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City Council Delays Decision on Citywide Parking Meter and Permit Plan

5 mins read

Emeryville city staff presented their latest Parking Management draft plan to the public at the July 24th Council meeting. The item’s presentation did not commence until after 9 p.m. and lasted nearly two hours. The final adoption of the contentious plan was ultimately delayed by Council.

The agenda item was slated for final adoption by our council after the previous draft was presented to the public at a June 19th Study Session. Changes to the proposed plan from this study session included increasing the number of residential parking permits allowed to three per household, adjusting the fee structure for residential permits and providing additional details on business permit fees and the process for applying for them.

The revised plan was presented by the City’s Community Economic Development Coordinator, Amber Evans. She emphasized that there would be exceptions and an appeals process for all permit applicants including those with special circumstances.

The above draft report implemented feedback from the June 19th Study Session.

Neighbors and Businesses Owners Weigh In

Over a dozen community members were in attendance or emailed council prior to provide their input. The majority of whom cited the lack of need for any parking management solution in their particular neighborhood or a more hands-off approach for their neighborhood’s particular parking situation.

One business owner on 67th street said he’d prefer that the City merely enforce existing parking laws, especially where parking is most in demand. “Once parking is enforced in those stressed areas, study the results of this enforcement,” said George Martin. “Until you actually enforce existing laws, you are just adding layers and layers upon layers of laws. Just keep it simple!”

During the latter part of the meeting, Mayor John Bauters clarified that enforcement wasn’t possible under existing financial constraints. “I heard a lot of people say, ‘Enforce the existing laws and enforce these things.’ People don’t understand that there is not funding to enforce those things,” said Bauters. “And so the whole point of the system is to generate a revenue neutral scheme that allows us to enforce,”

The draft analysis forecast revenues of over $2.5 million when all three phases of the plan are implemented.

Residents also came out against many of the changes and cited an outsized impact on streets in front of their homes.

53rd street housemates Madelyn Covey, Jordan Pelot and Hava Glick-Landes delivered impassioned pleas to just leave things alone. They cited the lack of need for any parking management on their block.

“Go where these things are going to go up. And look at who actually parks there. Look at how many people are parking there. I don’t have any trouble parking on my block. It’s not congested, it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong,” said Covey. “I don’t know what there is to fix with all of this parking planning. And it’s going to make living in the Bay Area that much harder.”

Pelot noted that permits and meters didn’t really solve the parking problems while living in Berkeley, but that the City of Berkeley did ease the impact of the permit parking in other ways.

“…[In Berkeley] there were at least a few saving graces where there were four or five blocks away there would one block that was un-permitted and you could park there. In this plan, it doesn’t look like there’s a single street that wouldn’t be permitted or metered. If you have a friend staying over or have any other situation, they’re out of luck,” said Pelot.

Glick-Landes noted that meters, as proposed on her street, are not the right solution as there are no storefront businesses on her block. She also took exception to the process of obtaining the low-income/50% discounted permit noting it was lengthy and hardest on those who need the discounted permit the most.

This map showed which streets would be subject to meters, residential and business permitting.

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Resident and BPAC member Tom Modic put forth an idea that resonated with some councilmembers that involved issuing residential parking permits as placards that could be swapped between vehicles within a multi-vehicle household. Modic rationalized that a family with two cars and one driveway spot could maintain some flexibility in choosing which car to put on the street.

During the later part of the meeting, Mayor Bauters and Councilman Scott Donahue pushed to have the placard idea investigated further.

Privacy advocates Chris Jasinski & Tracy Rosenberg with Media Alliance brought up concerns with the capturing of license plate data for enforcement purposes. They point to Senate Bill 34 from 2015, which requires a series of procedures the city must perform, including a public hearing, before moving forward with collection of this type of data.

Two residents made the most cogent points of the evening regarding the parking plan putting pressure on other areas around Emeryville and in adjacent Oakland neighborhoods. “When there’s a mixed-use street like 65th [street], the concern is that people will flee to the free parking area first before they go into the metered parking area,” said 65th street resident Melissa Ma.

Former Emeryville councilmember Ken Bukowski questioned what commercial and office developers were doing with their private parking garages. “We approved major developments and they have parking requirements. So, they couldn’t get approval if they didn’t put parking in the projects. But then they don’t use it for the project,” said Bukowski. “Like Wareham for example, theyt have parking available to the public. Whether they use it for the building or not, as it was approved, doesn’t matter. And that’s something the city needs to take a look at.”

