City of Berkeley implements online parking management system

Celine Bellegarda/Staff

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Last month, the city of Berkeley implemented a new parking management system that uses license plates as permits to allow permit holders to pay expenses online instantly, according to a citywide press release.

The new parking system is being implemented to speed up the process of renewing and applying for a permit as well as waiting for a physical permit to be delivered by mail, according to the press release. 

“These new systems will also allow us to better look at aggregate data to see patterns of how parking is used in Berkeley,” the press release said. “The public right-of-way is public space. We want to use it as effectively and efficiently as possible.”  

According to the press release, permit applicants will be mailed letters that include codes allowing users to create online accounts through a city of Berkeley portal, which will let holders renew permits and pay expenses online, according to the press release.

With the new system, individuals who receive parking citations will be able to pay them instantly online through a portal on the city website. According to the press release, the deadlines for parking citations issued before June 24 will be suspended and no penalties will be incurred.

According to the city of Berkeley website, individuals seeking permits can check the city’s new online portal to see if their neighborhoods qualify for the program.

According to the press release, the time limit for and cost of parking vary among different areas.

“Our parking management system in the Downtown, Southside, Northside and Elmwood Districts has meter hours and price based on demand,” the press release said. “The closest areas to the downtown core are priced higher with shorter time limits.” 

Beginning Sept. 1, license plates will act as permits in designated residential neighborhoods, according to the press release. 

Although the online parking management system is a newly developed concept, license plate recognition technology has been used by parking enforcement officers since 2016 with restrictions on data usage, according to the press release.

“Our privacy policy is that no data is kept for more than 30 days unless we take action, such as through a citation or violation found,” the press release said. “This database is a closed system, unlinked to any other database, such as DMV databases.” 

According to the press release, Aug. 31 is the last day that 2018-19 residential parking permits will be honored. Drivers can apply or renew permits beginning Tuesday through the portal.

Contact Sydney Hilbush at [email protected].