26
Jan
09

Holiday Parking All Year Long

Remember those great holiday days, when you could park free in Montclair Village?  Unfortunately, the world has reverted back to its ugly self.  If you manage to arrive back at your car after meter time has expired, then be prepared to cough up a whopping $75 fine – I know first-hand.

Time for confession: Well, I headed to the Village with only an errand or two in mind, and ignored the garage option.  Instead, I pounced on a coveted LaSalle spot.  After quickly cursing the new-fangled meter, it produced a receipt which I gently placed on the dash.  This should be a fast one, I thought.

Parking Meter-Machines

The problem begins: My errands included minor visits to UPS and the ATM, and yours might be equally riveting.  Mission accomplished, I wandered over to both bookstores because they were calling my name.  Yes, the meter was completely forgotten.

When I ventured back to the car, the “envelope of doom” was tucked under the windshield wiper.  The ticketing officer seemed to be quite efficient and clearly won this round.

No real winners: I understand that meters are an income source for the City of Oakland and our dollars can help the cause.  At the same time, these time constraints also mean we have to shop quickly and get out of Dodge.  This doesn’t feel like the right way to attract business and support our local shop-keepers during a recession.

By encouraging and rewarding loitering, we surely would spend more shekels in the Village.  Let’s return to holiday parking – or at least move beyond free Sundays for starters.  What do you think?

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4 Responses to “Holiday Parking All Year Long”


  1. 1 Andy K
    January 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Well, free parking leads to more driving, less turnover of parking which makes it harder to find parking, etc. I don’t think this will increase business, in fact it might have the reverse effect as the few spaces that are in the village would be filled longer.

    I rarely (never) decide on going to a place because the parking is free or easy. I might change the way I go by taking BART to SF, riding a bike, walking, etc.

    For trips to the village, I either ride my bike or walk down, park on Cortereal Ave. above the village, park at Lucky or park in the garage if it is going to be a long trip. Sometimes I will use a metered space.

    I am sure that you have heard of the book “The High Cost of Free Parking” – haven’t read it (yet) however I have heard the author speak. He suggest that street parking should be “sold” at the market rate – i. e. the same rate as the parking garages. This would cut down on people driving around and around trying to find the free spaces – instead they would just head to the garage. This cuts down on congestion, exhaust, etc.?

    By the way, isn’t the garage rate in Montclair the same as the street rate?

  2. January 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I tend to walk down to the village if I’m not going to be carrying much back up the hill, or trip-link with a Lucky’s trip mixed in. It’s not so much paying for parking as I hate the traffic through the village. Lots of people searching for parking, lots of crosswalks to watch out for pedestrians in, all makes for a less than lovely driving experience.

  3. 3 Max Allstadt - via montclairoak
    February 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    From: Max Allstadt
    At: Living in the O
    Posting: Debunking driving & transportation myths

    Re: myth 7.

    NO WAY should parking on Montclair Streets be free.

    Parking tickets are already the most regressive form of funds generation in any city. Poorer people are less likely to have off street parking at home. Poorer neighborhoods have more street sweeping hours. San Pablo Ave is swept EVERY night from 12-3am. In Temescal, Rockridge and on Piedmont Avenue, you can park overnight on the main drag.

    And the real regressive part is that if I get a $40 ticket, that’s 2% of my monthly income. If a modestly well paid lawyer gets the same ticket, it’s 0.2% of his monthly income.

    So no. No free parking in Montclair. It should cost more, and the tickets should cost more too.

  4. 4 Max Allstadt
    February 3, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Hey, Thanks for the repost.

    Bear in mind that I’m only talking about street parking. Street parking clogs traffic, and street sweeping has been repeatedly misused as a way to create ticket revenue rather than a way to keep streets clean. Nightly street cleaning has been implemented on numerous streets in the flatlands as an excuse to herd homeless people who live in their cars.

    Cheap or free off-street parking, in municipally owned lots and structures, is a wonderful thing. Ever park in Santa Barbara? They’ve implemented this strategy, and it’s easy, the prices aren’t outrageous, it’s a strong asset to retailers. They even coordinate their street parking rules with their parking lot rules. The rare on-street spots are all 75 minute maximums. The lots are 75 minutes for free.

    Thus, in SB quick errands or lunch in downtown are encouraged. The people who get charged are the commuters, who are a reliable staple, and the window shoppers, moviegoers and tourists, who are already in spending mode. It’s sensible, fair, and financially sustainable.


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