Arielle wrote to ask about one of those little shortcuts many of us take when we’re running late but also trying to be responsible. Unfortunately, it won’t help us fend off parking tickets.

“I know it is illegal to feed other people’s meters, but is it legal in Santa Rosa to put more money in your own parking meter?” Arielle asked. “Is it legal to put more change into the meter when it is about to run out allowing you to park for more than 2 hours theoretically? By the same token, since with the parking kiosks you can only pay for a maximum of 2 hours, can you go buy another slip when the time expires, allowing you to park for more than 2 hours?”

Neither will help you because they circumvent the intent of the ordinance, says Kim Nadeau, Santa Rosa’s parking programs coordinator.

“The purpose of the time limit is to provide for turn-over of parking spaces and access to more parkers.  Long term parking is provided in the surface lots and parking garages,” she said.

“The posted time limit controls the length of time a parker is permitted to park in a space.  So, if a person puts additional time on a meter that causes them to exceed the posted time limit, they are in violation of the parking ordinance and can be cited for over-time parking.  The City ordinance is shown below.  The parking fine for this violation is $40.”

The only safe solution is moving the car, Arielle.

11-24.060 Overtime parking prohibited.

(A)       It is unlawful for any person to park or leave standing any vehicle registered in his or her name or operated or controlled by him or her on a City block in excess of the posted time limit.

(B)       It is unlawful for any person to park or leave standing any vehicle registered in his or her name or operated or controlled by him or her at a City-owned or operated off-street parking facility in excess of the posted time limit, or 72 hours if not posted, except by authorization from the Director of Transit and Parking or by a City lease agreement. (Ord. 3871 § 5, 2008; Ord. 3518 § 6, 2001: Ord. 2713 § 1 (part), 1988)


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  1. Richard

    “I know it is illegal to feed other people’s meters…”

    Wait, wait, wait… when did it become illegal to feed other peoples’ meters? I understand that it’s pointless to feed any meter beyond the posted two-hour limit, but when did it become a crime for me to drop a quarter into the meter of someone who paid for 51 minutes and hasn’t yet returned when they have a only minute left?

    I remember several years ago a certain local business used to send out a pair of “elves” around Christmas time to add change to the meters of shoppers whose time was about to expire. And I remember how this whipped the meter maids into a frenzy, but at the time it was ultimately determined that there wasn’t a bloody thing they could do about it. Has the ordinance changed since then?

    May 1st, 2013 8:11 am

  2. Jeff McDonald

    How about just not park nor do business in Santa Rosa?

    May 1st, 2013 8:44 am

  3. QuestionAsker

    this was my question, and i pretty much knew the answer.

    oh, santa rosa, always making things more difficult.

    for example, in oakland, they never got rid of or upgraded their old coin operated meters, and instead contracted with a company that allows you to pay with a card or bank account once you make an account via your mobile phone. you learn this by reading a sticker that they put on each meter.

    i did this once, and was surprised when i got a text telling me that my meter was about to expire (i was already on the road) and asking if i wanted to add more time.

    i really thought this was the most brilliant, practical technology i’d seen employed by a municipality in quite some time; not only did i get a reminder that my time was about to expire, but also the option to add more and stay longer. this would have been invaluable were i in a restaurant, waiting in a line, or in a bathroom somewhere.

    but, logic, ease of use, practicality and kindness are not santa rosa’s strong suit.

    May 1st, 2013 10:42 am

  4. Ray Waldbaum

    Stupid rules like this hurt Santa Rosa businesses because customers just go elsewhere. That’s not just my opinion. Business owners have told me so.

    May 1st, 2013 11:03 am

  5. Brian Brazzot

    Two words….Healdsburg & Petaluma.

    No meters + 2 hours free = eay-in-easy-out downtown shopping

    Mo meters + 2 hours free = vibrant and welcoming downtown districts

    No meters + 2 hours free = smaller city parking departments (less salaries, benefits, pensions)

    No meters + 2 hours free = no purchasing, maintenance, emptying, and regular replacement of expensive kiosk machines, pole meters, change machines, etc.

    No meters + 2 hours free = no local employee parking in on-street spaces

    No meters + 2 hours free = the only remaining option that Santa Rosa has NOT tried

    No meters + 2 hours free = something that Santa Rosa still refuses to even try….for a reason that MUST be explained to those who live, shop, and love it here!

    Please, people. This option is the one that works. Why can’t you even try it? And, it costs NOTHING to try this one.

    May 1st, 2013 11:21 am

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