New parking signs after neighborhood action

A new parking sign (larger at back) joins two others on Berkeley Way. Photo: 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.”

Local towing company spotlighted in parking ruckus [01.18.12]
Parking around Trader Joe’s sparks vigilante action [01.05.12]

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  • Anonymous

    Sing with me:

    I saw the signs,
    and they resulted in fines, I saw the signs.
    Parking’s demanding, with poor transit planning.
    I saw the signs,
    and they resulted in fines, I saw the signs.
    No one’s gonna give up their spot to let you park for very long
    But where can you park long?

  • Information overload.

    I’m glad something was done about this (big thanks to Mr. Sanchez & Mr. Arreguín for tackling this problem), but that conglomeration of signs is a nightmare to look at.

  • While I’m all for improving things, if you are capable of piloting a 2,500lbs + hunk of steel at 30 mph in a busy city where a mistake can cost lives, you should be able to figure out even poorly designed parking signs.

  • Anonymous

    Im confused. Arent the top and lower right signs conflicting? One says no parking, and the other says 10 minute parking, which is the shortest period ive ever seen.

  • Jenny

    Less confusing, to be sure.  Note to self: Just don’t park there.

  • I think the sign is positioned on a divide between two different areas with different rules, so it’s supposed to be “NO PARKING” to the left, and “10 Minute Parking” to the right?

    But that’s just a guess. I haven’t seen this sign in situ yet.

  • Completely Serious

    There are an awful lot of people in Berkeley who feel themselves “capable of piloting a 2,500lbs + hunk of steel” who aren’t.  That may be the problem.

    Really, how hard is it:

    If you have an E sticker, you can park here.
    If you don’t have an E sticker, you can’t park here.
    No one can park here on street sweeping days.

  • FiatSlug

    The top sign and the lower right sign are actually complimentary it seems.
    Top sign tells me: You cannot park here from 8 AM to 7 PM, Monday thru Saturday EXCEPT if you have an Area E sticker.
    Lower right sign tells me: 10 minute parking enforced 7 AM to 7 PM on Sundays and Holidays.
    Lower left sign tells me: NO PARKING 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM the 2nd Tuesday of each month for Street Sweeping.

    COMMENTARY: The lower right sign DOES NOT MAKE AND EXCEPTION for people with Area E stickers (e.g., residents).  This is punitive to residents, it seems to me.  And really dumb.

  • But you can park there without an E sticker after certain hours.
    And apparently certain people are able to park there for 10 minutes during certain hours, but they’re not clear about who that is.

  • Bishop G. Berkeley

    I can recommend a few excellent articles on statutory construction.  Just swing by your local law school (they have one at Cal) and the reference librarians will be happy to help you — they’re mostly found in dusty Law Review articles. 

    Pay a few bucks for a copy, and then whenever you shop at Trader Joe’s you can whip out, say, John May’s “Statutory Construction:  Not for the Timid” and decide whether the top sign is an example of “expressio unius est exclusio alterius,” or, perhaps, whether the 10-minute sign is an example of “generalia specialibus non derogant” or just “noscitur a sociis.”  Simple enough, eh?

    Of course, it’s all Greek to me…

  •  I agree, those signs are ridiculous.

    No parking from 8am-7pm says one sign.

    Another contradictory sign says 10 min parking from 7am-7pm.

    The way I read those signs is that everyone, including E permits get a ticket if they are there for longer than 10 minutes between 0700-1900

  • No, not punitive. This is Berkeley City Government in action. Act first, think later!

  • eval


     I’m in my 50’s have a graduate degree and STILL don’t understand this. Guess I’ll just go to TJs in El Cerrito where the parking issues are well delineated. Life’s too short!

  • Anonymous

    The signs make more sense when you see their position to colored curbs. But the bottomline is this: Not only are some of our signs confusing, we often have too many.

