Nancy Nadel fiddling with JLS mixed use parking permits

Nancy Nadel has requested some changes (PDF!) to the Jack London Square mixed use parking permit program which will come before the Finance & Management Commitee next week. Residents of the area who spent years trying to get the permits are, to put it mildly, not thrilled. More at Jack London News:

This, my neighbors, is CRAP.

First off, the program has been in existence for all of six weeks and only enforced for four weeks. Why are we changing it before even getting settled?! The concern of the City is that they have not sold enough permits. Of course they haven’t! It’s the very beginning of something new. Never mind, they say, that the City has collected a huge amount of revenue from parking tickets. (no amount was available from the City) One parking enforcement person said that he had been writing between 20-30 tickets a day. At $70 per ticket that’s $1400-2100 per day that the City wasn’t getting prior to this permit plan.

Secondly, the businesses that this District has lost over the last 5-10 years because of parking woes are not going to be replaced overnight. It may take years to replace these businesses. How can you expect immediate turnaround for parking to be full with permit holders? Never mind the improvement existing businesses are experiencing because they can finally have clients, customers, and visitors to their businesses. That’s what the plan was all about in the first place – getting Chinatown, train, and BART users to park elsewhere so that the parking in this neighborhood could be used by this neighborhood. It was the goal of this plan that businesses would have a better chance of survival and interest in the area if there was a parking permit plan.

Third, that the City – and especially Nancy Nadel’s office – failed to contact the Jack London District Association prior to requesting this change is REDICULOUS. It affects the District, so the District Association should have been included in the discussions leading up to this prospective change in legislation.

17 thoughts on “Nancy Nadel fiddling with JLS mixed use parking permits

  1. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    The hate mail is rolling in. And Marisa Arrona just got hung up on. I refuse to argue with someone who refuses to see another side to it. “The City is in a deficit year, so if it’s not revenue neutral by the end of the year then the program will have to go.” Okay, so let’s wait and give it a bit more time to gel. If we haven’t hired additional enforcement or bought another vehicle and we don’t have a dedicated person, then HOW are we not revenue neutral? Especially given that either 346 or 364 permits have been sold. The 346 number being given on the phone and 364 via email. Either way, this program has brought in at least $80K in the past five weeks.

    If it goes away and we go back to free parking for all, then the City gets ZERO. ZERO! So how is waiting bad for the existing budget deficit?

    Oh wait, let’s get back some of that money that we gave to Mandela Foods Coop! Or the money used to buy the non-existant teen center.

    Instead, let’s piss of those that didn’t vote for NN. Oh, but wait, as I was just reminded by Ms. Arrona, 54% of the people DID vote for Nadel, so why take your anger out on our District? Oh yeah, because we’re not black. It’s about Race.

    But Sean’s email said it best:
    Hey kids, you get what you vote for!
    You voted for me and now you will be punished!
    Thanks for the support though. See you in 4 years.

    Oy, if this is what the next four years are like, I cannot wait to sell my store. Living here will be enough. I can’t work here too.

  2. Max Allstadt

    Joanna,

    Rather than hate mail, I suggest a list of rational points that refute any arguments NN and MA are making. Be gentle. Be nice. Be concise. CC it to all of the other members of the committee. Go with facts facts facts.

  3. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    In my mind it is simple because I have lived and breathed the parking permit plan for almost six years. Maybe longer. I know all the agendas and I know all the reasons that it turned out the way it did. Too much of the decision making was political, which is how I see this addition to the Finance Committee agenda next week.

    It’s only been six weeks since the plan was put on the streets, and only four weeks since enforcement. Given a choice between meters and permits combined with 4-hour parking, the permit plan is better for those that are upset than the meters would have been.

    As for Ms. Arrona’s claim that the city is losing money on the plan, I disagree. It’s brought in at least $80K and no new hires have been needed, nor has there been a purchase of a new vehicle. If revenue neutral is the goal, then we’re certainly closer to that goal than the residential permits.

