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January 22, 2008

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Burlingame weighs parking permits

City council votes to repeal time limit ordinance; permit idea up for public debate

By Mark Abramson/Daily News Staff Writer

Relief appears to be on the way for Burlingame residents who have to deal with those pesky parking time limits in some parts of town and for drivers who received tickets for violating the city's rarely enforced overnight parking ordinance.

The city council voted unanimously (5-0) Tuesday night to repeal the ordinance, which required people to get a permit to park on city streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. The council also followed Council Member Cathy Baylock's suggestion by voting unanimously to re-examine the ordinance back in five years to give city staff time to look at other options to address overnight parking.

"There are so many instances where I think people can get their cars off the street," Vice Mayor Ann Keighran said. "I feel if you have an ordinance, either you enforce it or you don't enforce it." Keighran added that the city should not bother with it because offenders are not being fined, and all they have to do is buy a permit if they get ticketed.

Longtime Adeline Drive resident Patricia Gray urged the council to keep the overnight parking ordinance and to enforce it more stringently. "I think that is not wise policy to repeal this long-standing ordinance," Gray told the council.
Gray called the tickets a good revenue source and a way to make the streets safer because the roads would not be as cluttered with parked cars.

Burlingame is addressing other parking issues by developing a residential parking permit program. The program would allow residents who live in areas that have one- to four-hour parking time limits to get a permit that will allow them to stay in one spot. The city is holding a public hearing and meeting on the residential parking permit program at 7 p.m. tonight at the Burlingame Recreation Center, 850 Burlingame Ave.

"The plan is unless there are a lot of concerns tomorrow night, we would take it to the council Feb. 4," City Manager Jim Nantell said before the council meeting Tuesday.

Each household would be able to buy a permit for a $50 annual fee, Burlingame police Chief Jack Van Etten said. The permit program could take effect in mid-March on a six-month trial basis on the 200 to 400 blocks of Occidental Avenue and part of Bellevue Avenue. It could be expanded into 12 or 13 areas of the city, including around Broadway.

Former Burlingame Traffic Safety Parking Commission Chair Victor James said the residential parking permits are desperately needed. He has to constantly move one of his vehicles parked in front of his Bellevue Avenue residence. "You can be doing things and it is difficult (to move the car)," James said. "It's a headache."

He said the $25 violation tickets are also annoying, especially when he conducts business for his management consulting practice out of his home and when guests are visiting. The time limits also means that the cleaning lady has to move her car while she is working, James said

Additional article in Examiner

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