Permits may fix parking shuffle 

Residents of more than a dozen neighborhoods frustrated about moving their cars and receiving parking tickets in front of their own homes may see a program instituted within the next few weeks that would put an end to their troubles.

Residents near some downtown business districts have been complaining to police about the two-hour parking limit signs on their streets that have led to $25 citations, said Burlingame police Sgt. Dean Williams. To avoid the fines, many residents are forced to move their cars periodically, he said.

A proposed resident parking permit would be around $50 annually and pay for itself after two tickets, Williams said.

A town hall meeting will be held today to gauge the community’s interest in the program, and permits could be ordered at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting.

The area most affected is the region west of El Camino Real by Burlingame Avenue on such streets as Occidental, Ralston, Chapin, Belleuve and Douglas avenues.

"I tend to agree that a person should be able to park in front of their own home," Williams said.

Not everyone is optimistic about the program, however. Ralston Avenue resident Jean Lombardi said her neighbors typically use the nearby Safeway parking lot for long-term and overnight parking. Giving residents permits would allow them to flood the streets with cars and block views as people pull out of their driveways, she said.

"If everyone getsa permit, our streets would be absolutely full," Lombardi said.

Local businesses’ employees and visitors would likely also lose parking opportunities.

"If you take up these two-hour spots, it’s going to be worse, still," said Scotty Morris, who owns a downtown business called Morris and Associates. "Some residents are going to take their second car and just park there forever with their permits."

San Mateo has a similar system already in place. Its parking permit program is free and has been successful, San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi said. Each home in the impacted areas receives one permit per vehicle plus a vistor’s permit, he said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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