POINT RICHMOND - Parking kiosks were installed late Thursday afternoon and evening along Park Place in Point Richmond, the first step in a planned 90-day paid-parking experiment for the Point.
The lack of information lit up the Nextdoor website, even drawing comments from Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.
"This was a total surprise to me," the mayor wrote. "It turns out the City Council passed this on both first and second readings on the Consent Calendar on 4/4/2017."
The kiosks were installed by a private vendor called PARKEON, a multi-national company that provides similar kiosks worldwide for transit stops, on-street parking, and for off-street vehicle parking areas.
But Mayor Butt indicated that the city doesn't have a formal relationship with the company.
"There is no record of a City contract with the vendor Parkeon," he wrote. "I am looking into it."
The sudden appearance of the parking kiosks prompted some motorists to attempt to purchase a parking permit. Different machines reportedly gave different dates in the next few weeks for when paid parking would start.
But Point Richmond Neighborhood Council President David Schoenthal said the kiosks are expected to be put into service March 19.
"The parking fees will be very low during the 90-day trial and there will be enforcement," he said.
The kiosks and paid parking have been an on-again, off-again discussion topic of both the PRNC and the Point Richmond Business Association since last year.
A story in The Point in late October detailed out the City of Richmond's plan for the pilot parking project, with an explanation by Deneé Evans of Richmond Transportation Services.
"If the pilot goes as expected, additional pay stations may be installed throughout the Point Richmond Business triangle," she said. The triangle streets that would be subject to paid parking would include Park Place, Washington Avenue and Richmond Avenue.
Evans is expected to speak at the PRNC meeting Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center. She also will be speaking at the Point Richmond Business Association meeting the following day at noon at the Hotel Mac.