Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 19, 2016

My own private public parking space

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Even though the initial genesis of this blog was to initially talk specifically about Bayport it sort of veered off from Bayport fairly quickly. So here’s a chance for this blog to return to its original intent at least for one day.

On Tuesday night, the City Council directed the staff to look into updating a residential parking permit program, which I’m fine with.  My only issue is that residential parking permit programs, because the idea is to privatize a public resource (street parking), that the permit program should pay for itself.

The sole speaker that night was one Bayport neighbor.  She mentioned that there are parking problems in Bayport that are so bad that people have moved out of the neighborhood.  She mentioned, almost as justification, that the house the she lives in has turned over three times since being built.  Coincidentally, that house she is referring to used to be my house.  We sold the house in 2007 after purchasing another house in Bayport so no we didn’t move because there were parking problems.  In fact we moved to a section of the neighborhood where we don’t even have parking in front of our house as many homes in Bayport have similar circumstances.  The family that bought the house after us — the person played for the Raiders — also didn’t appear to have moved because of parking problems, but possibly because his contract had ended.

Anyway, that was a long way of saying that perhaps there are people in Bayport that are super upset because they can’t park right in front of their house, but based on my understanding of the issue, and I was on an early iteration of the Bayport parking committee as well as a member of the HOA board of directors, there is no one perfect solution for a community like Bayport because of the public and private streets and the lack of a parking “problem” in some stretches.

Also, remember that — at a minimum — all Bayport homes have two-car parking garages, some even have three-car parking garages.  What was being asked of the HOA — and now the City if Bayport ends up adopting some sort of city run residential parking permit program — was for a subsidization of street parking in the form of a permitting program designed to only “solve” parking issues for a handful of streets in the neighborhood at large.  The ideas floated have included mandatory registration of all vehicles and registration of all guests which seems incredibly intrusive.  Also none of the ideas that have been floated to the HOA would have the program pay for itself in its entirety, but rather subsidization by HOA funds which have other committed uses.

Typically most residential parking permit programs allow for public parking as well which, from the public comments by the Bayport resident, she didn’t want to allow at all.  My opinion is that if the City of Alameda is expected to step in and police parking in Bayport then the private streets become public and therefore subject to being available to the public at large, even those that may not live in the neighborhood, much like exists on the actual public streets in Bayport.  Otherwise the City of Alameda would act as a de facto security guard for Bayport’s private streets which I don’t believe would be the most appropriate position for the City of Alameda to take.

Anyway, in the end the City Council voted 4 – 1 to move forward with updating the residential permit parking program, with Mayor Trish Spencer voting “no.”  Which I was surprised about because of her comments pandering to the Bayport speaker.  But I have to agree with her “no” vote which was premised on the rationale that staff has other more pressing issues to deal with.  So props on taking the right position for the right reason, even though there was some grade A pandering prior to that.



  1. The way I read this is that some streets in Bayport are public and some are private? Is that correct?

    If so, how does one know the difference? Special signage?

    Comment by dave — May 19, 2016 @ 6:37 am

    • Easy way to remember is that any road surrounding school and park is public, everything else is private. And signs.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 19, 2016 @ 7:06 am

      • If the city isn’t going to enforce parking restrictions on the private streets – and I agree that they shouldn’t – how is that handled now?

        Comment by dave — May 19, 2016 @ 7:41 am

        • There aren’t really parking restrictions, but right now “parking enforcement” is loosely performed by a limited security patrol and neighbor vigilantism, sometimes this leads to aggressive notes on unfamiliar cars that belong to Bayport residents.

          Comment by Lauren Do — May 19, 2016 @ 8:24 am

  2. What, Trish Spencer voted no?

    Comment by shocker — May 19, 2016 @ 6:40 am

  3. Even if CC goes forward the process involves 66% of Residents of a designated area Petition for Residential Parking.

    Comment by frank — May 19, 2016 @ 7:29 am

  4. So far, every neighborhood that has had a couple of people step up and say “we want permit parking” has seen their petition denied by their neighbors. The first place that may be successful is Harbor Bay near the ferry.

    The City’s general plan allows for a residential parking permit program and requires the city to recover all costs, these include the administration of the program, it’s enforcement, and I would argue, the maintenance costs of the street.

    Bayport’s streets were privatized to capture the maintenance costs for them, but if memory serves are also precluded from becoming private access roads by the development plan that built them. It would be odd if the city now turned around and turned them into more formal private roads after writing the rules to ensure that they were not.