    I already have an item of for the 28th that will create a parking sign task force similar to New York City. The purpose of the task force is to audit our signs for clarity, simplicity and conspicuity. One of the things I want to see done is a condensing and merging of signs where we have many, but where often one or few would do.

    It’s a mess out there, likely an outgrowth of changing regulations and the ease of adding an addendum rather than a new, consolidated sign (or just too many parking regulations).

  • Anonymous

    I am assuming, too, but yes, the signs match up with colored curbs.

  • Anonymous

    By and large, yes. If one took the time to thoroughly examine the signs, one would know the rules. The problem was that we took a ubiquitous and universal 2 Hour RPP sign and slapped a small NO PARKING sticker on the top -Basically, a sign within a familiar sign. People mistakenly thought it was 2 Hours like all other Green 2 Hour RPP signs in Berkeley.

  • RMS

    Ideally we need Two hour Parking  downtown across the board to support Merchant business and no meters!  Berkeley’s curbs are faded and can never tell which color some are.
    As the population ages not everyone will be taking the crazy ride em cowboy get tossed around  AC Transit buses that don’t always show up as scheduled.
    How about a Berkeley Roundabout Free Bus from Downtown along University to 4th street and back  like the  FREE bus to Jack London or the Emeryville Go- round that leaves from MacArthur BART?

  • Anonymous

    My interpretation:

    No one can park there 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm on 2nd Tuesday

    Anyone can park there for 10 minutes from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm except you can’t park there between 8 am and 7 pm (???) unless you have E permit.  If you do have an E permit, you can only park there for 10 minutes.

    If this is how Berkeley does the parking signage, it does make you wonder what the permit process would be to start a new business.

    The same intern who does the Permit Process flow chart could work on the Street Parking Flow Chart once they’re in graduate school.


  • Ira Serkes

    No parking during street weeping hours
    Unless you have an E permit to can only park 10 minutes between 7 am and 7 pm Mon- Sat (I think it includes sat on sign, of it the Mon-Fri)


  • Ira Serkes

    Looks like i installed the prescient auto-correct app in my iPhone

  • EBGuy

    Better put on your tin foil hat; it knows what you’re thinking.  Perhaps I’m being too conspiratorial.  Maybe the GPS noted you were in Berkeley and the AI algorithm took over.

  • EBGuy

    Again I ask, why have we privatized half the street for the benefit of a few homeowners.  The city’s own research shows:
    “Parking surveys conducted in May 2010 before the store opened, and in January
    2011 after the store had been operating for more than six months, concluded that
    the overall parking occupancy in the neighborhood did not increase with the
    presence of Trader Joe’s, and there tended to be parking available on both the
    modified and regular RPP sides of the street. This suggests that the anticipated
    parking demand increase that the RPP modifications were made to address has
    City Council tear down those signs!

  • Charles_Siegel

     The lower right sign seems to be a loading zone.  It has to be available for deliveries from 7AM to 7PM, so it cannot make an exception for people with Area E stickers.

  • I agree completely. The new signs may still be a bit confusing, but they are a huge improvement over what was there before.

  • Mmmmmmmaybe because them there homeowners is payin’ some pretty steep property tax and all the myriad parcel taxes associated with ownin’ property in Berkeley?

    Just a guess.

  • It took me a minute, but I laughed out loud when I realized what you were talking about.
    I wonder if there will be gnashing of teeth hours as well?  :)

  • EBGuy

    One of the main anti-TJs agitators has lived in the same rent controlled unit for 15 years, so I’m not sure that’s really it.  The private (err, preferential) parking zones are in Jesse Arreguin’s district, so that explains why Anthony S. has not replied to any of my posts. I don’t blame him for not wanting to have a bunch of PO’d constituents that have to share their parking with others.

  • guest

    Metered parking benefits merchants by increasing customer turnover. Downtown business are not as guilt-free as they would have you believe. Also if I am shopping at Trader Joe’s I go to the El Cerrito location because of the mostly hassle-free outdoor parking.