OAKLAND (BCN)—The Oakland City Council has voted unanimously to approve changes in the city’s downtown parking program, including implementing demand-based pricing at meters and city-owned garages.
Jeffrey Tumlin, the interim director of the city’s Department of Transportation, said under the new policy the price of metered parking could vary from 50 cents to $4 an hour, based on demand.
Tumlin said that means prices for parking spots in the most crowded parts of downtown will go up from current levels but prices for spots in less crowded areas will go down.
The goal is to have 85 percent of the city’s parking spaces during normal hours, he said.
“We hope that everything will be evened out,” Tumlin said.
Less than half the parking spots in some parts of downtown Oakland are used at any given time so that means “prices are way too high” there, he said.
When the new policy takes effect, people who are willing to walk an extra block or two from their parking spot to their eventual destination will save money, Tumlin said.
The City Council approved the changes at its meeting on Tuesday night and is expected to give final approval at its meeting on Nov. 29.
Tumlin said the changes will be implemented gradually in the city’s downtown, Temescal and Koreatown-Northgate areas after the city gets input from business improvement districts, neighborhood associations and other members of the public.
The program will then be expanded to other parts of the city in subsequent phases, depending on the availability of additional funding, he said.
The changes are based on a two-year pilot program in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood as well as similar policies instituted in San Francisco, Berkeley and Redwood City.
Tumlin said the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has awarded the city a $1.3 million, three-year grant to fund the demand-based pricing initiative, which will be used to pay for staff, consultants and equipment.