Parking spaces are a hot commodity in many Boston neighborhoods, and the makers of a new smartphone app called Haystack see an opportunity. Haystack users receive a notification when someone else in the network is about to leave a parking space. The driver looking for a spot can then pay $3 to reserve the space. The other driver gets $2.25, and Haystack gets 75 cents. It’s a product that could well bring out the worst in people.
Yet Haystack is mostly a symptom of a deeper problem: The number of people who want to park along the street in Boston far exceeds the number of curbside spaces available. What the city needs is a broader conversation about how it manages street parking — a conversation that’s less about Haystack than about all the policies that discourage the turnover of existing spaces .