Social engineering is fraught with unforeseen problems. We attended the meeting at Claremont Library this past week and heard an earnest staff explain their reasoning, but there were unforeseen problems they didn't anticipate:
1. Charging a lot and increasing fees to $2.75 an hour will drive many to park in neighborhood residential streets that are already overloaded. We have the Alta Bates employees and visitors to contend with and the erratic policing of 2 hour parking by use of a computer reader has proven disastrously compromised.(More on this later)The ever-expanding use of fees to not only deal with parking issues but expand the city coffers is a poor way to fund city operations. Policed enforcement of traffic laws would not only make the community safer but bring in revenue. It may inadvertently also reduce crime rates as criminals are less likely to adhere to traffic laws than honest folks.
2. Use of social media information could help parking and free up spaces while reducing circling. This needs to be step one and is the least expensive option.
3. Making the first hour of parking free might open up more spaces and encourage people to be a bit more efficient in the use of their time while parked.
Looking out forward, how can cities mover people around most efficiently? That is the grand question. Pilot projects with people movers on surface streets might be useful and could be tested. So much money is wasted in efforts that don't move the problem forward that we forget our cities were never built for auto traffic. Perhaps we need to move toward eliminating the need for autos in Berkeley as our long term goal.