Neighbor Regina wrote up this tasty little article about CurbTxt, a new service based in Bernal Heights that provides a high-tech — and vastly more neighborly — alternative to leaving passive-aggressive notes on parked cars:
Blaring car alarms, forgotten headlights, and neighbor-owned cars blocking your driveway can now be remedied with a text, thanks to a new Bernalwood startup called CurbTxt.
“This is our neighborhood passion project,” says CurbTxt co-founder Alex, as he speaks via phone from CurbTxt HQ, conveniently located directly above Precita Park Cafe.
You’ve probably seen CurbTxt postcards in Bernal’s cafes. The service, which is free, offers a civil solution to neighborhood parking problems (without the need for passive aggressive notes).
Start by texting your license plate number to 415-529-5775 from *your* cell phone (it has to be your phone). Then stick a CurbTxt logo sticker next to your rear license plate. That lets neighbors know they can alert you as well. The texts are instant and anonymous.
“We follow the parking madness on the Bernalwood blog and that served as an inspiration,” says founder Alex, who was also partially inspired by the fact he owns a vintage school bus. He says his ride is “non-standard” when it comes to parking, so he wants to be sensitive to his neighbors’ parking needs.
“This is a close-knit community, and it can be damaging when tickets or tow trucks get involved,” he says. “We can act more like neighbors by reaching out directly to each other.”
Alex believs towing is a “nuclear option” and he hopes CurbTxt will serve as a solution to “the big towing industry” of San Francisco. Our City’s aggressive towing and ticketing even shocks people moving here from other large cities. CurbTxt co-founder Ian just moved here from NYC and racked-up three parking tickets in his first three weeks here.
“The parking issues weren’t in the brochure when I moved to the city,” he says.
The three founders are using a very basic, SMS-based server to automate the process, allowing them to remain at their day jobs. But they think this project has the potential to become a fulltime gig. Our neighborhood, the only one CurbTxt currently supports, is certainly interested.
“I’ve already signed up, and I’m picking up more stickers for my TIC partners,” says neighborhood homeowner Emily. “I think it’s a fabulous idea. Two days ago I saw a car on our street with its lights on. I live on Treat up from the park and I asked around at Precita Park, but it didn’t belong to anyone. I would have loved to have just been able to text them. I love the idea of neighbors supporting neighbors. I hope it catches on.”
I signed up as well during my chat with Alex. Before we said good-bye, he made a fantastic final comment:
“We’re renters, and it’s hard for us to get involved like the more established homeowners. Sometimes we feel like we’re in the dark about issues. Maybe CurbTxt can help bring us into the fold.”
PHOTO: Courtesty of CurbTxt. From left, Alex Ian and Andrew.