OAKLAND -- The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Tuesday for a proposal to create a flexible parking district pilot program in Montclair -- the first in the city.
The second reading of the proposal will be on Nov. 5, when it is expected to be ratified.
The plan by District 4 Councilwoman Libby Schaaf will allow adjustments to be made to the hourly parking rate and time limits on the district's parking meters. Currently, all meters in the city of Oakland are $2 per hour, regardless of location.
A baseline reading of revenue received from on-street parking meters for the past three years will be required before the program. Fifty percent of the incremental increase in meter revenue -- above the established baseline -- will be earmarked for infrastructure improvements in the district.
The parking district plan also addresses the concerns of surrounding neighborhoods to provide them with relief from those looking for free and/or longer-term parking along their streets, reducing parking for residents and potentially attracting crime to their neighborhoods.
Currently, the city requires six continuous blocks in order to apply for residential parking permit stickers.
The new plan will allow for the redefinition of an "adjacent block," to include blocks adjacent to the business district but not necessarily to each other.
Schaaf and her office worked on the parking district plan after obtaining a grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to begin the process.
"I'm excited to try this out as a pilot. Other cities have tried this and had positive results," said Bruce Williams, the city's senior transportation planner with Public Works. Williams pointed to the city of Pasadena, which successfully went from free parking to a flexible benefit district.
"This is a 21st century solution to a long-standing challenge in the commercial district," said Daniel Swafford, the executive director of the Montclair Village Association. "It's a great way to support small businesses and keep money in the district."
Joel Ramos, a former resident and senior community planner for Transform, is also enthusiastic about the creation of the parking district.
"There is an opportunity here for businesses to attract revenue without taxing themselves. Making parking easier will attract more customers. The ultimate prize for the city is sales tax revenues," Ramos said. "It's a win-win for everyone."