A while back—almost six years ago, in one of my earlier travel tips—I shared a tip about using an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to move your car from a metered parking spot. It’s a simple, imperfect shortcut, but it’s helped me avoid fines and tows on multiple occasions.
The fact is that street parking can be a huge pain. While it’s almost always cheaper than parking in an expensive parking lot, parking on the street can feel like walking a tightrope. There can be time restrictions, meters that you have to re-fill, street cleaning days that nullify the usual rules, and other confusing details that you have to keep track of. If you’ve been issued a ticket or been towed for a street parking violation, you’re not alone.
In fact, it was having their car towed that inspired a couple of friends to start the “Waze of Parking” a few years ago. “We started building SpotAngels after getting our car towed in San Francisco and had to pay $569 to get it back,” wrote co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi on Medium in 2017. Today, the app, which is still free for iOS and Android, is still making street parking simpler.
Per Forbes, “SpotAngels is essentially a comprehensive map displaying constantly updated public and private parking options.” Availability is updated using data from the likes of meters as well as, notably, other users of the app. “The app runs in the background, tracking a car’s whereabouts, so that users get prompts to help them keep SpotAngels’ maps current. When those users need their next parking spot, they can refine a search with settings such as arrival time, duration and price ceiling.”
In short, the app creates an accurate, efficient and community-driven way to find street parking. What makes SpotAngels even cooler, though, is the feature that, in co-founder Chahd’s words, “sends you a reminder before street cleaning, alternate side parking or any other parking restriction” get you into trouble. In part because other users help keep its growing network up to date, SpotAngels automatically does the same work I’ve used my phone alarm for (I’d still use a phone alarm, too): It reminds you when you need to move your car. Pretty cool, eh?
Right now, SpotAngels is available in the following cities:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Santa Monica
- Washington, DC
The SpotAngels app has great reviews in both the Apple Store and on Google Play. The only downside I’ve seen people note is that it could benefit from more users (and so more updates to specific rules) in some cities. Overall, and especially as a supplementary tool and not a replacement, it’s pretty solid.