City’s New Parking Meters Rake in the Cash By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday June 28, 2005


Berkeley’s infamous parking meter vandals have apparently met their match. 

An initial review of the 31 pay and display parking meters installed downtown two months ago shows that meter revenue has increased nearly 300 percent and the only meter to fall victim to a vandal was out of commission for less than an hour.  

“They have far exceeded our projections,” said Karen Moore, Berkeley’s parking service manager. She said her department would recommend the city purchase more meters for use either around Shattuck or Telegraph avenues. 

In April, Berkeley rolled out 31 meter stations downtown at a cost of $332,460, to replace meters that too often fell victim to vandals. 

The constant vandalism cost Berkeley an estimated $700,000 last year in lost revenue, according to a report from the city auditor. 

Since April, the city has collected $41,890 from the new meters. In contrast the total amount generated from the old meters from December through February was $12,069.  

Berkeley officials had estimated that revenue would rise about 30 percent. Moore credited the spike in revenue to the new meters’ durability and pay and display system which doesn’t permit unused meter time to carry over from one parker to another. 

The new stations replaced standard meters and Reino pay stations that were frequently forced out of service by vandals. In February and March, Berkeley police reported that the city had to fix 5,000 broken meters. 

The only successful assault on one of the new meters came from a vandal who inserted a heated credit card into the machine’s slot. 

As advertised the machine sent a distress signal to staff, which replaced the slot within an hour, Moore said. 

So far, parking officers have issued approximately 2,500 citations at the new meters. About 1,110 have been paid totaling $33,534. According to the city report enforcement officers have issued more tickets because they are more confident that the machines are functioning and accurate as compared to the old meters. 

The new meters were placed on Shattuck Avenue from Allston Streets to the vicinity of Parker Street; Center Street between Shattuck and Oxford Street; Addison between Shattuck and Milvia and Kittredge Street, in front of the central library.