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Original post made
on Sep 28, 2010
You can blame the City Council for this. In its infinite wisdom it decided that the best way to relieve parking congestion is to give everyone parking tickets who take longer than one hour downtown. . Now no one will come downtown, businesses will shutter, sales tax revenue will plumet but we will all have plenty spaces to park.
Two City Council members of the council that enacted this insane rule are up for re-election. So the next time you park your car and get a parking ticket remember to thank Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline at the ballot box.
It is really too bad that this posting and the story it tells won't get any exposure beyond this forum. Instead, issues such as downtown plans, state of the city addresses, and scripted answers at candidate forums will be what goes in front of the vast majority of MP voters. Menlo Observer's comments could not be more spot on, but, alas....
The city of Menlo Park wrote 22,000 parking tickets (we have a population of ~30,000) That's almost 3/4 of a ticket per man, women and child in this town.
Why would ANYONE want to shop or dine here! Thanks again Heyward Robinson!
Don't forget all the "red light" tickets given out in the name of "safety" at intersections that don't even have red light accidents!
As a resident of the downtown area, I know parking can be a bit tight at times. However, with businesses closing their doors pretty soon there will be plenty of parking. It is just another example of how business friendly MP really is.
Mrs. Baciocco, I too have experienced the results of the over zealous MP parking nazis, err, enforcement. They will actually follow you if they recognize your car, so taht they can see the next lot you move your car into.
Did you park in a 2 hour lot or 1 hour spot on the street? Since MP parking has had enforcement for many years, were you surprised that you'd get ticketed for going over the time allotted? Or are you surprised that all of you in your party were ticketed? It's lousy that all of your got caught, but MP makes no secret of ticketing those who spend money downtown, so I guess I'm a little puzzled as to why the outrage. Should the five of you not have received tickets because you had lunch together?
If I were a downtown merchant I would be posting signs for the election of Peter Ohtaki and Chuck Bernstein. They care about downtown businesses, they care about the environment because they want Menlo Park residents to shop in Menlo Park and not drive to Redwood City or Palo Alto to do their dining and shopping.
Heyward Robinson and Rich Cline are actually promoting global warming by encouraging people to drive to other cities for dining and purchases. They achieved this through a very onerous parking policy that punishes the retailers through diminished revenues, punishes the residents by forcing them to shop in other cities, and punishes the City through reduced tax receipts.
Rich Cline and Heyward Robinson are not looking out for Menlo Park. They are only looking out for the Unions. Please vote them out on November 2. Gail's proxies have failed miserably at their jobs.
Yes, anti-incumbent seems to be the trend and not just in Menlo Park. Just a thought -- maybe the elected officials should actually represent the people who elected them.
I guess you now know who I'm voting for.
if your lunch is taking more than 2 hours, it is too long of a lunch. theres not enough parking in menlo park. unless a new parking structure is built, I am in favor of the strict enforcement
Atherton Taxpayer -
Thank you for your thoughtful post.
Guess I won't be dining in Menlo Park any time soon - must have at least 1 1/2 hours for a nice lunch/dinner.
I got a ticket once in MP because my Suburban apparently exceeded the size of the parking space - I fought it an finally won.
I can't help but compare the outrage expressed over ticketing motorists for breaking the law, with the glee expressed last week over ticketing bicylists for breaking the law.
All I can say is Palo Alto is 10 X worse, as I got 3 tickets in one day and returned everything I purchased, moved out of my Palo Alto office to Menlo Park.
At least Menlo Park does not have colored zones, so you cannot repark in that particular area.
San Carlos has great restaurants, and do like I did, do not patronize stores in cities where they can ruin your day.
That was 3 and 1/2 years ago, and I am proud to say I don't do Palo Alto,no restaurants, stores, banks anything.
The cities are running all their stores out of business, and then complain !
Go figure, POLITICIAN 'S..................
My hairdresser is in downtown Menlo Park, and I usually get in and out in an hour, so I can park on the street. It is hair-raising (pun intended) to watch the clock tick down when my stylist is a few minutes late. The MP hour limit means I won't stay to shop or eat and spend money downtown, which I would definitely be inclined to do if the limits were all raised an hour (2 hrs on street; 3 hrs in lots).
Get rid of Cline and Heyward, the parking nazis.
Try being an employee in Menlo. Where can one park safely near work for 8 Hrs. Police and Fire provide great parking for their employees. And if I want to shop or go to a restaurant after? Forget it.