Council Recommends Additional Changes

In response to the public comments, councilmembers spent time addressing the issues presented and brought up new ones. Marking up a map and using a laser pointer, they added, revised, and changed metered and permit parking areas throughout the city. Some of the various changes included the east side of Hollis Street between 59th and 62nd Street, which will now have short-term meters and both sides of Doyle Street. Streets eastward will now all be designated residential and business permit areas with 2-hour parking for visitors. In addition, the spaces under the Powell Street Overpass will have mid-term (four-hour) meters with the ability for businesses with permits to park there for an unlimited amount of time.

Councilwoman Medina and Mayor Bauters questioned why the city couldn’t enforce parking restrictions on streets without concrete curbs and sidewalks. When told by Evans and City Planning & Building Director, Charles Bryant, that some of those parking spaces cut across private and public right of way, Medina was concerned that the City could not figure out who the land belonged to and that they might be giving away valuable land for parking without this information.

Councilmembers had questions about the timing of project milestones going forward. According to Evans, the city received funding from two sources for this project. A non-competitively released pool of funds and a competitively awarded grant under the previously voter approved Measure BB. The latter was a grant under $1 million which the City must spend by July 30, 2019.

“Measure BB funds are under significant pressure to get funds out the door and show progress to taxpayers,” Evans said to the Council.

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After answering clarifying questions about the plan from Evans, Council voted to delay its decision until after they reconvene from their August recess.. Both items are scheduled to be brought back to council at their September 17th meeting. This meeting will be held on a Monday instead of the typical Tuesday meeting time to avoid a conflict with the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur.

The next steps for city staff are to revise the draft final plan to reflect the changes expressed by council. Further, Evans stated that she hopes to have more information and bids on possible technological solutions for payment and enforcement.

For the latest updates on the Parking Management Plan, visit Read the staff report and letters to council on the city’s website.

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Bobby Lee

is a Bay Area native who’s lived in the Christie Core Neighborhood since 2010, Bobby enjoys exploring the far corners of our region, trying the newest restaurants in the area, or relaxing to 80's era television sitcoms and game shows. For the past six years, he's hosted a web video series called 2 Minute Finance teaching basic money management and consumer education.


  1. I wish Mayor Bauters could turn off being a politician for five minutes and be honest with the public. Our Police force gets nearly 40% of our cities budget. The reason they have no resources to dedicate to parking enforcement is because his policies have our officers running around chasing their tails because he doesn’t think that people who steal for a living should be criminalized. Is it really too much to ask to enforce our existing laws?

    • At a town hall at our HOA he said the need for the meters was because non-residents were clogging up residential neighborhoods while commuting via AC Transit. Now the reason is revenue so that city can actually do its job???

      But at that town hall, he brought flashy shiny objects:

      1) renderings of the Public Market project (which will take forever to result in invariably vacant storefronts while the housing units in and above them will likely rival San Francisco prices)


      2) his kicked out of home for being gay–> empathy for homeless sob story

      Of course, my neighbors all ate it up.

      Kudos for him for milking his politician skills. Can’t fault him or any of the other City Council members for serving their own interests.

      Likewise with our chief yoga instructor/police chief. She was selling what a lawsuit-riddled city was buying thanks to a police shooting.

      Everyone can pump their resumes thanks to Emeryville citizens.

      Your neighbors ARE that stupid.

  2. Death to the Emeryville parking plan!!!

    “We are imposing a parking plan where we don’t need it all over the city to create revenue to manage the one or two areas where simple enforcement would solve the problem.”

    Idiotic. You need no additional funds to enforce parking. You need to tell EPD that they need to find one officer hour per day to go put tickets on cars in specific areas. A tiny bit of random enforcement would do wonders.

    Might I suggest that hour could be taken from the time the chief has allocated for yoga. If they truly can’t find the time, let’s work on a two percent reduction in EPD pensions to pay for it.

    Emeryville City Council keeps making a mess of things and never listens to anyone. City wide permits and meters are a BAD idea. Everyone in the city is telling you this.


  3. For the rocket scientists on Emeryville city council who are seriously considering a movable permit to solve some of the other problems Emeryville city council is planning to create, please remember that in Emeryville, thanks to some of your other policies, no one can leave ANYTHING visible in their car at any time or they will find their windows shattered and everything in the car stolen.

