Moynihan looks to expand parking via mobile app
NEW CANAAN — Residents and commuters may soon see more parking spots downtown, though not where one would normally think to find them.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has explored increasing parking availability through Boxcar, a Cranford, N.J.-based mobile application that partners with private property owners — such as funeral homes, nonprofit offices and churches — to help people book vacant spaces in their lots.
Boxcar CEO Joe Colangelo said the idea for the application came when he noticed the waiting list for parking permits in the city where he resided, Cranford, rarely went down despite seeing various private property establishments with vacant parking.
“Our primary points of contact are generally private property owners — we deal with them directly. We will typically partner up with, say, a dentist’s office or a church and the owners say which spots are available to use,” Colangelo said via phone interview.
According to its website, Boxcar currently operates in a “number of New Jersey suburban towns.” Colangelo also confirmed Boxcar had been in talks with St. Aloysius Church.
“We’re working with Boxcar and it looks like St. Aloysius is getting ready to sign on with 50 parking spaces and are also looking at 150 to 200 spaces that would be available for the public downtown,” Moynihan said during a Board of Selectmen meeting on May 22.
As of press time, a representative from St. Aloysius was unavailable for comment.
“We’re really excited to help New Canaan commuters with the distance to the train station and we want to make sure any questions from St. Aloysius are answered,” Colangelo said.
Colangelo said the price for parking — typically available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. — would cost $5 to $7 per day. Users of the app are billed each week, so someone who utilizes the space five times a week can expect to pay at least $25.
According to Colangelo, the application takes 25 percent of the revenues from the parking fees and the rest goes to the private property owner.
Moynihan said the town’s parking department may have to supervise the spots on private property.
“(Boxcar) costs us nothing. It allows people to book parking spots in advance. The only involvement by the town besides endorsing the concept would be to have our parking department monitor those private lots that request us to monitor them,” Moynihan said.
Colangelo said the Walgreens on Pine Street was another private property establishment that could be interested in partnering with the mobile application.
“Launching this in New Canaan would be a great opportunity to see what the demand is in town and base the price on demand and supply,” Colangelo said.