By Linda Hemmila
New parking signs have arrived in a Berkeley neighborhood that has been the focus of discontent and confusion over parking restrictions over the past few months — but not everyone thinks they are an improvement on the previous signage.
In early January, we reported on efforts by residents and workers in the area surrounding Trader Joe’s in downtown Berkeley to help drivers avoid parking citations. Handmade signs warning of what they saw as poorly signalled restrictions were erected on private properties and on trees and lamposts in the neighborhood.
Neighbors also voiced complaints that a local towing company was taking advantage of the confusion by swooping in to tow cars whose drivers had misunderstood the parking regulations.
The new signs show a large “P” with a cross through it and they detail both the time period when parking is not permitted on a particular side of the street, and the exceptions.
One member of the neighborhood group that put up handmade signs last December warning people of the parking problems said: “I pretty much see the same lack of real warning — tiny lettering, signs far apart and not big enough, not enough attention-getting difference, sign only printed on one side. Therefore, I’m seeing the same amount of ticketing and non-E parkers still parking in E-Zones.”
Anthony Sanchez, legislative aid to councilmember Jesse Arreguín, who called for the new signs and who has been working with citizens to get some parking citations revoked, thinks the new signs are an improvement. “The previous signs simply had a small, slapped “No Parking” sticker atop an otherwise familiar 2-hour parking sign,” he said. “My hope is that these new signs will go a long way in helping drivers who park in good faith clearly understand the posted rules so they are not surprised with a hefty ticket.”