Because it’s Memorial Day, it’s a parking meter holiday today in Walnut Creek, and what do you think of those Main Street parking meter machines?

As Memorial Day, you should be able to park on the street in downtown Walnut Creek and not have to feed coins into the meter. Memorial Day is one of the city’s designated meter holidays.

As any regular reader of this site knows, I have had my gripes against the city’s meter holiday system. My complaint (or rant, actually) arose on Presidents Day. My husband, son, and I met at Starbucks on Locust Street, and my husband and I each parked on the street, and we didn’t feed coins into the meter, seeing one sign on the meter that said that the meters are not enforced on “Sundays and holidays.” We failed to read the other sign on the meter that specified that only certain days are deemed city meter holidays.

We got two tickets, $35 each. I was especially annoyed because Presidents Day was a federally designated holiday and had a designated holiday for Walnut Creek city offices. But patrons of downtown Walnut Creek businesses didn’t get a break on Presidents Day? By the way, I appealed my ticket and lost

Meanwhile, there are the parking meter machines on North Main Street between Civic and Bonanza. Six were installed in November 2007, according to Walnut Creek’s public information officer, Brad Rovanpera. The city plans to eventually replace all the old-fashioned meters with these machines, he says, and they are similar to what the city plans to install in city garages.

Honestly, I didn’t notice these machines until recently, because, for some reason, I just haven’t had occasion to parking on that stretch of North Main Street.

The advantage of these machines? Well, they do take coins: nickels, dimes, quarters. But they also take credit cards. So, if you don’t have any coins handy, which is often the case for motorists, you just make note of your space number, punch it into the machine, then feed coins into the machine, or slide in your credit card. You can designate how much you want to pay. Twenty-five cents buys you 15 minutes; $1 buys you an hour.

I haven’t used these machines yet. Has anyone else? At least, with these machines, the sign indicating meter holidays, though in rather small print, is right next to, and all apart of, the general directions for how to use these stations. The meter holiday sign is just above the key pad and coin and credit card slots where you pay.

That’s an improvement.

However, I still think the city needs to look at its meter holiday system, and make those meter holidays coincide with those holidays days that federal, state, and Walnut Creek decide to close their business offices.

9 thoughts on “Because it’s Memorial Day, it’s a parking meter holiday today in Walnut Creek, and what do you think of those Main Street parking meter machines?

  1. Walnut Creek is the worst for parking, charging for parking and tickets. I will spend my dollars in Concord instead! Thanks WC for making it so easy to stay out of your city and not shop there!! Oh yeah, and Neiman Marcus? HA – what a grand waste of space!


  2. I guess if the majority thinks like Anon 9:20 it should be no problem to park in WC since nobody wants to park and shop there. And anyhow why do you think the government should tell Macerich and NM how to run their business? Isn’t it their space and why should it matter whether you think it is a waste of space?


  3. Soccer mom, at first I felt for you.. when i read your story months ago, but as you concede it plainly designates on the meter what is a “meter holiday.” I admit that I wish it was more clear, but it is what it is… I work in downtown wc, and usually use the garage, but I’ve gotten my fair share of tickets when I meant to run in for “just a minute.” 🙂 WC must need the money as they don’t make it very friendly to visit downtown. And just try going to Peets for a quick cup of coffee.. yah right.


  4. I parked at one of those meters in front of the postal store on Main. I paid for 15 min. but came back within a couple minutes and added 2 quarters after realizing I would need more time. Apparently the first quarter’s time was erased leaving me 30 min. not 40 min. You can’t “add to” these meters and thats’s probably written somewhere too. I wrote a very nice letter to dispute the ticket but to no avail…I paid my $30. How much money does the city make on its meters and fines? Is some of it going to the library?


  5. Anon 9:34 –

    The government tells businesses how to run their operations in many ways. Just ask any small business owner how many local, state and federal regulations they have to follow to stay in business. Not much easier on the big guys such as Macerich/Neiman Marcus either except that they can afford to hire high priced attorneys, publicity agents and political consultants to accomplish their goals.

    Regulations are put in place to protect all of us and never get noticed unless someone asks for a variance for their project as in the case of Macerich/Neiman Marcus.


  6. I really like the machines. I don’t know if you noticed…they are solar powered! Seriously, look on top! I always forget the coins, or I don’t have enough of them. The card reader is a welcome addition.

    From what I have read, the meters can be made to be wireless and can transmit all kinds of data to parking planners (and meter enforcement) in order to squeeze the most out of our resources.


  7. I’ve never had a problem parking in WC, even during the holiday season. If one isn’t too lazy to walk 5 minutes, not only do most of the garages have spaces, but there’s also meters available. You just have to know where to go.


  8. 10:14, you are right. The WC CITY garages are great – and affordable if not free in some cases. But be sure it is a city garage, the private garages i.e. at Growers Square are horribly expensive. It is free on weekends though.


  9. I’ve been going downtown for over 10 years. Never have a problem with parking but I don’t expect to park near the store and will walk.

    The new meters are great! No more fumbling around for coins. The post about adding time is troubling. I’ll check that next time.

    When I get a ticket for that ‘just one minute stop’ the only person to blame is myself.


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