My son just got a parking ticket--with the downtown area beginning to look like a ghost town, it seems prudent for the Town "fathers" to reconsider the town's parking policy. Why would anyone try to shop downtown when they can easily go a few blocks to Stanford & park all day?
Re: Sam's comment
I'm pretty sure the parking restrictions end at 5 or 6 pm - most people who finish work could stay and eat at a restaurant with no fear of ticketing.
I've posted before about this, I find it so outrageous that apparently MP doesn't have an interest in keeping people coming back. I would rather go anywhere else because an hour for a lunch with good friends or a business associate is not enough time for sure. Even if you were eating quickly, then want to shop or bank or anything else, there is no way. I used to have a store on California Ave in PA and it would have been a nightmare if my clients couldn't spend time looking and trying on clothes. I know the business people in MP are ready to tear their hair out. It's not enough that times are hard, they can't even work with the people who want to patronize them? Yikes!
Menlo Park residents,
You can do something about the boneheaded decisions our City Council is making. Two members of the Parking Police (PP) are up for re-election. Their names are Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline. They have the arrogasnt attitude that they know what is best for you. Don't give them the chance to run roughshod over your liberties any longer.
You can take back your city by giving Mr. Robinson and Mr. Cline the heave-ho and vote for two highly qualified candidates: Peter Ohtaki and Chuck Bernstein. They actually care about the residents, will work hard for you and will listen to you.
I would LOVE it if Menlo Park ousted Robinson and Cline.
Will they do it? I don't know. After all, Kelly Fergusson was reelected. What a lapse in judgment!
Interesting observation that motorists get angry at being ticketed when they break the law by parking too long, but crow when cyclists get ticketed for breaking the law. One big diff, of course, is that it's not too dangerous to park in a lot or on the street too long, vs. running a stop sign. But still, as nasty as the parking enforcement is in MP, you'd have to be blind to not notice the parking signs. So you got caught for parking too long. Can Atherton residents no longer pay parking tickets because of the poor economy? Should MP stop ticketing people & getting much needed revenue? Really, things will stay the same.
1. Parking is not a public safety issue.
2. The CC has not done anything to address the parking problem. They are like ostriches with their head in the sand. So instead of providing more parking they punish the residents.
3. City council members work for the residents. They are supposed to make our lives easier to the extent that they can; not make our lives more difficult.
4. Mr. Robinson and Mr. Cline only care about the unions and want to use parking fines to close the budget gap caused by them in the first place when they gave the SEIU employees a 35% increase in retirement benefits and rolled the retirment age back from 60 to 55.
5. THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!
For the last 30 years we have thought PV an ideal place to live while PA and MP have been the NEARBY ideal places to shop, lunch and dine.
With PA's and Stanford's mushrooming growth and MP's insane parking and traffic planning lack of foresight, this appears to be no longer true. Failure to plan for growth is planning to fail for demise!
OK here's a funny (not) story years ago. 1990's. Santa Cruz Avenue. I parked and walked across the street to Wells Fargo Bank. As I crossed the street in the middle, a large portly Parking Nazi yelled at me from his "ticket-mobile" to halt for jaywalking. I refused, kept walking, thinking "how ridiculous" and entered the bank. Looking back, I noticed he double parked and was on foot after me. I then walked out the back door (yikes, I am now a fugitive) and into Draegers through the back lots, with him in pursuit. In Draegers now, I felt trapped. I went into the ladies room waiting about 15 minutes, took my sweater off, and tried to change my appearance putting a scarf on that was in my purse. God knows I am now a full fledged criminal. Venturing out, I now notice 3 policemen walking up and down the aisles in search of me. I waited another 15 minutes totally petrified, then quickly went out a back Draeger's employee door and saw 2 police vehicles in the lot. No cell phones back then, so I dashed into Mikado (now gone) and asked to use their phone to call my husband. He came and picked me up laughing hysterically. I was really shaken and fearing they were still after me, my husband fetched my car. Mind you, at this time I was in my mid 40's. No spring chicken but lived in the area since 1952. I call this incident "The Great Escape"...... That particular parking Nazi is now retired.
It seems to me that people just have a problem following laws. It's all about convenience, whether it's rolling stop signs, running red lights, cell phone use, leaving the car anywhere as long as you please, etc. Nobody ever owns up to their mistakes. It's always somebody else's fault. I'm tired of all the whining!
I for one have never gotten a ticket for anything! As far as I'm concerned keep on handing out those tickets!
