New parking meters with credit card payment options are part of the goBerkeley program. Photo: Steer Davies Gleave/goBerkeley
A goBerkeley parking meter. City staff are recommending continuing the program, which targets high-use parking areas and uses demand pricing to encourage transit use, biking, and walking. Photo: Steer Davies Gleave/goBerkeley

City Manager Christine Daniel has asked the Berkeley City Council to continue the goBerkeley parking program, which adjusts rates in high-demand commercial neighborhoods, for six more years.

Daniel made the recommendation in a June memo, where she estimated the costs of continuing the program at about $280,000 per year. She did not recommend expanding the program geographically or extending parking meter hours as part of the report.

The pilot program, which included the Elmwood commercial district, the downtown area and Southside Berkeley around Telegraph Avenue, began in 2013 and was originally scheduled to end in October, but the removal of a “sunset” clause from the Berkeley Municipal Code in September 2013 enables the program to continue as long as it has funding.

Read more about parking issues in Berkeley.

City staff proposed four options for moving forward in a January work session: end the program and revert to the original rates and time limits; end the program but keep the current rates and limits; continue the program in its current areas; or continue the program and expand it to other neighborhoods.

GoBerkeley was originally supported by a grant that required close tracking of “expenses and incremental revenue,” but Daniel did not suggest continuing to fund the program through grants. 

Parking signs
Berkeley parking signs.

“Based on current forecasts, the goBerkeley incremental parking revenue should be sufficient to cover the expected expenditures of continuing the program,” Daniel wrote.

Seeing as the goal of the program is to reduce driving and encourage transit use, biking and walking, the program’s revenue (which comes primarily from parking meters) may shrink in coming years. If it falls below the baseline cost of running the program, the city could draw revenue from its off-street and on-street parking funds to pay for the program, staff suggested.

The feedback from residents about goBerkeley has been positive, according to information gathered by the city in public workshops and online surveys. Over 80% of 71 people who gave feedback said they wanted the program to continue in all three pilot areas.

The city plans to continue its outreach efforts — which were a big part of the goBerkeley parking pilot — using community meetings, email notifications, website updates and flyers. The city also plans to increase its data collection related to the program.

“Continuing goBerkeley parking management practices at both on-street parking spaces and City off-street parking garages/lots in the original 3 areas is clearly consistent with Council and community feedback and support,” Daniel wrote.

City staff may also continue to adjust parking rates and time limits to ensure that the program, which aims to free up a couple spots per block in the most in-demand areas, is working. Any meter rate changes would need to be approved by council at least 30 days in advance.

Staff is working on alternative plans in which “demand-responsive parking” is used in other areas of Berkeley, she added, which will be brought to council “as available resources and other demands on staff time allow.”

Expanding the program, either geographically or temporally, could cost the city up to an estimated $630,000 a year, according to the memo.

Learn more about goBerkeley on the program website.

Drivers say goBerkeley program made it easier to park (01.16.15)
Council to consider higher rates, evening hours for some Berkeley parking meters (03.21.14)
City parking garage fees up downtown, down on Telegraph (10.30.13)
Many Berkeley parking meters now accept most coins (10.23.13)
Metered parking changes launch Tuesday in Berkeley (10.15.13)
goBerkeley parking rules get final public review (for now) (08.08.13)
2 goBerkeley public meetings on parking coming up (07.31.13)
Details unveiled on proposed metered parking changes (07.03.13)
City sets goBerkeley transportation program in motion (06.27.13)
Berkeley council weighs in on parking pilot program (06.12.13)
Parking changes slated for 3 Berkeley business zones (05.23.13)

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Eden Teller, a junior at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is a Berkeleyside summer intern. She is majoring in media and cultural studies and minoring in geology.

Eden Teller is a freelance reporter, writer and amateur gardener. She began reporting for Berkeleyside as an intern in 2013 and continued her career with a B.A. in Media Studies from Macalester College...