    Now, sit back, relax and think about the flaw in the idea of having a movable permit that must be placed visibly in a car, that is not available to everyone, that poor people can’t afford, that gives the holder special privileges, and that is worth somewhere between $66 and $500.

    If it’s still not coming to you, think about why people have to razor blade their registration stickers.

    Just kill the parking plan. It’s a bad idea. It doesn’t address the problem it’s intended to solve. The group that came up with the implementation clearly doesn’t have a clue.

    And the solution to the minimal parking problem that exists in a couple places in Emeryville is really, really, really much simpler than the mess you are creating that everyone is going to blame you for.

    • In a section of the city it is stated there has been an 20% increase in the demand for parking over the last 8 years or so. That same area has not increased the number of residential units during that same time. Yet, the experts state the RESIDENTS must purchase permits or pay at the meter. I wonder what caused the increase?

      As I travel thru the city, I see ample areas where with a little bit of thought; restriping/reconfiguring parking along the street would create additional parking spaces. Take for example Hollis Doyle park, parking diagonally instead of parallel to the curb would increase the number of spaces by 40% (the street is wide enough). Let’s do an inventory of all the spaces available and think how we can maximize before we penalize.

      That along with parking enforcement of existing limits would be the logical course, but as the current city council is hellbent on turning Emeryville into Berkeley South (higher taxes, and entitled liberal polices).

  4. Is there any group that actually wants this parking plan? The businesses don’t seem to want it, the residents don’t want it, the employees are going to despise it.

    Who is it intended to benefit?

  5. Here’s the kicker:

    Per the management plan “the triangle neighborhood is the only area where more than half of parking users are residents, BUT RESIDENTS MAKE UP AT LEAST 15 PERCENT OF PARKERS IN ALL NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE CITY” (emphasis added)

    Bottom line, the residents are not driving the demand. It’s businesses.

  6. Medina can’t figure out who owns property in her own city, but you better believe she knows enough about minimum wages and fair work weeks.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    • You say that now, but wait until it’s implemented and the lack of foresight and real analysis (beyond Bauter’s just throw money at it Progressive Economics 101) becomes apparent.

      Emeryville has allowed the Minimum Wage Ordinance, Fair Work Week, Prop C, Deep Breath PD, and the City has never been at its worst.

      Just wait until those meters and zones and permits come… oh my! You better believe they will be here sooner than later, as soon as City Council thinks people have forgotten about it as most give up on these politics as they should. My guess: impementation will begin by Jan 2019.

      • Yes and you will hear nothing about it but Bauters will be hooting and hollering about train track noise mitigation for days on end.

        Lest one think I am unfairly targeting Bauters – that’s the way he wants it – and lets face it everyone else on city council only talks when RULE and/or SEIU play with their strings.

  7. Ken Bukowski’s point about existing under-utilized garages is important as workers in those buildings don’t want to pay the expensive rates to the Landlords and prefer street parking. Pressure needs to be put on the owners to make the garages available. There was a flaw in the Use Permit process for these buildings that failed to incentivize the affordable use of the garages. The motivation to spend grant money (rather than lose it) for the this parking scheme is ridiculous. The City needs to just enforce the exisiting regulations. The current streets that do have permitted and 2 hour parking is never enforced. The Council is presenting illogical thinking and creating many complications and a waste of time and effort.. These individual are acting like social engineers and are somewhat clueless.

    • The claim there isn’t enough money to enforce the current parking enforcement personnel is very misleading. If you look at the future outlays, in just 5 years the program starts running a deficit. Look out even further and the costs are well above the amount to employ the needed enforcement personnel.

      This means one thing, expanding the parking plan to weeknights and weekends with additional increase to the permit costs.

  8. All you complainers need to show a solution to the ever increasing glut of cars looking for parking spots. To do nothing is no solution. That would be the politically expedient thing to do. It will only get worse with nothing done. The council is trying for a solution.

    • We have and have voiced our opinion at the open forum provided by the city. Most of the suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. To answer your question.. ENFORCE THE CURRENT POLICY.

    • The council is looking for money, not a solution. They can’t effectively run this city besides kumbaya proclamations and paper ideals. The city is broke and lawless.

      Of course, bilking residents and businesses of more hard earned money is the solution.

      Guarantee you the meters will not operable/enforced, loopholes found, and tickets not collected within a year of implementation. Its the Bay Area way.

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