Ways to free up more downtown parking on Tuesday Edmonds City Council agenda

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This map illustrates locations where on-street employee parking would be eliminated. (Courtesy City of Edmonds)

The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday night meeting will discuss a proposal aimed at creating more on-street public parking spaces for shoppers and visitors in downtown Edmonds, by restricting where employees who work downtown can park.

The proposal is among several recommendations made by an ad hoc committee convened last winter by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. The committee, comprised of several city department directors and representatives from the Citizens Economic Development Commission and Edmonds Downtown Alliance, proposed to eliminate the employee parking exemption nearest the retail concentration along 5th Avenue — and includes  segments of Dayton Street, Walnut Street, Maple Street and Alder Street.

The city currently charges $50 per year for employee parking permits that are available to Edmonds businesses. They exempt a vehicle from the three-hour parking limit in specified areas, if the parking is part of a work commute.

The city estimates that removing exempted employee parking from the identified street segments would free up 35 additional on-street parking spaces during business hours.

An additional five to 10 on-street parking spaces may be added from another proposal the ad hoc committee recommended, and that will be implemented as a pilot program in 2017: To physically designate 20-foot parking places on 5th Avenue North between Main and Bell Streets and on Main Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. A block of 4th or 2nd Avenue south of Main Street may also be included, although that has yet to be determined.

The city will monitor the pilot “to determine whether greater efficiency in utilization of on-street parking is achieved, which could lead to general application of this measure throughout downtown,” the council agenda said.

For more information on the parking situation and potential solutions, read the December, 2016 My Edmonds News feature article “Downtown Edmonds parking: Relief in sight?”.

The council is also scheduled to continue its discussion of options for returning to a committee meeting structure, with the latest proposal calling for the council to hold those meetings after council meetings have concluded on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month.

“Once the full council has completed its necessary business, council members would be dismissed to their respective committee meetings,” the agenda said. “Once committee meetings are completed, council members will be dismissed for the evening.”

Also on the council agenda:

– A presentation on the second annual Creative Age Festival, set for April 29 at the Edmonds Senior Center.

– A review of performance for the city’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan.

– A report on final construction costs for the 238th Street Southwest walkway and drainage improvements project.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., in downtown Edmonds. You can see the complete agenda here.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the proposed pilot program to free up additional parking spaces in downtown Edmonds for our patrons. Good work by the task force, Ed! and the EDC!

  2. Again, you can change parking restrictions anyway you want but with little parking enforcement it’s worthless.
    The part time position, designated only parking enforcement officer council approved in December is still not filled in April.

  3. I agree with Adrienne. Employees without Downtown Employee permits park all over 4th Ave. S.
    and they think it’s a joke if you mention parking is restricted to 3 hours without a permit. This results in commercial trucks, etc. sometimes double parking in the street. And commercial food delivery trucks often double park on Walnut to deliver to the restaurants. This obstructs the view of cars coming out of the alley between 4th and 5th and from Chase bank. What a mess.

  4. Adrienne, I agree with your comments. My wife and I observe what is going on, on 5th ave. north from our store and what parking is enforced is hit and miss. Lots of employee parking without permits.

  5. I have been involved in the “parking in Edmonds” discussion for 13 years. I have watched the parking problems escalate. I think it is great that Government and citizen groups are working on a solution.
    I am concerned for the business owners and their employees. I find some irony in the argument that strict parking enforcement, limited parking times, and fewer employee designated parking places will support the business community. Just the opposite.
    Business owners and their employees do need to park. They have to have access to the businesses.
    This seems like an obvious but ignored concept.
    Part of the solution is to come up with an estimate of how many business owners and employees drive to and park in downtown Edmonds.
    How many spaces are necessary to accommodate those owners and employees including busier business times like summer and holidays. Eliminating their parking opportunities will not be effective. Those owners and employees are going to drive to Edmonds every day and they are going to park. The businesses are going to open. How many business parkers are there and where and how can Edmonds accommodate them vs villify them.
    There is lots of talk regarding supporting business. This is another opportunity to support those owners and employees who need to park.
    Denial regarding the need for business parking and or turning their parking needs into a parking citation fundraiser is not the solution.
    Pat McKee