    Sorry – I’m on fire over this one. Ms. Arrona refused to listen to me after she called ME to ask me why I was taking it personally. But then she wouldn’t let me answer. She continued to say I was wrong when I wasn’t. The Amtrak parking garage being built is NOT for Amtrak! It’s for the Jack London Market. Amtrak riders barely parked in the garage before and while I suspect that will change now that the free parking has dried up, it is NOT what it was built for. And the County Building and the Port/Square were not included because they had no on-street parking to give up. That was long ago agreed upon, so why is it being added back to the equation now? After the election?

  4. Ralph

    someone should tell, ms. arrona that only 54% of the people who bother to show voted for nn. for whatever reason, i still seem to run into district residents who were either unregistered or simply did not vote , some even asked in all seriousness was there an election.

    someone should also tell ms. arrona that should could catch more flies with hoeny than with vinegar. i once asked her a question about publicizing certain district events and she bit my head off because i was unaware of their efforts at crime council or whatever it is and how little money they have. she probably needs to get some….i suspect then she be less wound up

    JLS needs a parking permit plan around the residential areas. when i lived in JLS i was a little annoyed by BART commuters parking on the road all day. when i was temporarily homeless and needed to park my car during the day, i was grateful that JLS had unlimited parking.

    residents and guest should be able to have park. people should be able to frequent the business and is not a terrible concept to grasp but our council member is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

  5. Ralph

    that fee should be subtantially higher. if you are parking in JLS all day and commuting to work, i am guessing your alternative is a 45min+ commute across the bridge a $20+ garage fee.

    that l/t fee needs to be jacked up for non-district residents and businesses

  6. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Ralph, I’m not sure what you’re talking about in regards to fees for non-district residents and businesses. The Port and the County buildings are in the District, whether they want to be a part of it or not. ;) They aren’t, however, eligible for permits – until now with the change that Ms. Nadel is proposing.

    The cost of a permit is $150/yr. It does NOT guarantee you a parking space, nor does it guarantee you a specific space. It merely says that for the majority of the District where there is now 4-hour parking, you can park all day if you have a permit. If you do not have a permit, you can only park four hours at a time in most spots (some are 2-hour with no permit). In other words, you can work the system if you aren’t eligible for a permit by moving your car once per day if you work 9am-5pm.

    Businesses should not pay more. This is originally a business/industrial district. It’s now a mixed-use District and developers were not required to provide but 1.4 parking spaces per unit. The new 200 Second Street building only has .99 parking spaces per unit because the developer instead agreed to provide a car sharing option – which was part of the development agreement. (I don’t know if this has yet been done in that bldg.)

    The permit plan was a compromise for both business and residents. I think it’s a very fair plan. I’m both a home owner and business owner in the District. I don’t think adding parking for people whose landlords/land owners specifically refused to be a part of the plan should get parking – especially when they have no parking to give back. There were quite a few unregulated spaces along 4th Street, but obviously Chinatown folks are beating County folks to them in the morning. Why did they not have to provide parking when their building was built? And why are they not going gangbusters towards other options such as car sharing, public transit, etc? That’s their landlord’s fault, not JLDA’s. Now their tenants are pissed. Shocker. (not)

    If you want a guaranteed space and you do not have that as part of where you live or work, you can get a guaranteed space for between $80-$125 per month. That would be in the Washington Street Garage or some other private lot. If I were a Port/Square tenant, I’d have negotiated for parking as part of my lease. That’s what I did with my store – I negotiated for extra parking within the building (sort of) where my store is. Basically it is worth about $100/mo as part of my lease.

    I’ve spoken to a few others this evening about Ms. Arrona. It seems that she has absolutely no problem in yelling over the phone, but appears to have more class in person or via email. It’s unfortunate that all she could do was yell at me on the phone and tell me how wrong I was about the Amtrak lot. The Amtrak lot, aka Site G, is being built as part of the Jack London Square Redevelopment plan – how is that not for JLS? And JLS says that there will be no dedicated spaces for Amtrak – so again, how is this not for JLS?

