2 goBerkeley public meetings on parking coming up

Parking pay stations in some Berkeley neighborhoods may get new signage as part of goBerkeley. Photo: Alta Planning + Design/goBerkeley

Parking pay stations in some Berkeley neighborhoods may get new signage as part of goBerkeley. Photo: Alta Planning + Design/goBerkeley

Residents will have a chance to weigh in on and learn about proposed parking changes around Berkeley at two meetings coming up within the next week.

The downtown, Telegraph and Elmwood neighborhoods are slated to see changes to metered parking starting in September as part of the goBerkeley pilot campaign underway by the city to cut down on carbon emissions and encourage alternative transportation. The changes would be in place for at least one year, with minor adjustments possible along the way.

At the meetings, city staff will present proposed changes to parking rates and time limits — building on community and City Council input — that are part of the goBerkeley pilot program to improve the parking experience around town.

Thursday night, Aug. 1, residents can attend a meeting from 5-6:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church at 2362 Bancroft Way.

Monday, Aug. 5, a meeting will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St.

(One meeting, at Mrs. Dalloway’s Bookstore on College Avenue, took place Monday.)

Staff proposed changes to metered parking in three commercial districts that are part of the pilot program. Council members said they aren’t likely to extend parking in the Elmwood to 8 p.m. (Click the chart to see the full goBerkeley presentation made earlier this month.)

Ultimately, the city hopes to adjust its 1,700 parking meters to charge more in areas around parking garages to encourage longer-term parkers to use garages rather than surface streets. The hourly rate inside city-owned garages could eventually go down to $1 per hour to spur people to use them more, but that depends in part on the city’s loan commitments in relation to the garages.

goBerkeley is a three-year pilot program that aims, its proponents say, “to improve the ease of traveling within key areas of the city of Berkeley. It will test methods of reducing local traffic congestion, improving parking options, and promoting alternatives to driving one’s personal vehicle.” (A push to use City CarShare vehicles, or those from other shared fleets, is part of the effort.)

The program is funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Climate Initiatives Program ($2 million); the Federal Highways Administration’s Value Pricing Pilot Program ($900,000), and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District ($100,000).

For more information, visit www.goBerkeley.info.

Details unveiled on proposed metered parking changes (07.03.13)
City sets goBerkeley transportation program in motion (06.27.13)
Berkeley council weighs in on parking pilot program (06.12.13)
Parking changes slated for 3 Berkeley business zones (05.23.13)
goBerkeley answers frequently asked questions (City of Berkeley)
Take the goBerkeley parking survey (goBerkeley)

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  • guest

    Three grants are listed. They add up to $11,100,000. Where is that much money going? It seems much too high compared to what is being promised.

  • guest

    Or is that “$9,00,000” supposed to mean “$900,000”? (and even if so, a breakdown of where $3M goes would be interesting, too.)

  • berkopinionator

    Want to cut hundreds of thousands of auto trips, traffic, congestion, tons of air pollution and accidents in Berkeley? Easy: Allow every Berkeley public school student to attend the school that is closest to their home instead of making their parents spend countless hours and dollars driving all over Berkeley clogging up streets and polluting the air to get their kids to school and home.

  • Berkeleyite

    B… but… DIVERSITY!!!

  • emraguso

    Yes — apologies for the extra comma that slipped in there. It has been corrected, and should have read $900,000.

  • rhuberry

    If only all the busing actually created diversity. Diversity is more than skin color. Rich is rich, and poor is poor and they come in all colors. I know. I taught them for years.
    And while we’re at it, how many circuitous routes and congestion would be eliminated if all the bollards were removed? Certain streets get blocked off so the others can accommodate more than their share of traffic. UNFAIR!! The traffic circles “calm” the traffic but at least still let it flow.

  • testit

    The $3,000,000 should be spent on parking garages and they should be free as should street parking. Take a look at Palo Alto to see what a successful parking program looks like. Of course, this is not the Berkeley way.

    As to the claim of “testing methods”, what are the metrics that will be measured and what are the baseline values now. I advocate for transparency in this matter (which appears to be a scheme to raise money and prevent driving even though there is little real alternative). I suggest measuring average and peak traffic rates at intersections, wait time for a parking space, revenue per parking space, sales tax by location, number of parking spaces for each collection point (sales location). My intuition is that ample and free parking near retail, restaurant, and entertainment locations, including all of the new housing that will be built (and presumably the services that support the additional residents) will optimize the total revenue collected by the city (parking, sales tax, and business tax along with the increased property tax that comes from living in a city that has a nice and improving lifestyle).

    However, I expect that Berkeley will suffer through a continuation of “politically correct” notions and regressive policies to achieve the goals of a few activists, in particular, policies that will produce results that are the opposite of the stated goals, probably a reduction in patronage, worse traffic, reduced parking availability, and a generally decreased life style. This is comparable to the injury rate on Marin Ave after the reduction of the number of lanes to a major thoroughfare and no consideration to reverse in the face of the evidence.

    I agree with berkopinionator, the lowest hanging fruit is to let kids go to their neighbor hood schools. I think that the adverse impact of the current policy is far more broad than appreciated. Kids do not generally go to their neighborhood school and are therefore driven to school. One impact of this is that their friends are from other neighborhoods, so kids don’t just go outside and play, they are driven to playdates, or soccer, baseball, swimming, etc. Send kids to their neighborhood schools, have kids play in their neighborhood. This will drastically reduce traffic and improve the social life of our kids and community. As for diversity, if you pay close attention to the social life of kids at the schools they attend, they socially segregate essentially in line with their neighborhoods even at the further distant schools that they attend. This is a failed experiment.

