Plan to Impose 2-Hour Parking at River Plaza Shopping Center Angers Residents

Many downtown employees use lot to park all day. But the owner of the lot says that's not fair to the merchants because it robs valuable spots from their customers


The owner of River Plaza (formerly the Golden Eagle) on East Washington Street wants to limit parking at the shopping center to a maximum of two hours, saying that the lot is frequently full at peak hours, which hurts businesses.

“There seem to be a significant number of people who park there all day,” said Paul Andronico, vice president of Basin Street Properties, which owns the shopping center. “We don’t know who they are, but we’ve had complaints from businesses.”

Bernadette Burrell, who owns Dempsey’s, says she is one of those businesses, having received complaints from customers who can’t find a spot near the popular bar and restaurant.

“The lot is used more like public parking rather than a shopping center lot,” Burrell said. “A lot of people who work downtown seem to park here and then go work all day.”

Burrell says she is in favor of creating a section in the lot designated specifically for downtown employees, whose only current options are to park in the Keller Street or Theater Square garage.

But many residents are outraged at the proposal, saying there simply isn’t enough parking downtown that’s not subject to the two-hour time restriction.

“The apartment building across the street doesn't have sufficient parking for all of its residents and no parking for guests,” said Rebecca Lack, commenting on Petaluma Patch’s Facebook Page. “Most of those overnight parkers near the bank are residents. On the weekends a lot of bar hoppers park there and safely leave their cars overnight so they don't drink and drive.”

Others worried about who would pay for enforcing the two-hour restriction, with the Petaluma police department already stretched thin.

“Usually, patrolling and enforcing parking limitations on a private parking lot is the financial responsibility of the owner, not the city,” said David Keller via Patch’s Facebook page. “Police patrolling would cost the city the time of having a parking control officer on the property, while they were not patrolling on city streets. Would each car have to be marked to determine time limits for it? This could easily become a job subsidized by city funds, which would not be acceptable to me.”

Andronico said he thought that fines collected would be used to offset the costs, but didn’t have further details. The issue will be discussed again at the May 20 council meeting.

What do you think of the proposal to put in time restrictions on parking at the River Plaza Shopping Center? Will it help businesses? Hurt residents? Or is the answer a new parking lot downtown? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

See other top stories from Petaluma Patch

With Shrinking City Budgets, Park “Adoptions” on Rise

Did Butter & Eggs Melt Away Downtown Sales?

Union, Council Members Seek Assurances on Local Jobs


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Nancy May 08, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Why should a privately owned parking lot subsidize downtown employees' parking needs? Look at what happened in downtown Santa Rosa. Workers parked at the Plaza all day, taking up parking spaces meant for customers, which resulted in the Plaza charging for parking. Maybe the former Golden Eagle Center should follow the same model.
David Devoto May 08, 2013 at 08:27 PM
I used to find myself (and vehicle) often in that lot, although cannot remember having any parking issues. I have a private parking area where I work, and realize how lucky I am. Having said that, I cannot in any way agree that it is fair to the owner of the center or the businesses' located there, which pay for the parking, to allow free parking to non-customers or their own employees.. I cannot agree with a whining apartment dweller that they are essentially owed a spot; you should have checked parking before you moved in. Possibly have a monthly charge and numbered spots for those interested?? Bike racks? I don't have an answer, but I am pretty sure we are not guaranteed a right to a parking spot in the Constitution.
jmsstuff May 09, 2013 at 01:57 PM
I would like to know your numbers count for the "many" that are "outraged". Really. Please tell us how many and where you got that information. Thanks.
Rebecca Lack May 09, 2013 at 02:07 PM
The only time I have seen an issue with the parking in the parking lot is during downtown events. Like Butter and Eggs or American Graffiti.
Karina Ioffee May 09, 2013 at 02:16 PM
I wrote that line after reading comments posted on our Facebook page. Link above.
John Hess May 10, 2013 at 01:00 AM
It's private property and the owners should have their way.
K. Duensing May 13, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Nobody should have the right to use it as a permanent parking spot. Two hours, however is not long enough for visitors and diners to park. Maybe a three to four hour allotment would work. But, if this lot is privately owned it is the right of the owners to designate parking restrictions. Apt dwellers and downtown employees need to make other arrangements.


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