    Ms. Arrona then kept asking why I personally cared. I care because I live and work in the neighborhood! Isn’t that enough of a reason? I care because I am tired of the City refusing to see that the people here worked out a solution and because all they care about is the immediate money and not the long term viability of this area, which would ultimately bring MORE money to the City. Stop thinking short term! Just like the Washington Street Garage, the Site G garage on the Amtrak lot won’t be free. But of course I never got to say any of this because she kept interupting me.

    Ms. Arrona repeatedly asked me about my “vitriol” on Jack London News and I had to ask if she was serious? Our District is never consulted about things that go on in our own District. We are the ugly stepchild – Nancy Nadel says that it’s “an issue of race”. Again, I never actually got to answer with her constant yelling interuptions. I can state facts all day, but only if they are willing to listen. The people of the District deserve to understand the real story and they also deserve to be listened to. Not yelled at.

  7. Moschops

    The resolution introducing the permit plan ordinance begins:

    “WHEREAS, in June 2006, the Jack London District Association requested that the City consider a permit parking program due to the immediate past and pending changes in the Jack London District and the consequent increase in on-street parking demand, including the closing of the Amtrak lot, the increased residential and commercial development and the large number of presently unregulated on street parking spaces;”

    JLDA, and the community at large is also spelled out in the ordinance itself twice. And if you don’t think that was enough go check their parking information page and see that the efforts to get a permit plan date to 2003 (and actually before then). And let us not forget that the prime motivation for the permit plan was the City solution hung over their heads with the threat “find something better or else we will bring parking meters to the entire district”. No, I’m not making this up – now just how inconvenient and expensive would that be to everyone compared to unregulated parking or their hard won (and it was very hard to win) permit plan?

    Hence it is hardly surprising if there is some feeling of responsibility and ownership regarding the plan details emanating from JLDA.

    So who do you think would be the #1 interested party in hearing about changes to the plan, or perhaps hear about problems with the plan that they could help with finding solutions for. Given the turn of events I think it is understandable there are ruffled feathers down in the J-L-D. And even if JLDA was to turn around and say “we like your solutions”, or “we don’t like your solutions but don’t have anything better” then it would at least be nice to be involved.

    So I really think someone at City Hall needs to eat some humble pie and apologize for not approaching JLDA ahead of bringing in resolutions to City Hall on a fast track, then perhaps both parties take a step back, sit down together peacefully and reach an understanding and hopefully avoid this whole mess the next time.

    I sincerely understand that there have been local workers who have been parking in JLD who are now greatly financially impacted. But there is a very sound history of why they were excluded from the parking district and that exclusion stemmed from to issues:

    #1 the City for a long time kept reiterating that the number of permits to be sold would be capped at something between 500 and 1000 permits per year. That to some extent limited that amount of revenue possible from their sale, and ultimately factored into the pricing. It also meant that everyone was sensitive about the number of people who would be eligible to purchase them. If too many addresses were included, especially ones of employers like the port and county buildings who have a large number of employees then they could potentially buy virtually all permits and leave none left for smaller businesses and residents.

    #2 for the longest time City staff and some council members argued that a permit plan in a mixed use business district is subsidizing parking and discouraging public transit therefore a) they should not be made available to businesses that already have parking spaces available for their employees (regardless of price), and b) that permits should be priced relative to regular monthly parking and costs of transit passes. Hence businesses in Jack London Square who could get parking spaces from the port where not exactly high on the list of businesses they wanted to get permits. These were rationale used price the permits at $600 a year when the ordinance first went to City Hall and failed several years ago. JLDA refused to back a $600 a year permit and rightly so, it served no ones purpose except perhaps the City treasurer.

    Now as it happens a cap on permits did not end up in the ordinance as passed in 2007 – it could have at any time – no one but the City really knew if it would. There was an expectation of how many permit might sell when budgets and pricing was decided to try and obtain cost neutrality but in the end it seemed someone in City Hall made the decision no cap was prudent. I can see the logic – sell as many as you can, get the money and the only people who will suffer from too many issued woud be those looking for parking. As it turned out good faith estimates on how many permit buyers there might be per year have certainly not being exceeded – yet – but as many have pointed out we less than two months into permit sales. Also original estimates from JLDA were not based on the $150 permit price – something substantially lower and equitable with current residential permit pricing was assumed e.g $35. So what they City sees as lackluster permit sales may as just as much a consequence of poor pricing as poor calculation of demand for a specific district boundary.

