Startup helping motorists find parking during eventful San Francicso weekend 

click to enlarge Sharing: Charlie Ansanelli is the founder of Park Please, which connects drivers to private parking. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Sharing: Charlie Ansanelli is the founder of Park Please, which connects drivers to private parking.

Even on a normal day, a vacant driveway can look like an oasis for frustrated motorists. And during this coming weekend, when 1 million people are expected to descend upon The City for a series of events, a place to park could seem downright mythical.

The local startup Park Please is hoping to take advantage of this weekend’s Fleet Week, America’s Cup World Series, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and other events to promote its new business, which allows motorists to pay for parking in residential driveways, private school parking lots and other sites that are normally tantalizingly off-limits.

Using a sharing-economy model, Park Please connects drivers with residents who have available parking spaces. The company advises its “hosts” on how much to charge for their parking spots, but final prices are ultimately decided by those with the open spots, said Charlie Ansanelli, Park Please’s founder.

For this weekend’s events, prices posted Tuesday ranged from a low of $2 a day to a high of $90 a day, with the priciest spots located in prime locations in the Marina and Sunset district. Park Please takes a 10 to 20 percent fee for each transaction.  

Along with offering a slew of driveways, Park Please also will represent three school parking lots and a South of Market garage, where motorists can pay $40 to get shuffled back and forth to the Marina. For this weekend’s events, about 1,000 spaces will be open, Ansanelli said.

People are familiar with the sharing economy due to the success of companies such as Lyft and Airbnb, Ansanelli said. Along with eliminating the stress of parking for motorists, Park Please can make it easier for local residents who are under deluge from the stream of cars circling their blocks.

“A lot of residents see this extra traffic as a nuisance,” said Ansanelli. “We want them to see it as an opportunity.”
Ansanelli said he’s been getting the word out about his business through social media sites and by plastering neighborhoods with fliers.

Matt Hurn, a Sunset resident who used the service for the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in August, said the entire process was seamless. Hurn, who had one available spot, made $150 for the three-day event.

“The money for us is obviously great,” he said. “But I know how stressful driving can be. I’d like to see the business expanded because San Francisco has a ton of events and it would be great to see them more accessible for drivers.”

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Will Reisman

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