One friend’s poorly lit, $4.50 private parking lot blues

A friend, who lives outside Walnut Creek, came into town the other night. He sent me an e-mail, with this accompanying photo, that suggests a couple things:

1) First, that people–or some people, that is–still find it tricky to differentiate between the city and the the privately run lots. Either because these people fail to properly read all the signs, or because the signage on the meters and posted at these lots is still confusing.
2) Those who run the lots perhaps need to make it more clear for people to figure out what’s public, what’s private, as well as improve the lighting so that people can make that distinction and know how to properly pay the required fees.
My friend complained that “the city” needs to do something about the poor lighting at this lot at 1600 Bonanza Street. He had a hard time reading the panel on the computerized pay station at about 9 p.m. because it was so dark. When he told me that he was there at 9 p.m., I figured it had to be a private lot, because city meters stop running at 6 p.m. He just assumed it was a public lot. And was there any signage around to indicate otherwise?

Yes, it turns out this is a private lot, at the corner of Bonanza and Locust streets. And when I saw the pay station, in the daytime on Friday afternoon, an umbrella stood over it, perhaps blocking out any of the light from nearby stores and restaurants at night.

Also, there are some signs that indicate that this is a private lot, but how well can anyone read those signs at night? Meanwhile, there is this larger sign at the entrance of the lot that says “Pay Public Parking.”
At night, entering the lot, and seeing the sign, one might assume it is a city-run lot. All the sign says is “pay in advance at the computerized pay station.”

10 thoughts on “One friend’s poorly lit, $4.50 private parking lot blues

  1. all it says is pay at the computerized station? UHH, I hate to state the obvious, but what part of that was confusing? PAY AT THE COMPUTERIZED STATION.

    Across from McCoveys (is this the same one) I do realize it is confusing, though when one drives up on a busy night and sees a mostly empty lot, I think people need to wonder why.

    But you say something that makes no sense. You note the sign only says “pay public lot” – so doesn't that mean PAY?

    Look, I'm with you. I hate those private operators and I will drive around the block multiple times waiting for a spot to avoid them like the plague.. BUT, it says “pay” it says “pay at computerized station.” What part of that made him think he was exempt from “PAYING?”

    Just asking?


  2. @2:16 From what I read, nobody was trying to avoid paying. Did we read the same posting?

    The problem SoccerMom was stating is that many people assume “public” means city run. Her friend was concerned about poor lighting at the lot (and thus unable to figure out how to pay) and he blamed the city.


  3. Personally I'd like to see the city annex all the private lots given the parking problems then put a cap on the amount charged. Or in the absence of that require a cap that is no more than what is charged at Lesher. I'd rather have the revenue going to the city than a private operater that doesn't live in nor care about Walnut Creek.


  4. And I would like to see the city annex LeftCoast's home and use it as a homless shelter given the homless problem…. wait that is stupid, why should the city annex private property and give it to others?


  5. Hi LeftCoast,
    You have a cool moniker!
    I know one operator of private lots that lives in WC. If the City used eminent domain to acquire the properties he operates for the actual landowners, it would have to pay fair market value for the land. I would not favor using my taxes for those payments.
    Happy New Year.


  6. Oh a guy that needs a parking space and watches someone park it 30 feet away for 7 bucks can dream can't he???

    Anon at 2:50 because it's a PARKING LOT not a home. Because if you polled Walnut Creek resident's about the parking problem, lack of space, lack of clarity about what is city owned parking and what isn't, the unregulated cost to park, my guess is most would say the city should own them or put a cap on the charge.

    And anon at 5:27 (good grief can't you all just make up some names?) I understand the fair market value question, until you get to the time horizon of the payback. Eventually your tax dollars would be repaid because the private lots are a GOLD MINE. The tickets alone, which are numerous, are just fat fees for the owner, which is why private owners want them. I laugh at the spin Signature has for a mission statement and service etc. It's a freaking parking lot!! What are your expectations really? “Park my car please and don't return it looking like something from a demo derby!” Pretty high aspirations from a business eh? Pavement, taxes, insurance, and line striping are about all that's required, especially when you have a computerized meter as the guardian of pay and arbiter of whether or not you get a $20+ ticket for misinterpreting the signage. It's a GOLD MINE. The city wishes it could get it's hand on a nearly zero labor cash cow effort like this. Parking Lots. The gift that keeps on giving! LOL.

    Anyone ever researched how these were acquired and developed through the city??? I bet there's a story there…..


  7. LeftCoast actually affordable housing ranks really high in the polls, but if you prefer maybe the city should annex your house and turn it into a PARKING LOT.

    Do you ever read what you write? If parking lots in downtown WC are such goldmines why don't you go out and buy yourself some? And with all the money you make as a parking lot operator you can finally pay a fair price to the attendant for his service to park your car when you take your father out for dinner. And I'm sure your father would appreciate you stop whining that 7 bucks is just way too much money for parking a car, but that you had no other choice since his health doesn't allow him to walk very far any longer.


  8. I would like to clarify a misunderstanding here so everyone has their facts straight, if facts are indeed important to any of you. I am the owner of Signature Parking. Our firm does not operate private parking lots in Walnut Creek. The parking lot pictured in this post is operated by Regional Parking, a company who also provides private parking lot patrols and issues fee notices to violators in private parking lots throughout the city. Merry Christmas!


  9. Yes, Michael is correct. Signature Parking provides the valet services. Regional Parking manages the private lots around town.

    Thank you, Michael, for posting and helping to clarify that.


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