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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, Assistant to the City Manager, (510) 981-7008

Changes seek to make it easier to park while reducing traffic and pollution

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 09, 2013) - The City of Berkeley is changing parking meter rates and extending time limits starting October 15 to make it easier to dine, shop and enjoy the arts in three of City’s most vibrant districts: downtown, the Elmwood and the southside of the UC Berkeley campus around Telegraph Avenue.

During this 2-year pilot program, time limits will be relaxed to give parkers more flexibility, creating longer zones of 2-, 3-, 4- and 8-hours. The new, demand-based meter rates will push drivers toward available spots and away from congestion. It will cost $2.25 per hour in high demand zones, which new signs will label as Premium Areas.  Prices will fall to $1.25 or $1.00 per hour where parking is more available – identified as Value Areas. Metered parking at the curb currently costs $1.50 per hour citywide, or $1.75 in much of the downtown 

The goal is to free up 1 to 2 spaces on every block and make it easier to find parking – reducing frustration and traffic as well as pollution from circling drivers. People already come to these Berkeley districts by bike, bus, BART, foot and car. Now, each of those modes should be even easier – creating a balance that allows all to move more freely.

These changes are the most recent part of a pilot program known as goBerkeley, which started in July and is funded by regional and federal grants. The program already paid for 1,000 AC Transit Easy Passes and City CarShare business discounts to area workers for one year as a way to encourage traveling without a personal car.

The City Council will review the initial results based on the changes to parking and traffic, public surveys and community input in March 2014. They will evaluate the entire pilot project a year from now. At the end of the pilot program, the council could choose to end, modify or permanently implement the demand-based parking rules.

Hundreds of residents, businesses and pedestrians were surveyed to create goBerkeley. The city held public workshops, staff conducted detailed observation of parking conditions, and concepts were brought to the City Council for approval. It is funded through grants from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Federal Highway Administration(FHWA), and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Funders selected Berkeley because no city of its size and resources had sought to implement demand-based pricing. The City’s partners include the Downtown Berkeley Association, Telegraph Business Improvement District, and Elmwood Merchants Association, AC Transit, City CarShare, and the non-profit organization, TransForm. 

Go Berkeley website: http://www.goberkeley.info

Contacts with local merchants and funders can be provided to the media upon request.

 Examples of the new signs are below: 

              goBerkeley 2 hour Premium Rate sign                            goBerkeley 4-hour Value Rate sign


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