Stacking Up

A new app helps residents find parking, but at a price.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - August 2014

New Parking App Out of Canton

A new app helps residents find parking, but at a price.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - August 2014

Eric Meyer, CEO of Haystack. -Photography by Sean Scheidt

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

The tried and true way of saving spots with a chair may become a thing of the past, as Canton resident Eric Meyer has come up with a more innovative way to ensure residents a parking spot. After facing several parking woes himself (including tickets and an eventual boot), Meyer developed Haystack, an iOS and Android app that allows neighbors to alert each other to open spots. The catch? Spot takers pay $3 and spot leavers earn $2.25, putting a price on public parking.

“I don’t see Haystack as buying a spot,” says Meyer, 24. “It’s an exchange of information. It’s an option for users to pay $3 to save 40 minutes of their time circling for parking.”

The concept of Haystack is simple: Based on GPS, residents can see and match up with others in their neighborhood who are either looking for or leaving a parking spot. (The app has users input vehicle type, so it can even match like-sized vehicles.)

Since its launch at the end of May, Haystack has acquired thousands of users, some of whom, like Canton resident Rebecca Moschina, are big fans. “I have used it about five times in a month,” says Moschina. “It’s always been a quick, easy exchange.”

But the app has also drawn criticism, mainly for its monetization of public parking, as well as potential glitches like people “squatting” in spots for a profit.

“I imagine the city will get involved the same way San Francisco has gotten involved in similar parking apps,” says Mike Brenner, CEO and cofounder of tech incubator Betamore. “My prediction is they’ll pivot their product into something different but related,” like another transportation app.

For now, though, Haystack is helping users like Moschina during desperate times. “Of course, nobody wants to pay for parking,” she says. “But I use Haystack as a last resort."




You May Also Like


The Chatter

Local Residents Have Mixed Feelings About School Starting After Labor Day

Parents, teachers, and administrators weigh in on September 5 start.

The Chatter

Bike Share Temporarily Shut Down

Theft, vandalism and maintenance issues force retooling on cusp of one-year anniversary of city program.

News & Community

Cameo: Heidi Daniel

We talk to the new CEO and president of Enoch Pratt Free Library.


The Chatter

Waterfront Partnership Expands to Fells Point

The nonprofit promises to improve safety and cleanliness of the waterfront neighborhood.

Sports

You Are Here: Home Game

Scenes from the Gaelic Assocation's camogie game, Born in Baltimore film festival, and Gamescape.

The Chatter

New Body Scanners Placed in Maryland Prisons to Reduce Violence

The advanced technology will minimize illegal activity within prisons.

Eric Meyer, CEO of Haystack.
-Photography by Sean Scheidt

Connect With Us

Most Read


Secret Garden
Inside the Fells Point home of art director Dolores Deluxe and production designer Vincent Peranio.

Washington D.C. Arts Guide
From concerts and art exhibits to comedy and theater, we round up the best events to check out in the District.

Pillow Talk
Add a pop of color, texture, and personality to any room.

Switching Gears
A Greenmount collective offers kids their own mobility.

Club Charles Comes Back to Life
The Station North staple gets resurrected.