Parking Panda recently announced they have released an app for Android smartphones on Google Play. The Baltimore based parking service has long had an app available for Apple iOS devices but Android smartphone users were left out. Fortunately for us that is not the case anymore.
Some of you might be thinking, “What is Parking Panda?” I first wrote about the innovative parking service back in October of 2011. (Man… that feels like a long time ago.) Essentially the idea is that you have a parking space you want to rentout and earn some extra cash on, you can go onto the website or app and it allows you to list your parking spot easily. Additionally if you need parking you can go use Parking Panda to find a space near a Convention Center or ballpark when parking gets crowded.
The parking service is currently in over 20+ cities across the country. The latest cities Parking Panda added includes Houston and Dallas. In addition they have partnerships with many garages as well as private parking space owners. Parking Panda recently became the official parking sponsor of the Verizon Center in Washington DC.
This is a smart since this allows parking garage operators to better anticipate and sell their spaces in advance. This saves people time looking for a space and probably makes the garage more money I assume. (Although originally the idea behind Parking Panda was that the service would be for individuals.)
I was one of the first people to download the Parking Panda Android app it seems to work pretty well. I might use Parking Panda when I need to find a parking spot in Philadelphia for Affiliate Summit soon. I haven't decided whether to drive or take the train into Philly. The train will be more relaxing but parking will be easy with the Parking Panda Android app. 🙂
Parking Panda not only has added cities but I've noticed the site is faster and more intuitive since it launched 2 years ago. Hopefully Nick Miller and Adam Zilberbaum, the co-founders, will continue to make additional improvements to Parking Panda and make parking less of a pain for everyone.
Back in September I took a roadtrip with my brother Aaron to Brooklyn. He needed to transport paintings for an art show he was part of. It was very exciting for him as an artist since it was the first show he had in New-York. He's how it the roadtrip went.
We got going late around 10:45am or so. We rented a Uhaul the day before and got the paintings all packed and ready to go so we wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning. Aaron and I decided instead of spending money on tolls on I-95, we would avoid them. We set our GPS to “Avoid Tolls” and off we went. The nice thing about not driving along I-95 is that it's a little more scenic. You tend to see more interesting things, like a Hydro-Electric plant we passed along Route 1. One side of the dam was extremely high due to all the rain. The water was deep into the forest and we saw cops had blocked off a road leading down to that area.
Aaron was doing most of the driving, so my duties mainly were navigating (well making sure the GPS wasn't throwing us completely off track). For the most part not taking 95 up to New-York was working out well. Sure it was more slow going, but it gave us a chance to see little towns and places you would never have seen otherwise. Like a Harley-Davidson dealership, antiques stores, cows, and the countryside. Driving up 95 is kind of ugly, especially the Jersey turnpike.
Avoiding tolls surprising only took probably about 1 hour longer than if we had taken 95. Finding Gowanus Ballroom, where Aaron was showing his paintings was fairly straightforward, and dropping off the paintings didn't take long either. Gowanus Ballroom is an interesting place to show art. It is a metal fabrication shop, but they also use the space to display art. They move all the heavy metalworking material away for showing art, then back when they are done.
After we left Gowanus, we had to return the Uhaul truck. We went to the Uhaul center, which was a few blocks away, and then the attendant pointed out we had not filled the tank. I think it was a $50 surcharge to fill it, so we decided to find a gas station. We found this run down on nearby, and to my delight there were a few cool and interesting cars there.
After we returned the Uhaul truck we headed to the train station to go into the New York City to catch the Bolt Bus back to Baltimore. For $19 bucks 1-way, it is not a bad deal. Only thing is we didn't realize how long we had to wait to catch the train into the city, and that it took us about 30 minutes once on the train to get where we needed to go.
When we emerged from the dirtiness of the NY subway system, we had a little trouble finding the stop on 7th and West 33rd. Aaron kept trying to use his smartphone but it was not loading the map or something. It kept getting closer to 6 and our bus was leaving at 6:15pm. I was getting nervous and was saying “Let's just ask someone!” after trying to ask several people on the street who ignored me with a New-York attitude, I went into a Gap store. I asked a clerk folding clothes “Where is 7th and 33rd?” he pointed and said “That way!” We got to 7th and 33rd no problem. Smartphones are not all that!
When we got to the bus stop, it was in front of Sbarros. I hadn't eaten lunch and went in to get 2 pieces of cheese pizza. Aaron went to get some snacks at a convenience store close by. I think at that point it was around 6:10 or slightly later. There were tons of people waiting for different buses there. So many that they were blocking the sidewalk, so the bus moved down a block. Then we got on, and the bus left later than 6:15.
The buses are ok, but my expectations were higher from what I had heard. I thought my seat was a bit uncomfortable. I noticed that every other seat had a power plug, while I got stuck with a seat without one. The nice thing was the bus had Wi-Fi, so I checked my email. Then I attempted to sleep, but you are always in that half-awake mode on a bus. We stopped once in Delaware, then continued on to Baltimore. I think we got in around 11, and the bus drops you on Saint Pauls right near Penn Station. So it is easy to get a cab to where you need to go. We had a family member pick us up from the train station, then went home.
Getting a ticket can take a huge bite out of your wallet. I'm sure you are careful and safe driver. (Aren't you?) Nowadays though many municipalities are installing red-light cameras and speed-cameras to generate revenue, by catching you unassumingly disobeying the law.
Luckily there is a solution. It's called Trapster! How it works is that you load the software onto your cellphone or GPS device. Trapster maps show you where all the red-light cameras, speed-cameras, and cop hang-outs for catching people speeding. It will alert you if you are driving up to one of these Traps!
Essentially Trapster is a online version of a friend warning you about a speed trap. Accept it's used by thousands of people, and those people warn you. This does cause some issues, as sometimes it's not completely accurate. Sometimes a person might mark a red-light camera that isn't there. Of course the concept is still pretty cool.
The best part of Trapster is that it is Free! Also it's completely legal. Some states have banned the use of Radar Detectors, but no such law exists for sharing Speed Traps online!