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Sound Off: What Do You Think About the New Parking Meters Resetting When You Leave?

Five of the 30 new parking meters have sensors that go back to zero once you drive off - even if you haven't used all of your time. What do you think?

Ah, the pleasant surprise of pulling into a parking space and realizing there's money left on the meter. But that's no longer the case with five of the 30 new parking meters installed on Throckmorton around Depot Plaza. 

The meters, which accept credit and debit cards, were installed in September as part of a three-month pilot program to collect data that will help determine future parking needs downtown. But part of that data collection means five of them are equipped with sensors that reset once you leave - even if you haven't used all of your time.

"When you drive off, they do go back to zero," said Mill Valley Police Lt. Ken Dunkel. In addition to collecting the data, its an effective way to increase revenue, he said.

Although the meters are part of a three-month trial program, they'll be there well into January. The free parking policy from Thanksgiving to Christmas will extend their use into 2013.

A recently formed ad hoc committee will use the data collected to review downtown parking as a whole. Dunkel said the city may also look at pay-by-smart-phone meters, and is taking into consideration what neighboring cities and towns are doing. Mill Valley has a total of 396 parking meters downtown.

What do you think of the new meters? Do you agree with them resetting? Like the new credit card option? Tell us in the comments.

And email info@cityofmillvalley.org or call 415.389.4100 to share your thoughts with the Mill Valley Police Department.

