Berkeley resident parking fees set to rise 30%

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The annual fee for residential parking permits will go up 30% this year. Photo: Lance Knobel

Berkeley City Council agreed on Tuesday night to raise the cost for the annual residential parking permit from $34.50 to $45, a 30% increase. The increase was a compromise following a recommendation from city staff that a 60% increase was necessary to cover the full costs of the Residential Preferential Parking program (RPP).

The RPP is projected to have revenues of nearly $1.6 million for the city in the 2013 fiscal year. But that barely covers the cost of parking enforcement, while the $311,000 cost of permit issuance and $105,000 cost for the transportation to administer the program results in overall losses. When the city council considered overall budget shortfalls in January, it instructed city staff to find ways to cover the RPP program losses. 

City transportation head Farid Javandel introduced the staff recommendation for a 60% increase at Tuesday night’s meeting. Two members of the public spoke in opposition to the increase.

“I’m sure there would be many more people here to object to it if they knew about it,” said Councilmember Susan Wengraf. “It’s only the people who live here who bear the burden of the program. Why can’t we increase the violation fee? The costs at least should be shared between the residents and the violators.”

Wengraf also suggested that the limit on one-day passes, currently 20 a year, should be increased to 50, and the availability of two-week passes should be increased.

Echoing Wengraf, Councilmember Linda Maio suggested that city staff bring back a proposal to the council with other options to close the program deficit. City Manager Christine Daniel said that because renewal notices for RPP go out in mid-April, any delay would mean increases would be delayed for one year. Mayor Tom Bates suggested the compromise position of a $10.50 increase this year, with other changes to the program to be considered by the council at a later date.

Bates said if additional fees could be raised from the program it could be used for the city’s climate action plan. Several members echoed that discouraging cars would help the city’s climate efforts. City staff were encouraged to look into higher costs for multiple permits for single households in future.

“If we raise the fee $10, that’s three cappuccinos,” said Councilmember Gordon Wozniak. “People focus on the percentage increase, but if you raise something from zero to $1, that’s an infinite percentage increase.”

“There are lots of people who don’t drink $3.50 cappuccinos every day,” said Councilmember Laurie Capitelli. “I’m loath to raise these fees without comprehensively looking at it.”

In addition to the 30% increase to the residential and in-home care permit, the council agreed to raise the price of the community-serving facility permit from $46 to $56 and the merchant permit from $114 to $125. The various non-annual fees, such as the one-day passes, were not changed.

Capitelli and Councilmember Kriss Worthington were the only members to vote against the increase.

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  • guest

    Spending all one’s time imagining the future or revising the past must explain why our Constant Comment Group (CCG) has no cars or houses in front of which they expect to park.

    Remember circling your block ten times after a full days work, looking for a spot, then double parking to off load the kids and groceries? Why? Because UC employees and students parked the street all up at noon. THAT IS THE REAL PAST which our CCG is too young or too old to recall.

  • guest

    When you grow up and buy a house, won’t you want to park on the same block your house is on?

  • AnthonySanchez

    I am grown up, and I do own, but that’s irrelevant.

    The higher permit fees will better allow someone to park on their block through maintaining the level of enforcement currently provided. And I do agree in increasing the fines to dissuade violators -I only meant that we cannot rely solely on fine increases since enforcement is what makes those fines real.

  • Guest123

    Tony spends most of his time at his girlfriend’s place, not in Berkeley.

  • Name

    I am confident that you can come up with better attacks than this. Try harder!

  • guest

    What scared you? The full day’s work thing?

  • http://twitter.com/kinglet749 kinglet749

    Why any resident should have to pay for a permit to park in front of their own house is beyond me. Especially when the neighborhood has no competing parking pressure. I may live in an “unrealistically expensive” apartment in the 94708, but I pay $200 more to live by myself, with million dollar views and no utilities than my contemporaries pay to share a room in a five person house PLUS utilities. It is all unreasonable. Charging any resident who owns a car to support a money-losing program is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. It is both anti-resident AND anti-business. And that’s hard to do.

  • guest

    You are one of Berkeley’s houseless population. Buy a Sunday paper and look at what even crappy looking houses sell for in 94708, then calculate the monthly mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. and you’ll see how puny your rent is.

    I too live in that zip code, close to campus, and not one garage in my neighborhood has a CAR in it. They’re full of bikes and boxes, bed frames…so we park on the street. Without restricted parking we’d never park within blocks of our house.

    Trust me, when you own a house, you’ll want to park near it.

  • guest

    “…why should Berkeley residents have to pay to park in front of their homes on the streets…”

    Da Finster, can you really be that dim? If you live anywhere near campus, you’d never find a parking place without restricted parking.

  • guest

    Actually, in this thread between Sharkey and Eric, i would say that for once i see Sharkey using his intellect honestly instead of just mindlessly supporting the establishment, and coming up with obfuscating, complex arguments to do so. And I hate cars.

    (Sharkey, more of this, plz)

  • guest

    >citation needed

  • curiousjorge

    I live on Chestnut too, and I’d love it if they put in RPP. Finding a parking space is a huge pain in the ass compared to when I used to live on a controlled block. Bring on the fees and the benefits that follow.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    No there wouldn’t. Have you ever done a job where irate people feel free to vent on you all the time? it’s not fun. People shy away from jobs involving confrontation because of the stress it involves.

    Let’s go further – let’s say we privatized it – then you have a merry-go-round of employees because no one will be willing to put up with the bs because of what it pays and then revenue shortfalls occur because no one will want to enforce the law because private employers generally won’t support their employees (not that municipalities do either – that’s why they have to be unionized).

    Further I take offense to someone underlining the costs of the frontline employees when their managers and supervisors get a free pass – they set the staffing levels – and generally get bonuses for reducing front line employees.

  • destroy_all_monsters

    And yet you do not. I wonder why that is?

    I do hope you’ve watered thoroughly around your straw man – wouldn’t want him to catch fire.

  • pgm554

    I used to come to Berkeley a couple of times a month to shop and hang out.

    But between the speed bumps,parking meters and congestion caused by the nimby folks.I curtail my trips to maybe once a month ,which means the couple of hundred I drop on shopping no longer finds its way into the local business coffers.

    I guess empty building fronts and businesses on the verge of collapse are the way of life in that part of the bay.

    You’ve pretty much killed Telegraph,so I guess Shattuck and University are next.