    I am all for experiments but a) they should have stated goals and timelines (and be stated in a manner that can be measured and start with a baseline) and b) the plans should be modified if the expected goals are not achieved or improvements (again measurable) are reasonably envisioned, and c) ended if failure is determined.

  • Chris J

    Bwa ha. Playground politics seems to put the lie to the value of busing in kids from all over town for the sake of…DIVERSITY!

    I’m reminded of how Cal calls for diversity, but the first thing that happens when all pass through Sproul Plaza are myriad attempts by different student groups to break them down again…black students union, Hispanic groups, pre-law, young engineers, medical student wanna-bees.

    Kids choose who they want to hang with.

  • Chris J

    Well, making people pay for the privilege of driving makes sense to me. Good for carbon emissions. If its too expensive or bothersome to drive and park, get out your legs or bike.

    Business owners will contest it, of course. Profit and survivable businesses before breathable air, I say!

  • PragmaticProgressive

    To say nothing of the kids driven from homes much further afield.

  • The_Sharkey

    Who wants to join up with me to start a guerrilla bollard removal gang?
    A lot of the bollards are just set on top of the roadway rather than permanently installed.

    A length of chain, a truck with a winch, and ten to fifteen minutes are all it would take to liberate an intersection from the tyranny of concrete impediments imposed by the transportation tyrants at City Hall…

  • The_Sharkey

    One impact of this is that their friends are from other neighborhoods,
    so kids don’t just go outside and play, they are driven to playdates, or
    soccer, baseball, swimming, etc. Send kids to their neighborhood
    schools, have kids play in their neighborhood.

    This is such a good point I felt it needed to be repeated.
    What will it take to end the failed experiment of busing in Berkeley?

  • Guest

    “One impact of this is that their friends are from other neighborhoods…”

    “As for diversity…they socially segregate essentially in line
    with their neighborhoods…”

    I appreciate some of the points raised in the above post, but these seem to conflict.

  • suckatash

    Are you kidding me? Parking fees to reduced emissions? Close streets and make everything a bike lane. Or make streets only available to electric vehicles. Maybe. But really. Let’s stop with the pitiful token efforts. That’s what Berkeley is best at. Symbolic efforts that do nothing but enrich a few. And hurt local businesses in the process. Bravo.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Bollards were on the ballot, and they were approved by the majority of Berkeley residents. They were not imposed by city hall.

    Sharkey, I know you are strongly against programs that are unfair because they protect one neighborhood and not another. But in this case, the only real choices are

    — protecting most neighborhoods with bollards, as we now do.
    — protecting no neighborhoods by removing the bollards.

    Note that, if we removed the bollards, we would still have unfair transportation policy, but the division would be between flatland streets, which would not be protected, and most hill streets, which are protected because they were made curvy to keep off through traffic.

    The bollards give most flatlands streets the same protection that most streets in the hills have always had.

  • Charles_Siegel

    I think not only parking should be free. Food and housing should also be free, since they are much more important to survival.

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could get everything for free, with the government providing it for us? But history has shown that socialism does not work.

    Many people still seem to believe in socialism for the automobile, though they believe in capitalism for everything else. Socialism created shortages of products in the Soviet Union, with people lining up to try to buy scarce products. Likewise, socialism for the automobile creates shortages of parking in the United States, with people circling the block looking for scarce parking spaces.

    The solution is market pricing. Economics 101 tells us that we should set prices at a level that creates an equilibrium between supply and demand.

    I am sure you will be surprised to hear that this program does have measurable goals, and they are planning to modify it to achieve those goals. Try reading some of the earlier articles about the program – or read some articles about SFPark, the existing San Francisco program that has similar goals and methods.

  • The_Sharkey

    “Protection” from what?
    If evenly distributed throughout the city (or even just the flatlands) the amount of traffic could be greatly decreased on sacrifice roads with only minor upticks in traffic on other streets.

    I don’t mind traffic solutions that push drivers into commercial areas, but right now the bollard layout is haphazard at best and shows no real sign of any overarching plan.

    I’d rather see fewer bollards and more speed bumps, which actually do the job of slowing traffic to safe speeds, than bollards which turn some neighborhoods into ridiculous mazes and force drivers to take circuitous routes that add needless wear and tear on roads and burn fuel.

  • The_Sharkey

    According to the City, the first bollards were installed without voter approval, and the only votes on the issue were repeated attempts to get rid of them in the 1970s that failed by 44% & 47% votes.


  • Charles_Siegel

    That is true. They were installed by a vote of the city council – like most laws. Then opponents put them on the ballot. But opponents failed, because the majority of the people in Berkeley voted to keep the bollards.

  • Charles_Siegel

    I actually agree with you. I also prefer speed humps to bollards and prefer slowing traffic to diverting it.

    However, I believe there is still a moratorium on new speed humps, because of objections from the disability commission. Maybe the moratorium has been lifted without my hearing about it.

  • serkes

    It all depends where you place the 0

  • Charles_Siegel

    I just got some information by email that related to these measurable goals and results. A similar program in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City has had the following results after one year in operation:

    — VMT spent cruising for parking decreased from 104.7 million km to 23.9 million km
    — CO2 emissions cruising for parking decreased from 23,000 tons to 5,000 tons
    — Gasoline consumption cruising for parking decreased 9.9 million to 2.2 million liters

    In other words, cruising for parking decreased by more than 75%. In addition to the environmental benefits, this is also a huge benefit in terms of convenience for people looking for parking – and I suspect that also means a benefit for businesses that rely on this parking.