The Oakland City Council voted 6-1 last night to rollback parking meter hours from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. The council's vote came after months of outrage from local retailers who said that the council's decision in June to extend meter hours to eight o'clock, raise parking rates, and increase parking ticket prices had hurt their businesses. The council had made the changes to help balance the city's massive budget deficit, and didn't expect they would create such a strong backlash.
Councilmembers Jane Brunner, Ignacio De La Fuente, Rebecca Kaplan, Pat Kernighan, Jean Quan, and Larry Reid voted for the rollback. Nancy Nadel voted against it. Desley Brooks was absent; she had abstained on the issue when it came before the council two weeks ago. Kaplan also voted to abstain at the last meeting, but changed her vote in favor of the rollback. The council hopes to regain the estimated $1 million in revenue it will lose from rollback by adding parking meters throughout the city and possibly erecting a giant new billboard near the Bay Bridge.
The council, at Kernighan's urging, also voted to conduct a study of the city's parking program. Among other things, the study would examine whether to adopt market-based pricing, in which parking meter rates would be based on demand, and could be priced differently throughout the city and change depending on the time of day.