For all the folks in Hollister who have been expressing their views on Facebook about the size, or lack thereof, of the parking spaces on San Benito Street, you’re wrong—sort of.
You’re right in that the parking spaces are smaller, but they’re not too small, said David Rubcic, the city engineer who oversaw the new look and feel of the main thoroughfare through town.
“They’re a standard size,” Rubcic said. “But they are smaller than what they were, but before they had been haphazardly put down. They were recently put in with the design standards of 18 feet, the size of the newer vehicles, which are smaller than what they were 20 years ago.”
Christine Morell might disagree with his assessment, when she posted on Facebook: “…just tried to park my little Ford Focus on San Benito St. Regulation size or not, it does not fit. Maybe if other cars were not there, but getting the proper angle in that small space is very difficult.”
Another resident asked Mayor Ignacio Velazquez: “Has the city re-thought the size of the parking spaces? They were made smaller by 2’ I believe. And, now it is a critical issue because parking stops all movement on that direction.”
Never one to pass up an opportunity to respond to an opponent or constituent, the mayor wrote: “The parking space size is the new state standard. It's actually 4' (feet) smaller, I went out there myself to measure. I park in downtown every day and it hasn't been much of an issue parking my car.”
Rochelle Casarez commented that her Chrysler 300 fits fine.
Christine Morrell came back: “…if we have to follow the state guidelines, we might just be stuck with it. Unfortunately we are a farming community that has a large population of big vehicles.
Richard Price challenged with: “The average length that I found in most cities was 22 ft. It seems to be a local law not State or Federal. If I got a ticket in new parking spaces I would go to court and ask to see the local ordinance.
The conversational thread veered seriously off course when some started commenting about dirty shoes, driver’s ed, great looking hair, and tips at parallel parking.
Back on topic, Rubcic said full-sized pickups and other trucks may have to be relegated to side streets where there is diagonal parking.
“Some trucks can fit there (San Benito Street), but the long-bed trucks aren’t going to,” he conceded.
When it comes to hanging over a few inches into the next parking space, it's a matter of the degree of encroachment into your neighbor's territory before you might be cited.
When BenitoLink asked Hollister Police Chief David Westrick about possible tickets, he responded by text: "We are approaching this with the stance of being reasonable. If you're close, you won't receive a citation. If you're way over, then, yes, you would receive a citation."
He wrote that the police are trying to give people time to adjust, and so far there has not been an increase in the number of citations handed out. The focus, Westrick said, is on timed parking, and that the Hollister Downtown Association asked the police department to bring parking enforcement back.
"So working with them and listening to their concerns, we raised the parking limit a few years ago from two to three hours," Westrick said. "This was a move to help the service industry downtown. So far, it's worked well. There has not been any increase in citations."
No matter the number of opinions posted on Facebook about the competency of those who designed or painted the parking spaces that local drivers need to maneuver between, the die is cast and there will be no do-overs, as far as painting goes, according to Rubcic.
But a couple years from now all bets are off as the city takes another look at the configuration of the striping and how well the county’s inhabitants have adjusted to them. Then it will be time to consider landscaping and roundabouts, and such.