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Council extends paid parking pilot program that lost over $100,000

Original post made by Jim Neal, Old Mountain View, on Apr 29, 2015

In all the furor over the BRT lanes, the fact that last week, the Council also extended the controversial paid parking program which lost over $100,000, has gone relatively unnoticed.

Last fall, Council implemented a pilot parking program despite the fact that staff had strongly recommended a "wait and see" approach. The program was anticipated to have a small deficit of less than $20,000 initially and was anticipated to possibly generate income afterward.

The ostensible reason given was to protect neighborhood parking. However, the program did not restrict parking for events such as The Farmer's Market, Thursday Night Live, The Art and Wine festival or other events.

THe 3 hour limit was enough to allow parking for The Farmers Market, but not for football games. I never understood the reason for this. In my opinion, it doesn't matter if people are parked for 3 hours or 5, it should all have remained free.

Approximately 2700 staff hours were dedicated to the permit parking program which generated about $10,000 income to the city instead of the projected $90,000. This means that the program generated just under $4 per staff hour spent and was $80,000 short of the projections. Even if staff was paid a minimum of $10/hr (John Inks indicated that staff is paid significantly more), the program would be losing $6 per hour and that doesn't include the non-staff expenses which were $61,000 to date.

The good news is that the number of paid lots will be reduced, as will the area to be included in the 3 hour time limit for event days. However, Pat Showalter twice requested that the area near 100 Moffet be placed back into the resticted parking zone based on the request of one resident even though there had not been a single citation issued there. In the end, the Council decided not to include the 100 Moffet area, but they did decide to continue the "Pilot".

My understanding when this "pilot" was first considered, was that it was being done on a trial basis, and that if it was unsuccessful, it would be discontinued. By any analysis, it has been an unmitigated disaster (which is probably why staff so strongly recommended a wait and see approach), yet the Council on a 6-1 vote (Inks against) decided that the pilot needs more time.

If these dismal numbers were not enough for the Council to discontinue this money wasting program, what will be? The program is expected to lose less than $30,000 this year because of the reduction in staff hours needed to administer.

In my opinion there are far better uses for precious staff time and far better uses of limited City funds.

Jim Neal
Resident Old Mountain View

Comments (5)

Posted by Angry Voter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

This is just the beginning. This is not a "Get through the next week and it will blow over" issue. We're digging in for the long fight.
For someone to lie to my face then steal the time I have from my family by doing the opposite of why I voted for him. Well lets just say Rosenberg and Showalter are going to hear about it all the way to the exit door if they do not do the job they were entrusted to do, represent the CITIZENS of Mtn View.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

It appears that the City is now stepping up enforcement of the parking restrictions in downtown. When I was in CVS yesterday, one of the employees told me that she now has to move her car once an hour because parking enforcement started marking the tires last week and there is no dedicated free parking for employees.

I don not know why this has changed but I suspect it may be to close the gap for the ridiculous amount of money the program has been losing. The problem with this is that it is very likely that the gap may be closed by generating more tickets to those who can least afford it, the minimum wage workers in downtown! Just a few tickets in a week could cost them a significant portion of their salaries.

Perhaps in a few years we will be hearing that the minimum wage needs to be $20/hr to cover the cost of parking tickets for workers. The paid parking program needs to be terminated now before there are any more unintended consequences.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

Posted by @Jim Neal
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Regular (as opposed to Levi Stadium event parking) in downtown Mountain View is time limited to facilitate turnover for customers of businesses in the area. An employee who works at a business that is located in the downtown Mountain View Park District, such as the CVS Pharmacy at 850 California Ave, is eligible to purchase an employee parking permit which allows the holder to park in one of the designated public parking lots beyond the normal three hour time limit. The cost of a permit is low, around $30 per month on an annual or quarterly basis and is apparently quite popular since it has become difficult to find parking adjacent to the Post Office since Lot 9 was opened to permit parking last year. Information on downtown parking permits is available at the following link.

Web Link

Regarding the cost of city staff time, here are a few links regarding actual costs of city employees:

Total Cost of Employee by Name (2013) - San Jose Mercury News Public Employee Salaries Database

Web Link (select County=Santa Clara, Entity=Mountain View)

Total Cost of Employee by Name (2013) -

Web Link

Salary Plan and Position Listing (FY 2014-2015) – Mountain View City Government Web Site

Web Link

Posted by voter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Stick around Jim Neal - hopefully you will get voted in next time. You appear to be the only "activist" this town has.

Sadly, no other candidates or elected officials bother to take the time to communicate with us at a personal level. They are now much too important to explain themselves to the fools that voted them in.

It is amazing how quickly the successful candidates turn on the voters. We have that recall for Rosenberg and Showalter - but sadly I doubt it makes a difference.

Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Thanks Voter! I see it as my responsibility to look out for the residents, small business owners, and those who work here. I'll continue to speak up on issues that I think are important as well as to keep everyone informed.

Thanks @Jim Neal for all the great links! I'm sure that you were able to do the math and see that the loss was actually well over $100,000, but since I don't know exactly which staff worked on the project or their salaries, I based my numbers on the new minimum wage of about $10.30/hr.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

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