    • Pat, I agree with you. Until we actually have parking enforcement enforcing our current laws we will not know what parking issues we have. I suspect the employee parking are a small issues compared to the commuters, people parking to jump on ferry and others who routinely park on the streets knowing parking enforcement is far and few in between.
      We currently are funding 2 full time animal control/parking enforcement who admittedly by the chief are spending less than 1/4 of each of the time enforcing the parking laws. Many times they are unable to do parking enforcement due to circumstances of the animal control issues and when staff are on leave for varies reasons we have none.
      I think the appropriate step is to start enforcement with a 1/2 officer before making changes that may not need to occur and may be harmful to our businesses.
      Lets enforce the laws on the books first!!

  6. I was on the Parking Commission in the mid 1970’s to find solutions then. Our recommendations to have in were not adopted that I ever knew. There are a few small parking lots around downtown that were to be
    used for customer parking. Businesses with no parking adjacent were to pay “in lieu” of funds.
    I hope they have more success this time.

  7. This exact problem was talked about 12-15 years ago and here we are. Obviously that didn’t work where they had designated parking areas. We need a parking (at least 2 story) for employees only. There are several areas that were discussed 10-12 years ago.

  8. I think constructing a parking lot is more of a question than an answer to the problem of adding spaces for cars to park. At a generally accepted cost of $20,000 to $30,000 per space for parking construction, spending the equivalent amount used for the restrooms on parking lot development would add as few as 15 spaces to the downtown inventory, and that depends on having the location already in hand, as well as enforcement after construction.

    Speaking of enforcement, there is a strange dynamic at work for many people regarding what’s O.K. with parking. If I do the wrong thing either for a short enough or for a long enough time, it’s no longer wrong, but suddenly allowed. Compare these two common statements: “I only parked for a couple minutes to do XYZ,” and, “I’ve been doing this for a long time now and nobody ever said anything about it.” Generally, those using either rationalization do not appreciate it if you point out the irony here.

    I think it’s most prudent to go to the no-cost or low-cost answers first before erecting any edifices attesting the glory of automobile culture. Employees can walk a couple blocks so customers can enjoy convenience and access, but I also agree consistent enforcement is key to making a difference.

    • A fast and simple start would be for the city to secure the lot between Arista Wines, and the Veterinary clinic for parking. This can be done under emanate domain, which has been upheld in Court, over and over. In this process the city pays only what is a fair price, not some inflated value.
      The property is just dirt, so it would be as cheap as it will ever be to add parking to 5th avenue.
      This is the only viable lot on 5th avenue.

  9. “I only parked for a couple minutes to do XYZ,” is also the excuse for using a disabled spot while someone runs in to get a coffee or something. Of course no disabled person will come along in those few minutes! The number of times I have seen perfectly nimble people pop out of their car and run into a store from the disable spot… Come on folks, a little discipline and thought for those who really do need the spot.

  10. We have a limited number of parking stalls in the down town area. By allowing 3 hour parking we get less churn then if we had 1 or 2 hour. We also have lots of competition for those stalls. We have 500 Employee parking permits and 600 Residential parking permits. These permits are exempt from time limits. The enforcement job the city is planning to fill is a shared positon with animal control. This will make it difficult to properly enforce codes. The goal of enforcement is compliance and studies show enforcement created better compliance.

    What is the cost of a stall downtown. The lots by the ferry charge $10-15 per day. The lot behind Chantrells is $5 per day. An employee permit cost $50 per year or about $.25 per day and are residential permit is $25 per year or $.07 per day. What council is asked to do is free up some spaces used by employees close to the center of town. The city also intends to do a pilot program by making some streets with 20 foot stalls that will help us all park more efficiently. Studies show this will add to the inventory of available stalls. Business owners have claimed a stall is worth $300 per day of revenue.

    The ideas council will consider will help a little. As time goes on we may will need to create more churn by reducing the time allow for free parking and we may need to begin to charge folks what the stalls are really worth.

    • When Edmonds High School was demolished as part of the ECA development, I recall hearing a structure of similar size or smaller could be built on the same footprint subject to some time sunset. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? If so, from purely a location standpoint, is this a viable location for a parking structure for business employees, visitors, special events, and ECA events?

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