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Have You Had Parking Problems Outside Trader Joe's?

Visitors cited for parking on the residential-only side of the street outside Trader Joe's are contesting their tickets — blaming confusing regulations and unclear signs.

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.

sherry November 08, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Yes, I got a ticket on Berkeley Way. I wish I had contested it. Totally ridiculous. The sign looks like a 2 hour parking sign. I wasn't going to Trader Joe's but downtown to the farmer's market. And the street was about 2 blocks away from TJ where they have plenty of parking. They need to put it back to 2 hour parking.
kevin November 08, 2011 at 06:04 PM
There are parking concerns INSIDE the building as well. Last time I was there the auto exhaust fumes in the parking garage were absolutely overwhelming -- so strong that I became light-headed and nauseous . Has anybody else experienced this?
jojoberk November 09, 2011 at 11:27 PM
I usually park in the parking lot and sometimes I may have to sit for a little while to get a parking space but there is usually someone who comes out and gives me their space within 5 minutes.
Emily Henry (Editor) November 10, 2011 at 05:16 PM
That's strange, Kevin. Has it happened more than once or was it just one particular time?
kevin November 10, 2011 at 07:08 PM
emily henry - i experienced the sickening auto exhaust fumes in the parking garage twice. both days were quite warm and the garage was busy. it seems strange that the potential for this appears not to have been addressed adequately. as i hastened to get my groceries loaded so i could leave and breathe fresher air, i saw a woman carefully place her baby, who was in a portable babyseat , on the ground next to her while she put her bags in her car. the baby was just about same height off the ground as the exhaust pipes on all those cars. that really struck me -- i had a difficult time with the fumes, but what kind of yuck were those wee lungs having to deal with?
dave blake January 17, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I was dinged at a few weeks after the signs went up, at 6:30 west of Milvia on Berkeley Way, in the dark. 40 feet nearer Shattuck across Milvia to the east the parking meter spaces were already past enforcement and free to park at. Still the case.
Lucifer B Devill October 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Sounds like a case of just desserts to me. Now you know how bicyclists and pedestrians feel. We CONSTANTLY have to experience the negative effects of car use. Exhaust fumes are the least of it -motorists can kill us outright with little fear of consequences, unless they happen to be drunk at the time. Just sit back and enjoy the sweet smell of your own stinky, unhealthy personal decisions, Kevin.

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