This ‘Waze for Parking’ app just launched in Boston

The startup uses crowdsourced information to help drivers find parking spots — and avoid tickets.

Boston, MA   3/6/11   BTD maintenance operations manager Tim Hallahan (cq) conducts a card demo on Devonshire Street.  In a pilot program, the Boston Transportation Department installs 144 single-space parking meters in downtown, on Sunday, March 6, 2011.  Designed by IPS Group, of San Diego, CA, the retrofitted meter tops have the options for credit cards and coins.       (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff);   Reporter:  Travis Andersen;   Section:  Metro;  Slug:  07meters
A parking meter is paid on Devonshire Street in Boston. –Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe

If traffic congestion is the biggest challenge for Boston drivers, the second biggest might be parking in the city. However, a new app is trying to use the Waze model to help drivers manage that tricky issue as well.

SpotAngels, a crowdsourced parking app, is launching its services in Boston this week, on the heels of a $2.3 million funding round this summer led by Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen.

The San Francisco-based startup uses information shared by its community of drivers to display a map of local parking spots, along with information about street cleaning, meter prices, free parking, time limits, permit requirements, and other rules to help users avoid tickets. Google Play named the “Waze for Parking” app one of its best hidden gems of 2017.

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After launching in San Francisco and the New York City area, SpotAngels co-founder Aboud Jardaneh said the company got a lot of questions about when they would expand to Boston.

The app. —SpotAngels

“Boston came up a lot and is notorious for its street cleaning tickets, so it made a lot of sense for us to launch SpotAngels there,” Jardaneh said in a statement.

Unlike the existing Boston parking apps, SpotAngels allows users to compare meter and garage prices, meter times, and street cleaning schedules, as well as the places that will fetch a hefty ticket (or towing), in a blue-and-green-tinged map.

In San Francisco, the app predicts where parking spots will be available based on where other users have previously been able to park. SpotAngels spokeswoman Casey Stickles says they are planning to bring the feature to Boston “very soon.”

The app also shows parking spots that have recently been left open by other SpotAngels users.

“Once on your phone, the app runs in the background and knows where and when you park your car and you leave a spot,” Stickles told Boston.com. “After leaving a spot, the map displays an open spot in the form of a yellow bubble. The more drivers join the SpotAngels app, the better the live information gets.”

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Currently, SpotAngels’ coverage map in Boston only includes the central neighborhoods — from Fenway and Back Bay to Downtown, the North End, Seaport, and parts of Southie — with small slivers through the rest of the city. Since the app is crowdsourced, Stickles says they expect the map to grow over time.

SpotAngels coverage map in Boston. —Screenshot

The app also saves drivers’ parking location using the car’s Bluetooth or phone sensors, so it can send notifications when it’s time to move the vehicle for street cleaning or any other parking restriction.

So even if no one has figured out how to create an app to perfectly guide you to an empty spot in Southie, SpotAngels can at least make sure you avoid a ticket.

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