Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend and the busy summer season, downtown Edmonds shoppers and visitors should have an easier time finding parking, thanks to some new city initiatives.
According to a Tuesday City of Edmonds announcement, the city is making changes to its on-street employee parking program and is also launching a pilot program that creates newly marked parking spaces. The Edmonds City Council recently approved the changes in response to the increasing demand for on-street parking to accommodate the growing numbers of visitors to downtown.
Beginning Tuesday, May 23, the exemption for employee parking permit-holders from the regular three-hour limit for on-street parking will no longer be provided on the following short segments of four key downtown streets: Dayton street between 4th and 5th Avenues; one half-block of Maple Street east of 5th Avenue; one half-block of Alder Street east of 5th Avenue; and the two half-blocks of Walnut Street east and west of 5th Avenue.
This change is the result of a set of recommendations proposed to Mayor Earling by an ad hoc work group comprised of several city department heads and a representative from both the Economic Development Commission and the Edmonds Downtown Alliance. Other recommendations included creating marked boundaries for individual on-street parking spaces and collaborating with owners of private, off-street parking lots to provide evening and weekend parking for the general public.
As a result, the city will institute a pilot program until the end of the year that will demarcate 20-foot individual, on-street parking spaces on 4th and 5th Avenues between Main and Bell Streets, and Main Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. This measure is intended to encourage more efficient on-street parking, the city said.
City staff will monitor the effectiveness of this measure for the remainder of the year in order to determine whether broader, permanent demarcation of on-street parking spaces would be worthwhile.
As for enforcing the parking changes, Edmonds Deputy Police Chief Jim Lawless said that for the first two weeks after the employee permit parking changes are implemented, only warning notices will be issued by parking enforcement officers. But as of June 7, regular enforcement will begin and citations will be issued to vehicles that park in excess of the three-hour limit.
No citations will be issued to vehicles that fail to park within the demarcated on-street parking spaces during the ensuing pilot program. But motorists’ parking behavior will be monitored, the city said.
“Over the past two or three years the number of complaints about lack of convenient on-street parking received by my office has increased markedly,” said Mayor Dave Earling. “With these changes we could see up to 35-40 additional on-street parking spaces become immediately available to shoppers, restaurant patrons, and visitors in the most convenient locations.”
For more information on the range of parking options and enhancements under consideration for downtown Edmonds, see My Edmonds News December 2016 article “Downtown Edmonds Parking: Relief in Sight?”