The City of Berkeley is seeking to correct a sign problem outside the University Avenue Trader Joe's that has meant the dismissal of many parking citations.
In June 2010, parking regulations changed on the streets surrounding the new Trader Joe's. One side of each nearby street — Berkeley Way, Addison Street, Bonita Avenue and Grant Street — was designated Residential Preferential Parking (RPP), meaning that visitors without a resident permit could be cited. And many were.
But some contested, claiming that the new regulations were confusing — one side of the street had one rule, while the other side had a different rule. The signs, too, were unclear, they said. The hearing officer agreed, and most of the tickets were thrown out.
Now, the City of Berkeley is seeking to replace the signs to make regulations clearer to drivers. The council will consider recommendations to address the problem in the Nov. 15 council meeting (read the information report here.)
When the new Trader Joe's was established on University Avenue, the original green “2 Hour Parking” signs were replaced with red “No Parking” messages. The city says that "various efforts were made by staff and local residents to draw attention to the change," including posting notices on the poles of new signs, placing fliers on the windshields of improperly parked cars, and establishing a grace period to give visitors time to adapt to the change.
But more than a year later, visitors are still "confused by this unusual parking arrangement," concluded the city in its analysis of the situation. The recommendation is to replace the signs once again — this time with more dramatic signs, such as the much larger "no parking" symbol, represented by a black letter 'P' with a strikethrough inside a red circle.
After conducting a parking survey in January, 2011, and concluding that residential parking was not significantly impacted by the new Trader Joe's, the city will also consider restoring 2-hour visitor parking to either partial sections of the surrounding streets, or the entire zone.
Have you ever been cited outside the University Avenue Trader Joe's? What do you think of the parking situation there? Tell us in the comments.