    Now given that the permit price will not change a good way to sell more permits, should that be needed would be to extend the boundary, AND in the absence of caps on permits to be sold it *probably* does no harm except decrease the number of vacant parking spaces. However since there has yet to be any numerical evidence shared with the community on how much empty parking there is now, how that parking is helping current businesses and residents, and how many eligible businesses/employees might buy permits in the new addresses proposed to be added then it is hard to be sure. If the Port and county employees all stop buying their monthly permits and start parking on the streets and there is no longer any parking again it will be just as bad as before and we’ll all be out of $150 a year for naught. I’m not saying that will happen but it is something that should be discussed and monitored with as much consideration as went into crafting the original plan, district and fees. This is surely one of JLDA’s concerns and without seeing a staff report there is no evidence whatsoever that such consideration has taken place. If it has then it would seem a short meeting could resolve those issues.

    Furthermore we must realize that at some point City Hall must have stopped worrying about being labeled as “subsidizing employee parking” and encouraging people to drive over public transit. Thus it was able to swallow a permit price significantly less than $600 a year and find one at which people might actually buy permits (although obviously not as many as they hoped). At $150 a year it is over 4 times the price of a regular residential permit (that businesses can still obtain one or two of) and lets face reality – permit parking is not guaranteed parking – it is not a fee for 24/7 parking in a protected reserved parking spot and there are many areas in the district you can’t park – and can’t park anywhere near your work place or residence due to meters and time limited parking. And there is a very solid realization that there just ISN’T sufficient off street parking in the area to meet demand which is ultimately a failure of city planning – hence the need to remedy it with a success of city planning – a permit parking scheme that displaces excess non-local parkers to areas where there are many more off street spaces.

    For these reasons it behooves me to point out that trying to argue temporary visitor parking permits should be priced in relation to existing pay parking is as erroneous as pricing the permit itself in relation to them. As I previously pointed out the City long abandoned that tactic for the pricing yearly permits and therefore I would make a strong case that one day and 14 day permits should be priced in relation to the one year permit price, this is what was done for residential area temporary permits at $1 and $10.

    Since Area M permits are around 4X the price of residential permits it seems reasonable to price the one day and 14 day permits at 4X – or for sake of rounding 5X residential prices which implies $5 and $25. Please let’s not forget a sizable of residents (at least two thousand) live in the district and it is not just businesses that have visitors! And please lets not forget that it is residents that vote!

    It is my strong suspicion that the City believes people are buying temporary permits to resell or avoid pay parking for an employee where they could just as well buy a one year permit (assuming the employee is not temporary). That is currently especially attractive given that 26 two week permits cost less than a one year permit! Duh.. clearly a mistake. However A 10X price increase sounds like a real knee jerk price hike out of proportion to the problem that will hurt many legitimate users of temporary permits, especially residential ones. If there is tangible evidence that some buyers or a class of buyers are abusing the system then perhaps a better solution is that they should be investigated or the ordinance modified to allow the city to curtail or deny visitor permit sales to those involved in such abuse.

    Finally – yes finally – it is grossly unfair to characterize this permit plan as a money loser for the city. Firstly no other parking permit plan in the city makes money – but as a compromise JLDA agreed to pricing and constraints that would guarantee revenue neutrality. Secondly to ignore the thousands of dollars a week the $70 tickets in this district are raising is basically an insult that relies on the myth that parking enforcement people are not part of the city. If parking tickets go to the general fund then parking enforcement should ask for money to cover whatever costs they have associated with this plan. Without the permit plan there would be no ticket revenue and it is grossly unfair to label this plan as revenue negative because the City can only subtract and not add. Yes there will be those that say “but it says it there in the ordinance that is has to be revenue neutral” so tough. But actually IT DOESN’T – no where in the ordinance does it say that, and even if it did how about you change it or your criteria to “neutral relative to net proceeds to the City of Oakland” and not some specific department.

