Town Crier: Montclair parking fee changes defy logic


HILLS NEWSPAPERS  July 9, 2009

THERE THEY GO AGAIN, defying the laws of common sense and economics. The city of Oakland has once again raised the price of both parking meters and fines, driving even more business through the tunnel. Shoppers beware — meters now cost $2 an hour and run until 8 p.m. Slip up, and you’ll be nailed with a fine for $55.

Not only does parking cost more, but the new kiosks continue to frustrate folks who just want to plug their meter and get on with business. Get this: Each kiosk in Montclair is in its own zone, meaning you must buy a permit from the closest dispenser or it will be considered invalid. The only exception is if the kiosk is broken — then you can go to the next closest box. The Montclair Village Association is working with the city to try to change this, but there’s been no luck so far.

The best option if you’re shopping in the village? Park in the garage at the top of La Salle. For whatever reason, the city hasn’t raised the rate yet ,so it’s still $1.25 an hour. Plus, some merchants give you up to two hours free validation, and there’s no risk of an overtime parking ticket.

Glenview Gossip: The mini Gourmet Ghetto on Park Boulevard continues to grow. Merchants say the latest foodie slated for the neighborhood is a sushi restaurant, which will apparently move into the old Design Framing and Gallery shop. Meanwhile, A Cote is still working on parking for the

restaurant they hope to open in the site vacated by Compadres. They’ve reportedly worked out a deal for patrons to park at the nearby Glenview Elementary School.E-mail Bag: Parking and graffiti are two of the subjects getting under the skin of readers this week. Van Rourke is unhappy because his brother got a $45 ticket for parking over the space markings in Montclair. “With the condition of the streets, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t see the space markings that are in desperate need of repainting,” writes Rourke.

Meanwhile, Peggy Esposito has a suggestion for anyone fed up with graffiti in his or her neighborhood: Be proactive. She, herself, has reported graffiti to Oakland’s Public Works Department (510-615-5566) and followed up with calls until the scribbling was painted over. “We all have to take responsibility for trying to keep Montclair a clean and attractive place to shop,” she writes.

And then there’s the call for graffiti busters that Mike Petouhoff is issuing along the Shepherd Canyon trail to the village. I’ve mentioned before that vandals have scratched up and scribbled on the old rail line interpretive signs put up by the Eagle Scouts. Petouhoff is looking for a few volunteers who could go out, even once a quarter, and remove the graffiti. He says it comes off pretty easily, now that they’ve found a new type of cover for the kiosks. If you would be willing to help, please send me an e-mail.

About Town: Montclair is getting yet another new restaurant. A new vegetarian/Mediterranean cafe (tentatively named Amba) is slated to open at 6464 Moraga Ave. The owners are reportedly in the permit process now, with no firm opening date.

Meanwhile, there’s still no information on who might be interested in moving into the old Jamba Juice location, but it will probably remain a food outlet of some sort.

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2 thoughts on “Town Crier: Montclair parking fee changes defy logic

  1. Why do drivers feel like they have an entitlement to warehouse private vehicles on public land at free or subsidized rates? Parking is a commodity, not a right, and free market pricing rates should be used for street parking. I’d rather see public space currently used as a wasteland for private auto parking be converted to other uses like bigger sidewalks, bike lanes or green space. If business owners want their customers to have parking convenience to encourage them to shop there, they should buy land for a parking lot or build a garage. Oakland is simply bringing parking closer to the market rate, which is still subsidized and still relatively low by the way. You’re so used to your parking entitlements that you start to cry when you have to actually pay for the commodity you consume. This is always how the entitled behave. Go ahead and drive elsewhere to shop. Guess what?! You will be spending a lot more money in lost time and auto expenses.

  2. It’s no wonder there are so many available parking spaces in Montclair these days. With parking at $2/hr. and the highest sales tax in the State of California, Montclair is not exactly the place where one is encouraged to browse and shop.

    The comments about why aren’t there wider sidewalks or bike lanes are simply not relevant to this dilemma that our politicians have created. A few good years, high tax revenues and politicians who are better at creating new programs have caused instant deficits when revenues cannot meet the rate of spending.

    Our local politicians are no different from those at the State and Federal levels; they treat any new revenues as easily generated “other peoples money”. And, at the end of the day, they feel exempt from any of the paying that the rest of us must go through. We need to put an end to the overtime accruals and life time benefits that these politicians have created for themselves and their public sector employees. Any family or private businesses run this way would have long since gone bankrupt, which is a direction that many of our cities appear headed toward. There should be two-term limits on all elected politicians. Why should a public employee be able to retire with a pension far grater than the highest salary he/she earned as a full-time employee?

    I have reached the conclusion that in the future, I am not voting for any new bond issues that call for the generation and expenditure of additional revenues.

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