"I attended a reunion luncheon with five friends at Carpaccio in Menlo Park recently. We all received parking tickets and we all were outraged that this would happen."
Let's see if I understand. You and your friends overparked in a parking lot where parking is limited to 2 hours. You were ticketed for breaking this law. You are now outraged that this would happen.
Do you think the laws don't apply to you and your friends? Do you think the parking police shouldn't be ticketing cars that are overparked?
I agree with Cindy - too much whining by folks who don't want to own up to their own mistakes. It's time to grow up people and accept responsibility for your actions. I've been ticketed before and I don't like it either. But I don't berate the police for doing their job - I berate myself for not paying closer attention. And I resolve not to let it happen again.
Another angle on parking - I believe the Downtown plan discussed elsewhere on this forum does include proposals for 2 to 3 parking structures in the downtown area so our Council members are indeed attempting to do something to alleviate this known problem. However, many folks, including merchants, have argued against the structures because of their cost, appearance, etc.. Bottom line: you can never make everyone happy.
Why anyone chooses to run for local government and subject themselves to the abuse I see heaped on them in this forum I'll never understand.
Ranch Gal - that is some story! I can easily picture it - which is unfortunate, because it's based on my less dramatic but still experience w/the parking nazis. I can understand the guy being dumb en9ough to chase you down for jaywalking, but getting real cops involved? Ridiculous. Nowadays you might have been shot or tased for that. Hey, good thing they didn't bring in a sniffer dog after you - that would be pretty funny in Draeger's.
When I worked in downtown Menlo, before I had my parking permit & while there was so much outlying construction that all day parking was hard to find in the winter, I got a lot of tickets. The parking nazi often followed me from lot to lot and would make a silly u-turn in his little ticketmobile to chase me down. I was not the only person to experience that, either. I also talked to people who would obediently move their car to a different lot in the time allotted but would get wrongly ticketed & would have to fight the tickets. And where were the cops when a guy hit me w/his car when I was a pedestrian crossing Santa Cruz? No where to be found, of course. But if you go 1 mile over the speed limit, 20 cops descend on you.
Frankly, if the city wants to clean up in fines, they should just target that Carpaccio's crowd who drink a lot and stagger out, even from lunch.
Ranch Girl, that is a hilarious story.
So I moved here from Marin County. I was amazed at how badly they treat motorist convenience in this whole area. Of course it is gong to inhibit business. You can't get there from here, without going around and around. You can't park. I started reading the papers and realized that MP and PA just don't like people who drive cars. Wow is that dumb. It's like not being able to get broadband Internet, only for vehicles. And I do not see people on bikes, I see bikers on bikes not regular people going somewhere. Just lots of cars going round and round barriers with no place to park either. It stops economic progress and prosperity. You want a ghost town surrounding you?
Wow...it's no wonder we're raising entitled children with the attitude about parking tickets! Of course these are probably the same parents who let their underage drivers cart around other teens when they are prohibited from doing so the first year with a license. We all get annoyed when we don't pay attention, often at the person that reminds us. There's the convict that blames the person that turned her/him in, the copy that pulls us over for speeding or writes us a ticket, the credit card company that charges a late fee because we're LATE with our payment. Any why would we penalize the merchants by going to other towns to shop, that is taking the frustration out on the little guy again! As citizens we need to make our voices heard and do our best to elect town officials that hear us and are strong enough to stand up for what the majority believes in.
The part that annoyed ME the most is "Wondering's" post about Carpaccio's. This is one of our home town restaurants that generously gets involved in all sorts of local events. Neither they nor the rest of us that don't "stagger" out deserve your nastiness. What an ugly thing to say.
Hey, the truth can sometimes be ugly. I have witnessed many obviously under the influence of alcohol leave Carpaccio's and get into their cars and drive. I am not exaggerating and I was in a position to witness this over and over again, as were my coworkers and others in the vicinity. I'm not blaming Carpacccio - they didn't force their customers to drink. I've enjoyed a few there myself, but I didn't then get behind the wheel of my car.
You parked over time and got a ticket. Deal with it. It's called awareness of your surroundings and accepting the consequences of your actions. Basic stuff.
