The unending car struggles of Berkeley residents

Quinn Dombrowski/Creative Commons

Dear city of Berkeley,

You are eclectic, historic, beautiful, enriching and unique, but you thoroughly suck when it comes to cars, parking and personal transportation. For that and other reasons, we are constantly in a love-hate relationship with you, our home.

It is a well-known fact that parking is difficult in Berkeley. You might say this is to be expected in a major city such as yourself, housing thousands of people and proudly harboring countless one-way streets. This might be true, we admit, but it does not make it acceptable — and we, the car-drivers, are not fans of the always-difficult car debacle.

You make us park for two hours at a time before forcing us to move to an entirely new spot, which will likely take us forever to find. Two hours is nothing — barely two classes at UC Berkeley can fit in that minuscule time slot. And we believe that if we happened to find a spot in your ever-bustling streets, then it should be ours for the day; wouldn’t you agree? To add to that, your cost of parking burns a hole in our already severely tight, possibly nonexistent pockets.

Then we attempt to register our car in Berkeley, allowing us to park indefinitely in front of our apartment building (without having to pay to park in the building, which is upward of $70 a month and another thing we can’t stand). But that only causes our registration and/or insurance cost to skyrocket due to living in an accident-prone, people-filled city such as Berkeley. We just want to be able to park near our house like our parents can!

Your street-sweeping schedule is also a killer. We never fail to forget about it. Specific to every street, and designated to random times and days — set your calendar to the fourth Thursday of every month between noon and 4 p.m., OK? — street sweeping seems odd and unnecessary, but we reluctantly appreciate the effort to keep our home clean.

Additionally, tickets are given out like they’re going out of style. $40 for parking over the meter. $45 for not moving for street sweeping. Another ticket for parking in the wrong residential zone for your permit from the ever-present parking monitor who scours the streets. You never fail to give out a ticket to law-violators like ourselves.

Nevertheless, we will still bring our car with us, because sometimes public transportation just doesn’t cut it, sometimes we just need to be able to escape home, and sometimes we need to have that sense of freedom that comes with a car. But we will not fail to acknowledge the struggles you place on us car owners. We already have to deal with break-ins from the characters of Berkeley, friends begging us for rides to Safeway and Target, the many one-way streets that make us late and roommates asking to borrow our car. We do not enjoy the additional trials you place on us, and we just wanted to let you know.

Please take these complaints into mind and see if there is anything you can do to help us out.


College-Age Car Owners of Berkeley


Image Source: Quinn Dombrowski under Creative Commons 

Contact Bridget Hanzalik at bha[email protected].