    And that’s all I have to say about that (until perhaps a staff report shows up).

    (And V Smooth – sorry to spam your blog with this monster diatribe, but it seemed like the most logical place given the traffic you get, I’ll understand if you reject it)

  8. Max Allstadt

    Joanna –

    You and Moschops clearly have very clear sets of points, and they’re pretty hard to refute.

    I stand by my previous statement. Go to the meeting. Bring some of the 384 people who bought permits in the first six weeks. Split up your points among each other so that everybody can focus on one topic.

    I would emphasize how premature this alteration is, and how there seems to be no evidence provided by the Parking people that there’s any loss happening yet.

    Avoid lambasting Nadel’s staff.

    Don’t bring a precinct map of the election that points out that Sean Sullivan won JLS outright.

    Don’t accuse her of taking revenge.

    Don’t point out that she won reelection with 25% turnout, which means that her 51% victory actually means that she only had the active affirmative support of 13% of the people.

  9. Ralph

    Joanna, Ms Arrona can be just as nasty in person. I think she gets a bit defensive when seh perceives something to be an attack versus a simple question.

    As to parking, when I moved o/s of JL, I abused the JL liberal street parking rules by stashing my car there as I could not keep it anywhere else. If you are going to offer permits, I think people like me and commuters should be charged significantly more if we are going to more or less use the street for free storage. We effectively made it more difficult for businesses and residents.

    But what would probably be better for all would be something like more extensive 2 hour parking which would effectively eliminate commuter and storage parking.

  10. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Ralph,

    The 4-hour spaces were a compromise to workers in the area that could not afford or were not eligible for a permit. With 4-hour parking you only have to move your car once and with the increased turnover, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll get parking today than you would have prior to the permit.

    If you don’t live or work in the District at an eligible address (most of the District less the County & Port buildings), then you can get a permit. No Amtrak riders or BART riders are eligible to buy a permit unless they live here or have an office here. We severely limited Chinatown using our District for parking by keeping it to 4 hours. It’s just far enough away that most of them don’t want to bother with it.

    There are at least 3 blocks with 2-hour parking, but permits are not exempt in these areas. That was to help local businesses and restaurants with short term visitors. Even residents are finding these spaces extremely helpful if they come home for lunch or need to stop by home during the day to pick something up.

    Sure, it would be so much better if more people took public transit. But honestly, it’s part of what caused some of the problems in the already stetched-for-parking District. Most people that move down here have 2 cars. Some even have 3! The loft or apartment they’re in most likely only has 1 space. That means that if they take public transit, then one car is often left out on the street. More residents down here means more cars left on the street during the day, and thus the evil parking spiral goes downhill. This was just one of the reasons that we asked developers for more parking each time they built. Unfortunately, the Planning Commission sees this as a detriment to getting people out of their cars. I think Zipcar and the economy are definately helping people realize that one car is fine for two people, but that changing of the minds doesn’t happen over night. The $150 permit may help push some people to getting rid of a 2nd car, or it might be worth it to them to spend the $150. I think it’s way too early in the process for us to know what’s going to happen. Before we go selling a thousand more permits by opening up the eligibility, let’s give the existing plan a chance to work.

    Or at least work with JLDA to come up with other compromises to offset the extended eligibility.

    I don’t know if I can get even 10 people to City Hall next week… people don’t feel that we’ll be heard no matter what is said.

  11. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    UPDATE:

    First of all, City Council Members of the Finance Committee approved the increase in visitor permit fees yesterday regardless of the disperity between resi & mixed-use permits. Oh well, we already pay more for our permits, so I guess paying exponentially more for visitor permits makes sense to a City dialing for dollars.

    They did, however, agree to push back on the amendment for the boundary changes until Staff meets with JLDA. This is a big win and much appreciated. Also, even if it later gets approved, the earliest it can go for a second reading at Council (change to an ordinance) is Sept 16. That gives some time.

