Generate money from your parking space with new app

A new app developed locally can help you generate money from an unused parking space.

If you're having parking problems in Providence, there'll soon be an app for that.

A couple of local college students say they've created the solution, and it's in the palm of your hand!

If the response from those who park on the East Side of Providence is any indication, the developers of the Spotter smartphone application should have no worries as the mid-April rollout approaches.

For example, Tim Flanigan lives in Tiverton and works at Brown University, and he spends a lot of time looking for a place to park on the streets surrounding the university.

"I can't find a parking space. I can pull into a driveway, right on the hill!? That would be fantastic!" says Flanigan, who says he'd be willing to pay more. "I'd pay a dollar. I'd pay -- listen -- I'd pay double, $2 an hour!"

Michelle Rocheleau travels from Tiverton every day, works downtown, but parks on the East Side.

"Yeah, that sounds pretty good. It saves the time in circling around the blocks, certainly," she said.

The app matches up those looking for quick convenient parking with an owner's private space or driveway. The idea came to Brown University computer science senior Albie Brown as part of a school project.

"We're generating new parking spaces. We'll limit the need for the additional construction of parking lots, parking garages which sort of detract from the charm of Providence," says Brown, who co-founded the Spotter app with his classmate and friend Nick DeMarco.

"Little meter icons that are going to be red when occupied, green when available. And wherever you need to go, you set up your destination, you say that I want to park here for this amount of time, then it handles the rest for you," says DeMarco.

Unlike other app based companies, Spotter has met with city leaders first to work out any issues with its business model before launch.

"We think by doing this we'll actually help the city," Brown said.

Start-up costs so far have been just a couple of hundred dollars.

Right now, Spotter is looking for those owners with spaces available to sign up. A number have already. (Public city streets don't count).

In busy parts of Providence, where available parking is at a premium, spots can generate hundreds of dollars a year for the owner, taking in 90 percent of the rental fee. Seven percent goes to these guys, and 3 percent for administrative costs.

If it takes off here, other cities are planned too, which could make these guys the next big app kingpins in the country.

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