Town Crier: Outcry continues over Oakland’s new parking rules


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – July 25, 2009

DON’T LOOK NOW, but we’ve hit the trifecta. Our city, state and federal governments are broke. Too bad we didn’t bet on it, and now we’re left holding the bag. What’s so interesting is the confusion over basic economic principles. Take Oakland for instance. Business revenue is down. Rather than make it more inviting to shop here, thus bolstering small business and increasing tax revenue, the city drives business away with its new parking policies.It would be different if people were dying to get into Oakland but please, there are too many shopping alternatives.

Here are some of this week’s e-mails on the topic:

“I’ve had nothing but frustration and non-replies fighting a parking ticket. At the parking machine, a couple ahead of me was having trouble with their credit card. By the time I obtained my ticket and returned to the car, a ticket was in the process of being written, and the parking official refused to discard the ticket.”

— John Castaldi

“Parking meters have been challenged in court many times, but are considered legal if the parking meters are used for purposes of parking regulation and not for revenue purposes. I haven’t looked at the Oakland Charter but I wonder if it’s legal to raise the parking meter rates in our ‘fair’ city.”

— Frank Zamacona

“The tickets for parking the wrong way on the street cite Oakland Municipal Code Sec. 10.28.040(B). Under that ordinance as currently written, those tickets are not valid. Repainting parking spots, providing clear signage and instructions for the pay kiosks, citing improper handicapped placard usage (especially downtown) and removing dangerous parking meter poles should be part of Oakland’s renewed vigilance, not writing tickets for laws not on the books.”— Nora Levine

Are Oakland’s aggressive new parking policies driving away business? Take my quick poll at www.ginnyprior.com and I’ll publish the results next week.

About Town: If you hang onto something long enough, will it come back in vogue? Oakland’s Claudia Ellinghaus is banking on it. She and her business partner, Lucy Bald, have just opened Everything Vintage Studio in the Glenview District (3506 Woodruff, off MacArthur) and are selling the treasures they’ve found at estate sales to the public. Vintage hats, jewelry and what they call “quirky collectibles” are all bringing buyers for the enterprising gals. The timing isn’t bad either. Most of us can’t afford anything new.

Trail Talk: Who knew a little stretch of walkway could have so many fans? More than 30 people have signed up for the newly formed Friends of the Montclair Railroad Trail group. Meeting for the first time last week, the volunteers want things such as better signage, smoother pavement, graffiti removal and stricter dog regulations. If you’d like to join before its next meeting this fall, contact Councilwoman Jean Quan’s office at jquan@oaklandnet.com.

Animal Tales: Oh, those little fingers that do things. Reader John White says he got the surprise of his life last week when he went out to throw the trash and found a fat, frightened raccoon in his garbage can. This is no easy feat, as the lid had a log on top of it. Still, the bandit broke in and ate his fill, then spent two more days trying to get out. When the lid was sprung, the critter lept to the roof, slid down the bark of a nearby Loquat tree and scurried off into the woods.

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7 thoughts on “Town Crier: Outcry continues over Oakland’s new parking rules

  1. After receiving my first parking ticket after the increase. I made a decision not to come to downtown unless I need to take care of city business and I can not conduct business online. I am sadden for those who are not able to pay the fines and there are many who are not or the many businesses who are struggling to survive. $55 for me is a week of groceries for my family.

    There were no official warnings or visible signage other than what was printed in the newspaper informing residents of the increase or extended hours. Many people were informed by by getting second hand information from other residents or they discovered the increase by getting ticketed themselves. I know the city is strapped, but I feel as I the city is holding its residents hostage and demanding a bribe for release. The city is destined to meet their financial goals and then some, but is the risk worth it. I think not!

  2. Ginny. I wish everyone would just clam up and get on with their lives. As if parking were a civil liberty issue. Pay the meter, park between the lines and get on with your lives already. Big deal $2.00 to park? I’m so tired of everyone carrying on about parking in Montclair. Be glad we have a great village, parking (and a lot if you want to use it) and are helping create revenue for the city. $2.00 an hour. How about .25 for mins in SF? I mean–enough already, read the directions, follow along and stop whining. For those who have received tickets in error–what are we talking, less than 1% of all parkers? Enough already. We all get our share of “bad” tickets. Deal with it.

  3. Hi Ginny,
    I couldn’t believe how quickly all the parking meter changes were made. First I knew of it was when the Grand Lake Theater put up their huge sign in protest; I figured the changes had yet to come.

    Luckily, I haven’t been fined, but I agree with those up in arms — it is excessive. Jonathan doesn’t realize that it only takes the one last straw to send shoppers elsewhere.

    However, I will continue to shop here as long as the grocery stores and McCaulous offer free parking. I often walk to the village in order to make small purchases and I intend to continue supporting local merchants.

  4. 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.
    Go ahead and drive elsewhere to shop. Guess what?! You will be spending a lot more money in lost time and auto expenses.

  5. The two hour parking-meter enforcement extension from 6–8 PM has changed my dining, grazing and happy-hour patterns. College, Piedmont and downtown Telegraph avenues have become “locus non gratis.” Alameda, Lamorinda, San Leandro and places like Quinn’s, the Warehouse or Tiki Tom’s are now odds-on favorites, with their free lots or unmetered streets. I refuse to pay for water or parking, and plot my entertainment accordingly.

  6. David, that’s your choice, but consider that the $4 you save on parking is offset by the $5-10 you spend driving farther.

  7. I don’t mind paying more for parking or even the extended hours in principal but I got a ticket a couple of weeks ago for parking when the hours had been extended and I would have fed the meters had I known. There was no signage about the change in the lot. I felt a bit tricked.

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