    Lastly, there has been a huge discussion in the neighborhood for those that are here during the day and either not eligible for permits or those who don’t feel the need to purchase permits because they’re in and out all day. The cases in particular that I have seen are situations where someone comes in at let’s say 9am and parks for an hour and then leaves the area completely and comes back at 3pm, but they park in another location be it down the street or blocks away. This is a $70 ticket! Ouch! So here’s the applicable verbage of the violation:

    “10.44.120
    A. It is unlawful and shall constitute a violation of this chapter for any person to stand or park a motor vehicle, without a current residential parking permit properly displayed, at a curb within a residential permit parking area for a period of time exceeding the limitation established by the City Council for such area….”

    So yeah, it seems that you can’t park for more than 4-hours in the permit area during a single day.

    Two thoughts come to mind.

    1. That it uses the word “residential” when this is a mixed-use district. (alright, that’s pushing it)

    2. If you park in a 2-hour spot where permits are not included, then you can move your car within that zone, right?

  12. ralph

    Joanna, i see you discovered the nasty little secret about zone parking. I can’t follow your 2nd point re the 2 hour spot though.

    If the 2 hr spot is not in the zone then time parked there would not count towards the 4 hour zone limitation. but if the 2 hours applies to a spot within the zone then one is down to 2 hours when the first 2 expire.

  13. ralph

    zone prking as far as i know fails in the situation you described above. when i last observed the process, it was manual, meaning that the parking officer would write down plate number and time. i believe they cover multiple areas so they may not always detect when a car has left the zone completely. but whenever they get back and if the car is still in the zone and in a different spot, you can expect a ticket. the p.o has no way of determining if the car left the zone and returned or been in the zone all day.

  14. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Ralph,

    The comment about 2-hour parking was because cars with permits can park indefinately in the 4-hour spots, but can only park in the 2-hour parking spots for two hours. Permits aren’t eligible for all day parking in 2-hour spots, just 4-hour spots.

    There are some unrestricted blocks as well, purposely because of Chinatown throwing a hissy fit. Those spots go super fast.

    In yet other words, the permit area isn’t the whole district. It’s on a street by street basis, block by block, and even which side of the street in some cases.

    But the bad thing is that some parking enforcement officers say one thing, while others say something else. Actually, that might be the worst part.

  15. Ralph

    okay, i am not sure why one with a zone permit would choose to park in the 2 hour zone.

    but it would seem to be a no-brainer that permitless people get 4 hours in the zone. for example i can abut the zone in a for 3 hours, then park in the zone for 4 hours and abut again for 1 and get hours of parking.

    the only thing i can not do is move the car from one parking space to another for the purpose of getting more than 4 hrs. the restriction applies to the zone and not the spot.

    give the p/e/o a break – zone parking is not easy to master and if the p/e/o are coming from any oakland area high school, i am guessing the task is even harder given low reading and comprehesion skills

  16. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Ralph,

    If you live or work in the area and can’t afford a $150/yr permit, or you’re a Port tenant employee that isn’t eligible for a permit then now it turns out that you can’t just move your car as we were told before. Well, it depends on the P/E/O.

    I don’t blame the P/E/O, I blame their superiors who are giving them the wrong info or not training them properly. If you’re told one thing by one P/E/O and another thing by a different P/E/O and then you get a ticket because of the differing info, wouldn’t you be pissed off? Especially when the ticket is $70. Disputing it goes nowhere.

    I mentioned the 2-hour spaces because they’re not subject to permits, so anyone without a permit could just park in a 2-hour zone and keep moving their car within that zone. The law is only regarding permit zones.

  17. Ralph

    Joanna,
    i would not be p.o. i think zone parking laws are clear and unambiguous. it is up to the driver of the vehicle to understand the posted parking restrictions. if the zone limitation is 2 hrs then after 2 hrs you need to be out of the zone. you can’t move to another spot within the zone because you are still in the zone. zone limitations are in place to allow for turnover. if you can move your car to another spot within the zone, then there is no turnover. your car took up one spot before, it takes up one spot now. one simply can not park in a 2 hr zone for longer than 2 hours and the p/e/o should have known that. it is common sense.

    i am not feeling terribly sympathetic for anyone who receives a $70 zone violation ticket.