Los Angeles is considering banning smart phone applications that allow users to auction off parking spaces, with council members saying today the practice amounts to “extortion.”
Councilman Mike Bonin’s motion to ban such apps was backed by his colleagues on the Los Angeles City Council. The panel instructed the city attorney to prepare an ordinance prohibiting such phone-based services.
The move comes after the makers of an app known as MonkeyParking said they plan to launch its service in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and other parts of Los Angeles County.
The company started offering the app service in San Francisco, but disabled it after government officials there sent out a cease and desist letter citing an existing law prohibiting the practice.
Santa Monica already has passed a ban on such apps, and Los Angeles is hoping to do the same, Los Angeles city officials said. Beverly Hills and West Hollywood also are considering bans.
Bonin described the practice of squatting on park spots and selling them to the highest bidder as “extortion masquerading as the sharing economy.”
These apps also hurt the city’s own efforts to ease parking headaches in Los Angeles, including installing smart parking meters and managing pricing based on demand, he said.