CJ October 09, 2012 at 03:11 PM
It is one more step towards making the downtown an unpleasant place to go. First they instituted Sunday meters, then added hours to the meter readers (to the point where there are times they are both circling the downtown like yellow jackets waiting to strike), and now reset meters. I would like to see a downtown where neighbor and friends meet, go for coffee or a meal, then run into other friends talk for a while, then go to MV Market before heading home without feeling stressed and harassed. Please remember people can drive up hwy 101 less than 2 miles and there are shopping malls full of free basically unlimited parking. The point is to bringing people downtown to shop not drive them away. If you need to balance the budget I think you should look at the expense side of the budget for meter readers and control costs not just increase revenue. I do like the credit card option.
Mari October 09, 2012 at 03:50 PM
They don't effect me much - I walk to downtown enjoying the beautiful vistas along Ethel, which rarely has a car on it. It's like walking in paradise, not a sidewalk in sight. The only thing that would improve the view would be some roof gardens along Miller Avenue.
Mari October 09, 2012 at 03:52 PM
excuse me - "affect"
George Gordon October 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
When it comes to revenue for the city, everyone must remember that rather than cutting costs and reducing services, the city will almost always opt for increased revenue. The real question is what kind of a town we are left with over a period time. Meter maids circuling, out of town oriented shops with items and services that almost no resident shops at other than Mill Valley. It's our town, is this the direction we wish to continue, or are there better ideas that should be explored?
Marilyn B October 09, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I prefer going back to when I was born and raised in Mill Valley. There were no meters & it was a friendly place for residents to eat, meet & shop.
Hilary Jeffris October 09, 2012 at 05:12 PM
One of the great "little" joys in life is pulling into a parking spot and finding that you have just enough time to run your errand. There are so few "little" moments like that these days - don't take them away!
Mari October 09, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Well, we can't go back in time, but we can all work together to start to reshape our community. When you are not involved in the process from the start, you get stuck with what they give you, whether you want it or not! Take it from me, I live on Evergreen Avenue in Homestead!
Cosmo October 09, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I was downtown yesterday and overheard two nice tourist bemoaning the fact that they'd gotten an expensive ticket. They had assumed that because it was Columbus Day, the meters wouldn't be working. Wrong! The Sunday meters were bad enough. Now the meters re-set so there is NO free pkg. for anyone ever. Nothing like hanging out the welcome mat during the film festival!I'm a Marin native and am sad to see the town of M.V. perpetuating it's own stereotype. Greedy and expensive. What a shame.
TD October 09, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I get that municipalities need money, and this is another way for the city to make a little more money.... but it's always such a nice little surprise to pull up to a meter that still has some minutes left. I'll miss that.
Mari October 09, 2012 at 06:28 PM
If I have learned anything over these last two years is, most people in government depend upon an informed, engaged citizenship and clear communication. Our communities are shaped by the people. These are just test meters - if enough people don't like them, they will take them out. All you have to do is speak up. When someone tells you "let's just keep this between us" - that is when you need to shout the loudest ! I won't make that mistake again!
Mari October 09, 2012 at 06:33 PM
and we didn't get a chance to be involved, because MHS talked their friends into helping them get funding for a sidewalk!
Alan Abrams October 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The legality of reset meters is the interesting and actionable part. When I put 75 cents in the meter, am I not renting that space for 1 hour? If I leave early and the meter resets, should I not get a refund on the unused time? Something is legally wrong if I pay for an hour and leave after 30 minutes, and the City confiscates the money I paid for the second 30 minutes. What if I pay for an hour, leave and come back before the hour is up? Should I not be able to use the rest of the time for which I paid? I would like to hear Greg Stepanicich's (City Attorney) take on this. By the way, what happens to the reset mechanism when a scooter is parked in the space either close to or far from the meter?
m. canter October 09, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I say, get rid of them. How many times do they want to collect for the same hour? It just doesn't seem right. It's much nicer when you can pay it forward for another.
Mary Allison Tierney October 09, 2012 at 07:30 PM
This is obnoxious. After living in Mill Valley for 18 years I find myself avoiding downtown. First eliminating free parking on weekends, then Sundays and now holidays? Can't see a movie & get a bite to eat without getting a ticket. Pathetic.
Marilyn B October 10, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Mary, I wish you could have seen Mill Valley in 1940...avoiding downtown is pretty much all we can do now. Enjoy the beauty of the mountain and canyons surrounding it.
kbf October 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Low class nickel and diming. Just another instance of bad judgement like RSVP which reduced parking revenues.
Kathleen Duich October 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
My goodness, what a negative, transactional choice if this is how we treat one another in this community. Is this the kind of town we want? Not me. Last week, I stopped when I saw the meter maid pull up in her vehicle at a car. I was standing right by the meter and I happened to have a quarter in my hand. I was also with 3 school-age children. I said to her "I'll just go ahead and put a quarter in the meter for this car". She hadn't even gotten her ticket book out yet and her reply was, "you can't do that, it's not your car". I said "oh come on, really?", then put the quarter in anyway. Her response, as the children looked on, was "it does't work that way", and she proceeded to write the ticket. I get that we have to enforce certain things for the social order, but this feels sad and wrong. I wish something different could have been taken away from the situation, for my children, myself, and the meter lady too.
Beads of Marin October 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
On the other hand, the meter maids will drive in other areas of MV, go by cars parked in green zones or other posted limited time parking and make absolutely no effort to even mark the cars, thus allowing people to park for hours on end and get away with it. I have heard people comment about parking in such areas stating that it doesn't matter if there is a time limit or not since they never get marked anyway, so might as well park there for the entire day. Another way to show that the priorities are only on downtown and the rest of the commercial areas in MV be damned.
Winston October 11, 2012 at 04:44 AM
It is really too bad that I can't have breakfast with my family downtown on Sunday without getting a ticket. Last Sunday I got up from the table to feed the meter, but alas, not enough as I still ended up with a ticket. Sure I should have put more money in, and I suppose I could get one of their stickers for my bumper. But I will do neither. Instead, I will just avoid DTMV as much as possible, which feels pretty bad after having lived in this town for over 20 years. On another subject, I see there is a high end, women's skin product store going into the old Baskin Robins. Pretty much says it all.
Amyland October 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Thanks for pointing out the BR/skincare business: interesting explaining to my 11.5 year old boys why Subway wasn't allowed into town. And yes also to CH's point about green space parking: not enforced. Alan's take on the legality is interesting, but if we overpay a meter haven't we already given it to the City? Don't misunderstand: I am strongly opposed and I wonder. . . how many other towns in Marin besides MV are testing out this program? Are we the first? If so, interesting choice. I love the beauty of this town and the sense of community I have amongst my neighbors and school friends but it sometimes feels like the epicenter of NIMBY/entitled/speeding drivers me first into the merge lane hell. No to the meters and peace and love to you all.
ronnielee October 12, 2012 at 09:58 PM
If you don't eat your whole meal at a restaurant, do you ask for a portion of your bill back? You paid for the time, you just refused to use it all.
ronnielee October 12, 2012 at 09:59 PM
If you drive downtown you are part of the problem. Walk or bike.
Geoff Flint October 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Do we really need parking meters in a small town like Mill Valley?!?!? The revenue collected probably just goes to pay the meter maids and not much more. It hurts downtown merchants which in turn hurts the city. I think that it results in a net loss for the city. I vote to get rid of them!
Rico October 13, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I agree Geoff.
Lou Judson October 14, 2012 at 05:52 PM
<sigh> Thanks Marilyn. I grew up in MV from 1957 to 71. My parents divorced and mother moved to Novato with new husband, and i was drafted and went away. When I came back a few years later, I could only afford a 10x10 rental room in MV! Now I have inherited my mom's house in Novato and only visit MV ocasionally. I miss it very much! Just too damn expensive and getting more so - a communter town mostly now.
Lou Judson October 14, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Rita meter maid probably can't afford to live in MV and is "just doing her job" sticking it to locals and tourists alike. She is technically correct but heartless and vindictive. Boo!
Lou Judson October 14, 2012 at 05:58 PM
I could see one good use of the automated meters - if they only charged you for the time you used, so you didn't need ot punch in say an hour or whatever... than if you stayed over an hour they coulkd write you a ticket and email it to you! Voila, no meter maids, no leftover or unused time, and more revenue! And I would not visit MV any more...

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