Parking Ticket

I live in the beautiful sunny San Diego and I love it here. Yes, it is true that we only see rain about twice per year, but I digress. This is going to be a vent post. 

One of the most annoying things about living where I do is that my complex does not provide parking.  It's street parking only so there's an every man/woman for him/herself attitude on my block. Usually this isn't an issue for me since I'm fortunate enough to work from home. However, on the occasions when I actually venture out of my cave, if I'm not home by 5 o'clock sharp, I might as well walk from wherever it is I'm coming from because that's how long it'll take to find a decent parking spot. But I'm digressing again, sort of. Let's get to the point. 

The City of San Diego insists on cleaning the streets, despite California's current drought situation. Every street has its own cleaning schedule and if you do not move your car, then BAM, a lovely $60 ticket is left on your windshield. Congratulations! I used to chalk this up to the neighborhood's initiation routine, figuring that we'd all learn to pay attention after maybe the third ticket... but nope. I've lived here for a year now and just watched three of my neighbors' cars get decorated with those lovely yellow slips. Yes, I tried to alert them as I was taking the dogs back inside, but I was too late. I didn't have my phone on me, sorry guys! 

The truth is, even though every street displays visible signs with its street cleaning schedule, keeping track of where you parked the night before is already hard enough. So a year later, we are all still getting tickets... is there an app for that? Actually, I found one, but it sucks. Ok ok, that was a little harsh. It's A LOT better than I can do at the moment, but it still doesn't work very well from a user's standpoint (no offense to its creator).

I've been learning Ruby for a few months now. I've dabbled a bit in Sinatra and Rails, having built some pretty fun apps already (following tutorials/instructions)! But I still don't feel like I KNOW what I'm doing, or how to get things done on my own, which frustrates me sometimes. So I don't know HOW to build this parking app...yet! I'm not even 100% convinced that Ruby will be the right tool. But for the sake of my neighbors and our wallets, it must get done!

To accomplish this, my original idea was to create one where the user would drop a pin every time he/she parked. Which would also be cool because I ALWAYS forget where I park, even when I go to the grocery store. Anyways, there would be some sort of geo location feature that would collect an address, based on the location of your car. Then, it would have to pull in the street cleaning rules from a database (or ruby gem?) and create some conditional statement that will alert you (Twilio?) to move your car, if that rule applied to your location/date/time. The user will be able to set the alert time too, like an hour before ticketing, for example. But after talking to Greg at Rails Camp USA, I'm going to start with an even simpler idea. My first goal will be for my app to alert me of the nearby street cleaning schedules, regardless of where I park. Then I'll add fancier features to it later. 

My boyfriend and I have been dreaming of this app for some time now. Its creation would be a serious game changer for us! I will be documenting my journey here! Any feedback is welcome!