OAKLAND — Oakland would roll back parking-meter enforcement from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. under a change proposed by Councilmember Pat Kernighan.
The council voted June 30 to adopt a number of new parking policies — including extending enforcement hours, increasing the hourly parking rate from $1.50 to $2, increasing fines for most violations and beefing up parking-enforcement personnel — to help fill what was an $83 million deficit.
Officials since have been hit with hundreds of phone calls and e-mails from angry residents and merchants who say, among other things, that the policies hurt business and went into effect with no warning.
"It's so unusual to hear from as many people as we did," Kernighan said. "And it wasn't just the usual groups of advocates — it was the people who are usually the silent majority."
Kernighan's proposal comes up for consideration at a 6 p.m. council meeting Sept. 22 at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Opponents of the policies surely will push for more dramatic changes. In a memo to her colleagues, Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) said the city also should develop a "well-thought-out transportation policy" aimed at helping retail sales and encouraging alternative transportation options.
The hit to city coffers if the enforcement hours are changed would be $1.33 million a year, according to a city estimate. It's not clear whether Kernighan's proposal has the votes, though it's possible its success could hinge on what ideas council members come up with to fill the $1.33 million gap.
As Council President Jane Brunner (North Oakland) put it: "I don't want to put parking back and end up cutting a day of library (service), but I think we'll figure something out. I'm optimistic."