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Lower fee hike recommended for residential parking

on September 23, 2008


Sept. 23 — In a compromise over city parking costs, the City Council finance committee agreed today to recommend moderate residential parking permit fee increases — in exchange for starting a performance audit into what was repeatedly called an “inefficient” parking division.

“I don’t think it’s fair,”  said Councilwoman Jane Brunner (North Oakland),  as the council’s finance

 committee met to consider increases that would have more than doubled fees for parking permits throughout the city in an effort to make up for more than a decade without a fee increase.

“I do not believe it is a good policy to increase a fee by 300 percent,” Brunner said. “It’s not the residents’ fault that it hasn’t been increased for 10 years.”

The increases would have raised the fee for initial residential parking permits from $25 to $60, the renewal fee for residential parking from $15 to $50, and the business permit fee from $75 to $110. Officials said the increases would have the biggest impact on the North Oakland neighborhood of Rockridge, which have the highest number of parking permits because of the College Avenue business district and the nearby BART station.

Brunner proposed comparatively moderate increases, raising the initial residential parking permit fee to $35, the renewal fee to $20 and the business fee to $85.

“There are areas around Children’s Hospital and the MacArthur BART that, to buy the permit – $15 is a lot,” said Brunner. “We need to think about what this is costing the residents. This is not just Rockridge. This is the whole of North Oakland.”

According to Francine Larkrith-Thompson, who oversees the city’s residential parking program, increases are necessary to offset the cost of operating the program.

But three members of the public, including two Rockridge residents, urged the committee to take a closer look at why the parking division was asking for an increase.

John Gabel, who has lived in Rockridge for 30 years, pointed out that the parking division does everything manually; permit records and renewals are not computerized. Without a computerized database, he said, they can’t make sure all areas are being enforced. For example, in all of 2007, no citations were issued on Taft Avenue, a one-block area off of Broadway.

“Residents are being charged for an inefficient way of handling the program,” said Gabel.

Larkrith-Thompson admitted that Taft and other areas had been “missed,” but defended the city’s enforcement staff.

“If the citizens are paying for permits, they deserve to have their areas enforced,” she said. “We don’t have and never have had one officer doing resident permit parking. We’re stretching staff.”

After hearing the discussion, Councilwoman Nancy Nadel stepped in, calling for a complete review of how the permit-parking program is handled. “I think this should be the next performance audit subject,” said Nadel. “It blows my mind that we could be so inefficient.

The committee agreed to advise the council as a whole to consider Brunner’s increase suggestions as well as a performance audit to help guide them through the next increase, slated for next year. No date was set for a final decision by the council.||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||


  1. elaine kim on June 1, 2009 at 9:03 am

    how did it happen that citations for parking on streets on street cleaning days ended up being $250 or $300?
    doesn’t anyone think that’s out of hand?

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