    Comment by JKW — May 19, 2016 @ 7:42 am

  5. There is special signage. On the private streets the HOA is responsible for all the maintenance unlike most of Alameda which are public street. I think it would be great if they turned them all into public streets and they became the City of Alameda’s responsibility. The public streets are Coral Sea, Mosley, Jack London Ave, and Robert Louis Stevenson Ave. These street surround the park and the School so they are easy to remember.

    I don’t have any problems with the parking personally at Bayport. I personally don’t know anyone who moved to Tracy because of parking. People at Bayport have parking problems because their garages are full of crap. I am not exempt…so no judgements. I probably could get rid of 1/2 my clothes, a few mostly empty paint cans and a cake pan that we will never use. I sneak some stuff off to goodwill now and then and it has never been missed. We are a nation of hoarders in some aspects but how many nick knacks or gimmick’s do you need to buy for the kitchen to cook the perfect meal. I have a rice cooker which I got as a gift 12 years ago which I’ve never used. Clean out your garages and park your cars in there for those who have them.

    I use to live in San Francisco North Beach area for years and in Oakland for a short period of time. Even if you had a parking sticker, if you could find a parking place within 4 blocks you were happy. I am more then willing to park a few blocks from my house. With the propose parking permit on the private streets at Bayport the people are already complaining about having to pay a $100 per car per year. I think the people on Webster and Taylor when they realize they have to pay for the permits many will not be so happy with that prospect. The current price in SF I believe is $115 per year per car. I don’t know what the City of Alameda would charge to pay for the program. If it is just a few area it could be huge as the cost to implement and enforce would consist of a small population. Cost could include additional personnel with wages and benefits (grow government)? I guess we should pay an outside consultant $100,000 to study it first and make a suggestion first. (sarcasm)

    Comment by joelsf — May 19, 2016 @ 8:06 am

    • Maybe to make things fair, since very household has parking, the cost of the parking should equal the cost of a storage space. That way, one can make the choice – donate the stuff, pay for a parking permit, or pay for a storage space.

      Comment by lucy gigli — May 21, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

  6. Is it more an issue that visitors have no where to park, since the houses have garages? I always wondered about what people who have meetings and social events do in these developments. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a place without at least room in the driveway or in front of the street. I’m in and out of the house all day long. To have to pull into the garage every time would be inconvenient.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 19, 2016 @ 8:14 am

    • I have neither a driveway nor a parking space in front of my house, but have been able to handle social events and daily extraction of my car from the garage just fine.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 19, 2016 @ 8:28 am

      • It is a bit different for older homes if your garage was originally a stable.

        Comment by frank — May 19, 2016 @ 9:01 am

        • Understood, but since the topic was Bayport with a modern size garage and the statement was “wouldn’t buy a place without at least room in the driveway or in front of the street” I was pointing out that lots of people in Bayport purchased homes without driveways or a parking space in front of their house and manage just fine.

          Comment by Lauren Do — May 19, 2016 @ 9:04 am

        • I’m merely stating my preference. Lots of people put up with all kinds of situations that others would not. We’re not all the same. Many do just fine without indoor plumbing. I just don’t want to be one of them.

          Comment by Denise Shelton — May 19, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    • I think they have doors powered by “electricity” that open when one pushes a button on a “remote control” these days. Lasers or some such wonder.

      Comment by BC — May 19, 2016 @ 4:30 pm

      • Why is this so hard to understand? Pull up to the curb, get out of the car and go in the house OR pull up to the garage, use the remote, wait for the door to come up, pull in the car making sure not to run over anything, close the garage door with remote, get out of the car, go through the garage door, go into the house. Is one scenario not more convenient than the other? Yes, of course parking in the garage is what many do because they have no choice. My point is that given the choice, I would choose to not have to park in the garage every time I come home. I also wouldn’t live where I had to be part of an HOA or where I couldn’t have a vegetable garden or hang my laundry out if I wanted to. If I spent a million dollars on a house, I’d like my life to be easier not harder. But that’s just me.

        Comment by Denise Shelton — May 20, 2016 @ 6:20 am

  7. Perhaps the Bayport speaker’s problem is one of consumption. If you can afford to spend a mil (plus or minus) on a home in that development, you probably also have the income to fill your home with “stuff” and when when you run out of room, fill that 2-3 car garage with “stuff”, so then there is no place for your car(s). It’s still a bit puzzling why this came to the city council at all; seems more of an HOA board issue. (And if I were her neighbor, I might slip her the Marie Kondo book to perhaps inspire a bit of spring cleaning…)

    Comment by Kristen — May 19, 2016 @ 9:30 am

    • I don’t think the speaker said her garage was full of stuff. What I remember is a general complaint about parking spill over from a neighboring development and inability for guests to find parking. She might have mentioned her own difficulty in finding a spot. There is video of Council meeting.

