Richmond seeks solutions for high-demand parking areas

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    Richmond council unanimously approves neighborhood parking permit proposal
    Parking pay stations in Point Richmond? It’s possible. On Tuesday, Richmond City Council directed city staff to come up with solutions to widespread complaints over a lack of parking in some city areas. City staff is proposing to install more time-limit zones in high-demand areas to prevent all-day parking, and possibly pay stations where parking is most difficult to find. To assist residents living in those high-demand areas — including the downtown corridor, 23rd Street, Point Richmond and near Contra Costa College — the city is also proposing to implement a neighborhood parking permit program. Under such a program, residents could apply with the city for a pass to park all day in their neighborhoods despite time zones. Evans said these are just some parking management ideas that could bring relief to areas, some of which are becoming more strained by development. Evans pointed to the downtown corridor as an area in need. Folks who patron or work for BART, Kaiser Permanente, and the U.S. Social Security Building “are all competing for a limited amount of parking,” she said. While the BART parking garage offers 750 spaces, its parking administrator says that by 8:30 a.m. “they have 250 vehicles looking around the city looking for parking,” Evans said. “Where do they park? Residential areas,” she said. The same problem happens near Contra Costa College. Some of the school’s thousands of students either can’t or won’t pay for a $45 quarterly campus parking permit, so they’ll park in local neighborhoods, Evans said. On 23rd Street, 2-hour time zones were recently implemented to prevent longterm parkers from stealing spaces from employees and patrons of local businesses. A neighborhood parking permit program would assist residents who live near 23rd Street who are having to move their cars every 2 hours or face a ticket, officials say. “I have had individuals on 23rd ask me when these permits are going to be available,” Councilmember Eduardo Martinez said. On Tuesday, Richmond council voted in favor of vetting the solution with community members and drafting a proposed parking management ordinance. Councilmember Vinay Pimple, who abstained from the vote, said he needed more analysis of the proposals, including their cost to the city’s general fund and whether parking restrictions are enforceable. Mayor Tom Butt pledged support for drafting an ordinance, but challenged the city’s depiction of the parking problem in Point Richmond. “I’ve lived and worked in Point Richmond for in excess of 30 years, and the entire time I’ve heard people [complain about parking],” the mayor said. “And yet I see these same people who own these businesses and work there and they park in front of their businesses all day long.”

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