You folks who are lambasting the original letter writer are getting off the point. You want her to deal with it? Well, she is, by not returning to MP to spend her money. If you like that result, then drop the discussion. The real issue being made is with the CC members, who do nothing to stop driving both local and neighboring patrons to other cities. 1-2 hours is not enough time to most anything worthwhile in town. 2-3 hours would make a big difference, would keep people shopping downtown, and keep your local business owners prospering. Or you can continue to be self-righteous, and then wonder why there are so many vacancies, and the city is out of money. You can not make up for that with parking tickets that drive revenue elsewhere.
Please be more mindful of your place in the world. Spend a moment and read the signs, watch for people crossing the streets, thank the police for helping to keep our city safe, put your cell phones down and be thankful for your health and the opportunities you have living on a beautiful planet. Be aware that you share with others - and that we can co-exist peacefully if we remember we are not the most important one on the planet.
@Real Issue -
She is being petulant if she chooses to take her business elsewhere rather than change her illegal behavior. She is blaming the "Parking Nazis" or CC members for her parking ticket rather than accepting responsibility for her own mistake.
I expect that the 1 -2 hour parking limits were carefully chosen in discussions with downtown merchants who would not be happy with longer limits. Most people don't need more than 1 or 2 hours to do their shopping or to have lunch or dinner - I know I don't and I park downtown frequently for both purposes. Since parking is clearly limited, someone staying longer than allowed is likely denying that parking space to another person/customer.
Palo Alto used to have parking problems but since they built 3 parking structures in the University Ave area and two near California Street, I've never not been able to find a parking place, even during the noon rush.
I think this is the way Menlo Park should go and I'm surprised at all the opposition I've read to the parking structures proposed in the Downtown Plan.
You are right on about the parking structures. Even one would accomplish a lot. Also, however the 1-2 parking limits were chosen, they are not serving the community well, and need to be revisited.
This isn't about blaming somebody, or taking responsibility for illegal behavior. The bottom line to all of this is that her rememdy will now be to go everywhere else except Menlo Park. And if you think this is an isolated case, it's not. I live in a nearby community, and used to go to downtown MP quite often. Now I only show up there if it is absolutely necessary, which isn't very often. I have never received a parking ticket in MP, because I am vigilant, but I also don't feel like constantly being distracted by the possibility that I may get delayed conducting whatever business I am there for, so I take my business to more friendly environments. Examples like Redwood City and San Mateo, who use the central paying system. People can buy pretty much any length of time they want. That will appease those who need more time, and get revenue from everybody who shows up.
Just out of curiosity, Steve. Did you chime in one way or the other when the Almanac reported on the "selling alcohol to minors" stings? A lot of people thought that it was a waste of resources to bust the lawbreakers in that case, and I'm just wondering if you are being consistant. Not judging, just curious.
@Real Issue -
No I didn't weigh in on that discussion - I was away for most of the summer so missed a lot of good Town Square issues it seems.
My take? I would have even more forcefully supported the police action. Selling alcohol to minors is really a more serious infraction than overparking and should be strictly enforced.
I'm not sure I follow the reasoning of those who consider this a waste of resources. We're paying the salaries of the police and attorneys whether they do anything or not so I'm pleased to see that we're getting something for our money - in this case, the enforcement of our laws. I can't imagine what the "waste" is that you mention.
Funny about the parking - I have exactly the opposite reaction as you. I tend to avoid RWC and San Mateo because they charge for parking in a lot of areas whereas it's free in Menlo Park. I do a lot of my shopping here and have never been ticketed.
This whole discussion has been a revelation to me because I wasn't even really aware that Menlo Park had parking enforcement people. I'll be sure to be a bit more vigilant in tracking my time in the future though, as I said, I've never been ticketed before.
The "waste" I mentioned comes from the comments presented during that debate, by some of the people who did not think citing restaurants who served minors was a prudent use of the police time and money. I personally thought the sting was a good idea, but it appeared to be about 50/50.
I guess we all have to decide which trade-off is most important to us. Sure, some cities charge for parking in areas that are free in other towns, but at least you don't have to worry about costly overtime parking tickets, as long as you pay a small token amount.
Your comment that you were not aware that Menlo Park even had parking enforcement people is stunning, to say the least. Menlo Park is famous for it's overzealous parking enforcement. The person who wrote the initial letter is hardly the first victim. Just talk to anybody who has to work in the area.
The letter writer isn't a victim - unless she is. But I'm guessing she's not. Even though I know plenty of people who have been wrongly ticketed in downtown MP, (incl myself), she doesn't mention that she was a victim. Parking tickets create revenue. I agree the systems in SM & RWC are an improvement, but it's also nice to run fast errands in downtown MP and not have to hassle w/a machine. I think that the attitude of the parking nazis is a real problem, and it sounds like it has been for a long time!
