Make way for more Boston drivers looking at their cell phones instead of the road. According to the Boston Herald, Beantown is piloting a new app to help drivers find parking spaces—a commodity even harder to find since Mass Ave is losing 71 spots to build a bike lane. The app, called Parker, uses sensors in the ground to lead drivers to open spaces. It will probably lead to more accidents too.
Using Parker is like putting a game as consuming as Angry Birds in the hands of drivers, but with a real prize: be the first to reach the green circle and you’ll win a parking space. Seems like a step in the wrong direction since the state is trying to get motorists to put down the phone with texting while driving laws.
Massachusetts: Let’s ban texting, emailing, and reading messages while driving.
Boston: Let’s make an app especially for drivers!
Normally when Boston drivers are hunting down a spot, it’s a total body experience—eyes on the road, mouths forming curse words, one hand on the wheel while the other flips off cyclists. But with Parker, motorists have an incentive to pay less attention to the street and more attention to their mobile devices. They won’t be swearing at bicyclists who cut them off– they’ll run them over instead.
Lets say a driver using Parker actually arrives at an open space without killing anyone; it’s not over yet. That’s because everyone else is hightailing it to the same available spaces. And because Parker lets people reserve and pay for some spots in advance, being the first to put on your directional next to an open spot doesn’t mean it’s yours. Imagine the friendly conversations drivers will have trying to sort that one out.
So if you’re on foot, on a bike, or on the road–watch out. Boston’s streets are about to get crazier than mall parking lots during the holidays.