Website aims to ease parking problems for ferry commuters in Alameda

The parking lot at the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal in Alameda on Bay Farm Island fills up fast. Usually, when it does, drivers park on the residential streets of the neighborhoods nearby.

“Even in our area, and we live a couple of blocks away [from the ferry terminal],” neighbor Chris Arnold said. “There’s always a lot of cars there.”

Starting Tuesday, ferry commuters won't be able to do that anymore. Drivers will need a residential permit to park on neighborhood streets for more than four hours. There are 250 spots in the lot.

City transportation officials urge commuters to rely on buses, bikes and ride-sharing to get to this ferry terminal, but some residents say those aren't options for everyone.

“The ferry is totally packed,” said Jacob Morgan. “If they want people” to use the ferries, then they need to let people “drive to get to public transportation. “

Hena Akhtar lives in one of the neighborhoods near the ferry terminal. She also takes the ferry sometimes to get to work. She empathizes with commuters who will now struggle to find parking.

“To me, it's taking away means for people who absolutely need to go to work,” Akhtar said.

So she created a parking website - called Parking Angel - to rent out some of the driveway spaces in her neighborhood for commuters in a pinch at a cost of about $8 a day.

Akhtar said the hope is that drivers will only use her website to find parking in an emergency, not a daily basis. She says right now she has about eight other neighbors willing to rent out their spots. Her website goes live Monday night.  To learn more about the parking app, click here.

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