You know, I can’t dispute the city’s contention. I do usually find parking in the garages, when I decide to not be lazy and to forego finding a street space right in front of a business I want to patronize. However, I rarely find parking in the garage behind Macy’s and Nordstrom, especially on Saturdays or Sundays. Consequently, I rarely shop at either store—not that I’m a big shopper anyway—but sometimes I have wanted to go to either store and have encountered a pretty frustrating parking experience.
I digress. As usual.
What are your parking pet peeves? The city's Downtown Parking Task Force is seeking your input with this survey. And, the city is asking you to comment on those private downtown lots. That's my pet peeve, as I will explain momentarily. Here is what the city says:
If you've ever come to downtown Walnut Creek, you've got an opinion on parking. Here's your chance to share it, with a quick online survey created by the Downtown Parking Task Force.From street parking to parking garages, the Task Force wants to know what works for you, and what doesn't. The answers will help the Task Force achieve its mission of "Making Parking Work in Downtown Walnut Creek.
Deadline for answering the survey is 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14
In case you're interested, here are a Crazy Soccer Mom's pet peeves:
First, I think the city should align its meter holidays with all federal or state holidays—or any holidays that city offices are closed. I’ve stated this before, and I know some of you are tired of hearing me gripe about this.
Second, the city and the Downtown Business Association need to seriously look at the negative image created by the company or companies that manage the private lots around town. I have covered this perplexing private parking issue before, by citing expert legal opinion that tickets issued by these private companies have no force of law. But that doesn't stop them from trying to scare you into thinking they do.
By the way, Robert Power, the past president of the Downtown Business Association heads Regional Parking, which manages parking facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Walnut Creek. "Our goal is to ensure customer parking, discourage illegal parking and create convenient employee parking alternatives," the company's website says.
Mr. Power, I hope you don’t take offense by this post, but I have to say that many of the complaints I hear about downtown parking centers on public confusion--and a perception among motorists--that these lots are not all that welcoming to visitorsand in fact see visitors as a way to make an easy buck.
Sorry, but that's the perception.
And, if the city and Downtown Business Association are truly serious about generating good will among patrons to their community, they will look at this issue.
Some of these private lots have meters, and those meters can be confusing. I’ve seen people at the private lot behind Peet’s coffee, on a Sunday morning, for example, trying to make sense of why those meters are in force on a Sunday morning.
Meters don’t usually operate on Sundays, right? Oh, but wait, those are city-run meters, and, but, wait, what does that sign say? These meters are private? What is that all about? What’s the difference between a private meter and a city meter? If I get a ticket, do I have to go to court? Will it hurt my driving record? For the record, no it won't. According to a report in the East Bay Express, as a private company, Regional Parking doesn't have access to confidential DMV address information. "Therefore, drivers could theoretically ignore a ticket from the company without consequence unless they later parked in a private lot patrolled by the company."
A couple evenings before Halloween, my son and I stopped in at the Spirit Store, housed in the former Mark Morris tire business at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Locus Street. The meters there demand to be fed until 11 p.m., five hours past when the city-run meters shut down. Lots of people were trying to get in their last-minute Halloween shopping, and lots of people were trying to park in that lot.
Sure, the owners of the lot have a right to charge, but they had their enforcers out in full force, ready to write tickets to those whose meters had run out. The image was of a property owner, eager to reap whatever small profit he/she could from the crowds of Halloween shoppers.
Here, I was spending dollars in downtown Walnut Creek. And so were a lot of other people, and the parking lot owner and/or manager was trying to rake in every other last penny he/she could.
Well, if you want to fill out the survey, again, here is the link.