Residential Parking Permits on Council's Agenda

Council members will discuss a program to regulate on-street parking on weekdays in parking permit districts within the city, which will include Montecito, Dominican, Gerstle Park and Latham Street.

San Rafael City Council members will discuss in their Monday meeting if the city needs a residential permit program to solve parking problems in neighborhoods like Montecito and Gerstle Park.

The program – the result of several requests from the community regarding parking availability in their neighborhoods – would be self-sustaining. The permit would allow for onstreet parking without time restriction within a specific neighborhood and would limit other cars to two or four hours during peak times. A start-up fee of $150 and then $85 per year would cover the cost of the program, according to the staff report.

Parking enforcement is currently focused on downtown San Rafael. During a study session in July 2012, councilmembers and the community questioned if a permit program would solve the problem for limited parking in the surrounding neighborhoods or just move the problem to another area.

“Getting a parking permit doesn’t guarantee you a parking space. It gives you a hunting license to find one,” City Manager Nancy Mackle said at the July meeting.

Other concerns raised during the study session were the amount of enforcement that would be required, as well as the time limit for other cars. Parking overflow in the Montecito neighborhood comes from the nearby shopping center, where many employees are encouraged to park in the surrounding area so they can leave spaces open to potential customers. The problem is expected to get worse when the Sonoma-Marin Area Transit Rail begins operating in 2015.

To start the program, neighbors within a parking district must distribute, collect and submit a city-created and approved petition that represents at least 67 percent of those within a parking permit district. A minimum of 1,500 residences must participate for the program to pay for itself, according to the staff report.

Other Agenda Items

The council will also interview applicants for the Board of Library Trustees, and Parks and Recreation Commission.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at City Hall at 1400 Fifth Ave.

Do you think your neighborhood needs a parking permit program? Tell us in the comments.


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Daniel Holeman January 07, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Just what we need! More regulation, more rules, more laws, less freedom, more control, more government telling us what to do and punishing us when we don't live the way they want. This new council member is going to be looked into. This is the solution to everything - more fines more payments we owe to the city government so they can live fat-ass lives off of us. As if there are not already enough fees. We need less Council members who think this way. Get a little power and start thinking how can I RULE these people and get fat doing it. You are here and being paid by us to SERVE not rule. This kind of thinking of yours says you are not having the attitude of service.
Ryan Ricco-Pena January 08, 2013 at 12:00 AM
"Tell us in the comments section" Really!? Comments sections are the bane of the internet. What's the point when my comment follows Daniel's? How can we have an intelligent conversation about public policy when these comment threads are laced with ignorance so immense that its deafens any reasonable solutions?
Ryan Ricco-Pena January 08, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Not for nothing, but the parking permit policy adopted by the city ensures that no program will ever get off the ground. If you read the fine print you find out that there are many large hurdles to overcome. The initial permit cost is $250 for the first year, too high for a majority of residents. 66% of residents in neighborhoods would have to agree, 51% would have to buy permits, and a minimum of 1000 citizens would have to buy permits in order for the city to pay for a traffic study. And only if the study said that 75% of parking spaces were filled 75% of the time, would the city start the program. Sheeeesh! Its almost as if the policy was designed to be as hard and onerous for citizens as possible.


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