Haystack Faces City Council as Vote on Proposed Ban Nears

The parking app Haystack’s days may be numbered.
The parking app Haystack’s days may be numbered. –David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The founder of Haystack, an app that allows users to buy and sell access to public on-street parking spaces, sure has a way with words.

First, there was its insistence that its users don’t actually sell parking space access. They just sell information about parking spaces. The line of argument has consistently ignored that in so doing, those users are indeed selling access to public parking spaces—especially since parked users don’t get money unless the user searching for a parking space takes theirs.

Haystack founder and CEO Eric Meyer tried out some new wordplay Wednesday at a City Council meeting that essentially had the company fighting for its life in Boston. Mayor Marty Walsh has previously spoken out against the app, and City Councilor Frank Baker’s recently filed ordinance that would make its usage illegal in city limits looks set to come to a vote soon.


In front of the council, Meyer relied on twisted definitions once more, suggesting that a move to rid the city of the service would double as a proclamation against innovation. “A vote in support of this proposed ordinance (at) this time is a vote against technology, against innovation,’’ Meyer told the council, The Boston Globe reports.

“It does send an ominous message to innovators across the city and across the country,’’ he added, according to The Boston Business Journal.

Meyer either failed to mention or fails to understand that one may love innovation so much they’d marry it, yet still be against innovation that allows individuals to profit off of public property. So Baker got to that point for him, as the BBJ reports.

“You’re trying to make us anti-innovation,’’ Baker said. “If it’s a good idea and its not infringing on something that the city owns, we’re all in. Give us the option to say yes or no.’’

Meyer, who founded the company earlier this year in Baltimore and launched in Boston in July, told the BBJ after the hearing that he would fight on, even if the app’s days appear numbered.

“As far as we have seen, this has been a good option for folks who want to use it,’’ he said.


And who may those be? We’ve seen them to be few and far between, though in the past the app has had the stated support of profiteers and one very confused politician.

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