They were the mechanical advance guards of a larger city plan to have paid parking on Park Place, Washington Avenue and W. Richmond Ave.
That kerfuffle is over.
The kiosks have been yanked out.
And Point Richmond Business District parking is returning to what passes for normal.
But that normal might not last very long.
The 27 newly built apartments in The Point complex next to Mechanics Bank may soon fill with residents.
The Shea Homes Shoreline development of 60 homes on Seacliff Drive is under construction.
The 200-unit Quarry residential project off Seacliff (near Canal) is close to getting a city green light.
And the Terminal One behemoth wedged between Miller-Knox Regional Park on Dornan Drive and the Richmond Yacht Club on Brickyard Cove Road may eventually break ground for 300-plus homes.
A conservative guess would be that the Point Richmond community population will swell by at least 1,200 people when these new housing projects come online.
And most - if not all - of these news residents will have at least one motor vehicle of some kind. Many, of course, will have two, perhaps more.
If you think it's hard to find parking in Point Richmond today, imagine a tsunami of new residents jockeying their cars (or trucks!) for a choice spot near the public library, the markets, other businesses or the coffee shops on Park Place.
It would be comforting to think that the City of Richmond planners have thought this all through and have a secret plan to deal with traffic and parking from the new developments.
Comforting, but don't count on it.
The city declined to even require some minor citizen-suggested safety measures for Seacliff Drive that would have mitigated traffic impacts related to the Quarry residential project.
And the confusing debacle over the just-removed parking kiosks isn't very reassuring either.
Perhaps it's time for the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council to take a strong leadership role on the issue.
A start might be to have a carefully moderated public forum at which residents could devise strategies for dealing with the anticipated influx of new neighbors, their motor vehicles and where said vehicles might park.
Would the city listen to Point Richmond residents' ideas on this?
You can bet a kiosk or two they will pay more attention after the events of the last few weeks.
Michael J. Fitzgerald