      Comment by MP — May 19, 2016 @ 9:54 am

      • I meant to address the “spill over” complaint. That particular neighbor borders RAMP which has no new housing developments and the sprucing up of Summerhouse predates her residency. It’s not as though folks living at Shinsei Gardens or the new Alameda Landing project are the culprits.

        Comment by Lauren Do — May 19, 2016 @ 9:58 am

      • It’s totally my assumption that her garage is full of stuff. Maybe that isn’t the case for her, who knows, but it’s a pretty common problem.
        So, I don’t live in Bayport, but what she *could* do is what I do when I have a guest coming over who has limited mobility. I remove my car from my driveway, park it elsewhere in the neighborhood, and let my guest have the driveway. Voila, problem solved.She could do the same and let her guest park in her spacious garage or driveway (if she has one.) When we have a lot of people over, they are at the mercy of street parking and there’s nothing I can do about that– luckily, most people I know don’t complain about having to walk a block or two.

        Comment by Kristen — May 19, 2016 @ 10:05 am

    • Aren’t we all so judgmental! I seem to recall the speaker saying it was her first Council meeting speak-up. She may never have been to or watched a council meeting before. She also said something like; most people in Alameda don’t know where Bayport is [This is partially true–I know several East Enders who don’t know about Bayport. They just haven’t been paying attention and Bayport isn’t in the news much]. It takes time to figure out the right forum in which to present your particular problem effectively.
      She probably didn’t figure on becoming the center of Blogging Bayport’s attention after speaking, either.

      Comment by vigi — May 21, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

  8. #7 Marie Kondo’s book: the life-changing magic of tidying up. At your local bookstore and at Amazon. More than 3,000,000 copies sold.

    It works.

    Comment by A Neighbor — May 19, 2016 @ 9:48 am

  9. What? In Alameda people park two blocks from their houses each day and call themselves “happy?”

    Comment by Captain Obvious — May 19, 2016 @ 7:36 pm

  10. #7 and #8 — agree on the Marie Kondo book. I’m actually going through the “does this give me joy or not?” question on my comic book collection later tonight. Coincidentally enough, said comic book collection is taking up space in my Bayport garage.

    Comment by Dave S. — May 20, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

    • CDs (the problem being that you can find them used for $1 many places – a junk store visit earlier this month: King Sunny Ade, Thelonious Monk, Well-Tempered Clavier and Elivs – White Christmas = $4)

      Comment by MP — May 20, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

  11. When we were dealing with the permit parking option around Del Monte/Littlejohn Park a couple of summers ago, the issue was the lack of parking for additional development. Unlike new developments (such as Bayport), many houses/buildings don’t have off-street parking and most garages are too small for modern cars.

    We learned a lot about the issues of permit parking in Alameda:

    1) There is no budget for a permit program or enforcement; neighbors would have to pay for such a program (already noted by #4 JKW)
    2) We had to give the city guidance on evaluation & planning scenarios: they automatically assumed that permits should control daytime parking
    3) The developer is required to set aside funds for the initial set-up (signage, etc) but the neighbors would still have to carry the rest of the costs
    4) Deciding who would qualify for permits, and how many per residential unit will be a horrendous, contentious process

    The goal was to discourage residents (new and old) bringing more permanent cars to the neighborhood, and to preserve access to the park & residential visitors. The baseline overnight car count was done on weeknights between 12a – 6a-ish, if memory serves. These are the approximate hours envisioned for any future permit parking program in the neighborhood.

    Most of the neighbors were not in support, and probably still aren’t. We’re a couple of years away from conditions that might trigger a serious look at it. I’m hoping that fewer people have multiple cars by that time.

    Comment by Alison — May 21, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

  12. Searched “Marie Kondo”…found “spark joy”…her patented folding method. This woman folds each piece of clothing like a Marine folding an American flag. If you have that much time on your hands, I guess it could work.

    Comment by vigi — May 21, 2016 @ 3:20 pm

    • origami

      Comment by MI — May 22, 2016 @ 10:22 am

  13. Vigi, et al, your hometown library has 1 CD, 1 Japanese, 6 copies out or on hold and 2 “lost” copies of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. There has been an active hold list since 2014. The CD is usually easier to get. The second book (Spark) is an answer to people who wrote to her and asked exactly how she folded, wrapped, contained, did, etc., the things she mentioned in book one.

    Comment by Li_ — May 26, 2016 @ 11:12 am

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