Melo Park has turned into acity of vitriolic revenuers. Who wantsto shop or eat in aplace that penalizes you for patronizing it. What is really happening here? Shall we look to the structural deficit, and the lifelong pensions these traffic enforcement officers, their management, and the rest of the Menlo park payroll that benefit from the revenues of these tickets in the form of life long pensions and health and other benefits? Shame.
It's no secret that parking in downtown is time limited. I've been living here for 17 years and it has been that way in all that time. I've received tickets for overtime parking. I didn't like it, but I didn't come on a public forum and whine about it. The lots are well marked and anyone paying attention knows there is a time limit. Street parking is down to an hour, but the plazas are at 2. Two hours is plenty of time. I know, you want to park right out in front of the store, but if you need more than an hour you can't. So walk a little. The excercise will do you good.
Sure, it's a bummer to get parking tickets. I haven't gotten one in MP for over six years because I started paying attention to the posted signs. It's simple, you just follow the rules and not act outraged because someone enforced the rules.
Parking is an issue downtown and the downtown plan supports merchants and residents by attempting to provide more parking that will have far longer time limits available. I find it very interesting that there would be people posting on this site promoting Bernstein and Ohtaki when they have both expressed opposition to the downtown plan and opposition specifically to parking garages. The current council has been trying to do something about this problem in order to help downtown business but people like Bernstein have always been there to oppose every attempt to help business thrive and help residents get longer term parking availability.
Several downtown business people have told me how a garage would be incredibly helpful: a place for employees to park, longer term parking for customers, and a greater capacity for business growth.
Let's do some thing about it. Get fliers out in your neighborhood and on the Yahoo neighborhood groups - the Willows has one, Facebook, post messages at the polls and local businesses, you can take this outside this forum. Call out the City Council members and ensure they don't get re-elected. Now who can we thank for the horrible overnight parking rule? It's BS that you have to spend the price of housing in Menlo Park and yet can't get a permit to park you car on the street overnight. It's ridiculous! I'm sure we'd all pay the extra $35 a year per resident to not have to deal with it.
Have things changed so that permits are no longer available to park on the street overnight? We applied for a permit to park overnight for 7 days when friends were visiting and had no trouble getting a permit. This was over a year ago though - maybe two. Hate to think we've become inflexible about that.
As for organizing to increase the amount of time you can park in the lots downtown, I think you're likely to run up against the opposition of the merchants who want to encourage turnover in the parking lots the same way restaurants want to encourage turnover of tables. The more turnover, the more customers.
Until a parking garage is built downtown parking is often going to be in short supply and extending hours is not going to be popular with the merchants. If you want to organize for something that will really solve the parking problem, organize to have the Downtown plan approved and to have the parking structures built ASAP. Palo Alto used to have a severe parking problem downtown that they solved with their 3 parking structures. Now they have the best of all possible worlds: readily available parking that's free. Of course businesses are still iffy in Palo Alto because of the lousy economy but at least they can't blame lack of parking for that problem.
Yes! Parking garages, and Yes! Downtown Plan!
You know who supports these ideas that will help these lingering lunchers park longer? Yes, it's Cline and Robinson! All the anti-incumbent stuff on here is misdirected. They have been working to resolve this problem while Bernstein and Ohtaki are clearly opposing downtown garages and help for business owners and residents alike.
Please do your research before "throwing the bums out"; support Cline and Robinson if you ever want to see any parking garages downtown!
[Post removed due to disrespectful comment and offensive language]
We don't have these problems in Woodside
i got a ticket for parking accross a white END line on a spot in menlo park. it is $45 and i wrote a letter telling them that i have never heard of such a violation, there were no signs and that i am outraged bc the car behind me made it impossible for me to completely pull into the parking spot. they took photos and rejected my letter, still want $45 and i am planning on taking this to a higher level. i am a single mom, can barely making rent due to deadbeat dad syndrome and am healing from cancer, while going through a divorce and raising my 4 yr old daughter on my own doing IT ALL. they shall not see the end of me... until i get some JUSTICE... i see by reading here that I AM NOT ALONE!!!
i live in REDWOOD CITY... but this ticket was received outside the menlo park TRADER JOES. they have white lines on the END of the spots so if your nose or butt hangs over it... BOOM = ticket. brutal. ya think thats a danger??? --- like someone can die from that? :o|
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