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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Parking Crisis In North Emeryville

After 25 Years Of Unfettered Development Residents Can't Find A Place To Park 
& Now They're Angry

Who Could Have Guessed This Would Happen?

The Emeryville city council majority has welcomed a 25 year reign of unfettered development, a 'hands off developers' philosophy that has earned the town the reputation in the region of being extremely business friendly.  The council majority that enabled this pro-business culture have always denied any associated negative impacts for residents as they carried on with their 'what's-good-for-business-is-what's-good-for-Emeryville' agenda.  But those days may be coming to an end.

After  the Emeryville Property Owners Association (EPOA) recent town hall meeting on parking in the north Hollis Street area, there's no longer any way it can be denied: residents and now even small businesses that rely on street parking can no longer reliably find parking spaces... and they're angry.  It's been an increasing quality of life reduction for residents that promises to get worse as the council moves to start charging money for on street parking.

Where's The TDM?
The problem stems from the rampant rate of development over the last couple of decades combined with a lack of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) practices to mitigate the problems brought on by all the cars associated with the new development.  Transportation Demand management practices are paid for by the developers and they lower the use of cars generated by the development by expanding transportation alternatives, providing incentives and rewards for employees for undertaking alternative transportation, imposing full-cost pricing on automobile use and other such measures.  These measures have been considered best practice solutions for urban parking by city planners since the 1970's...except in Emeryville.
It should be noted that councilwoman Jennifer West has been calling for mandatory developer paid TDM measures over the last couple of years.

The city council majority has been adverse to asking for developers to provide any TDM measures as they have approved project after project.  Twenty five year Councilwoman Nora Davis and her friends on the council have historically characterized any such requirements as anti-business and therefore illegitimate.  The parking crisis has been built up over the years in this way.
It's valuable to identify those public servants who have contributed to this mess. In addition to Ms Davis, councilwoman Ruth Atkin has been a reliable YES vote for the developers over the years as has newcomer and now mayor Kurt Brinkman.  EPOA founder and 20 year former councilman Ken Bukowski also shares in the blame even as he now screams from the sidelines about the parking fiasco in north Emeryville. 

No TDM, No Parking
It must be stated clearly, had a different council majority been in power over the decades, a council interested in leadership without an overt pro-business ideology, the residents wouldn't be in this fix.  Residents that may feel compelled to shake their fists at businesses and all the cars they bring as they search for a parking spot or as they start to pay for parking should know the real culprit here....  it's because the council didn't force developers to mitigate the negative impacts their projects have on the limited supply of on street parking.

Any idiot can sit back at the dais and say YES to what developers request.  Without a newspaper in town, it's the easiest thing in the world for a city council member to do.
We look for an accountability moment as residents circle for parking and start paying for parking, beginning in north Emeryville and spreading out from there.  Bad public policy should have consequences.


  1. Thank You Brian!
    Well stated.

  2. interesting to note also that in the late 90s, there was a parking committee on which i sat. it later dissipated and now called the transportation committee. curiously or not, there is not one resident/homeowner/taxpayer on this committee.

    and now with the school administration offices situated at ralph hawley, and even though parking lines have been painted on the former school play yard, traffic in and out of the narrow driveway on doyle street is extremely dangerous for north/south traffic on doyle, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

  3. As I drive around Emeryville, I see new housing being built. But I keep asking myself, what about parking. At 47th and Adeline, new housing is being built as I type. Where are these people going to park? The parking is so bad in that area, that people are parking their cars on their front lawn.
    And now, city hall is suggesting, paying for street parking...and the GREED as on.

  4. shortly after i moved to emeryville in 1997, north point communications opened offices at heritage square, corner of 62nd and hollis. parking was a bear. after leaving a note on the windshield of a pickup who constantly blocked my driveway, he had to gall to leave a reply saying i never used my driveway anyway. months later north point abruptly closed down and the pickup moved on to greener asphalt after i threatened to have him towed.

    at that time i was adamantly opposed to parking meters and having to pay for permit parking. however, times change, unfortunately, and no matter what psychology city hall uses, people will continue to drive their cars to work in emeryville. i now support parking meters and permit parking for residents but at no cost. if the city were only as strict with developers paying school developer fees and fees to the traffic impact fund, and furnish an audit of what major developers have paid to date into these two funds (at least the past five years), the homeowners, renters and property tax payers would not have to be gouged for parking permit fees.

    contact jennifer west or nora davis if you feel residents should sit on the transportation committee.

  5. Gotta love Bukowski, now that he's been marginalized he takes the populist stance to try and regain some relevance.

  6. I work in Emeryville (don't live there) and just noticed today around every place I park on the street they are painting it green 2 hour only.... I HAVE NO PLACE TO PARK! I mean I'd have to move my car every 2 hours and I work like a 12 hour day - I have no idea what I'm going to do. I'm wondering what all the other people are going to do that circle around with me. Plus it seems the Amtrak lot is usually full. :(

    1. You can find parking at the Amtrak lot if you get there by 7 a.m. and want to pay Wareham $20 a day. Or, take public transportation. There's Bart, AC Transit, and Emeryville's free Go-Round.