)

(A Monkey Parking screen shows a parking space at 1206 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia being offered by “Shawn.” Image provided by office of Councilman Greenlee)

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“There’s something just fundamentally wrong, in my opinion, with anyone selling what should be a free parking spot,” Greenlee tells KYW Newsradio.  “People should have the right to pull in freely.  And it certainly can lead to a lot of problems, I think.”

So, Greenlee is introducing on Thursday an ordinance that would make the practice of auctioning off a parking space — through a mobile app or otherwise — illegal, with a $250 fine per violation.

He says if this practice is not nipped in the bud, problems could easily crop up in areas of the city where parking is at a premium, such as in his own neighborhood of Fairmount.

“If somebody just sat reserving a spot in my neighborhood, and somebody was wondering what was going on, I think there’d be upset feelings there.  This thing is spreading around the country.  It’s coming to Philadelphia.  And we need to stop it before it gets any legs,” he said.