Paid parking lots coming to downtown Edmonds?

A sign notifies passersby of the proposal to turn the parking lots into paid parking.

Paid parking may be coming to downtown Edmonds. The firm that bought the Bank of America property at 306 Main St. has applied to turn the three parking lots on that parcel into paid parking, including two dozen now-free spaces off 4th Avenue South behind Chanterelle Restaurant.

Hui Main Street LLC of Seattle purchased the land several years ago. It has now applied to the city for a permit for commercial parking to be operated by Seattle’s Diamond Parking group. The three lots contain a total of 61 regular spaces and a number of accessible spots for drivers who have disabilities.

The proposal means the 24 spaces in the lot behind Chanterelle, which are all now free parking, would become paid spots, 24/7. The two lots behind Bank of America would remain available only for bank customers during banking hours. On nights and weekends (after 1 p.m. Saturday), those Bank of America spots have been free public slots. But, now on nights and weekends, they all would be pay parking.

Edmonds resident Sharalyn Ramm worries that “our shops in the core area already suffer from the lack of parking.” Ramm wonders if “adding an extra $10 to dine or to shop might make a difference to the decision of those who might otherwise have spent dollars that would support our local businesses.”

City of Edmonds Community and Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty says he did not know of the paid parking plans until Hui Main Street filed its permit request. Doherty says he has since spoken with two of the firm’s partners. “Sometimes the city is the last to know what a property owner is planning,” Doherty said, and “doesn’t usually find out until planning requests are official.”

Hui Main Street is headquartered in Seattle; the corporation was founded in 2016. My Edmonds News has asked owner Zewen Hu for additional details but hasn’t yet received a reply.

“It’s always sad to lose those little parking lots; it’s unfortunate,” said Pam Stuller, president of the Edmonds Downtown Alliance and owner of Walnut Street Coffee. If the company does convert the spaces to paid parking, Stuller said, “this will be a test to see if people are willing to pay for parking. I’ll be interested to see how used it is.”

Bank of America parking.

In the photo below, the two bank lots are highlighted by red and blue borders. The third lot at Chanterelle is outlined in yellow.

Proposed paid parking between 3rd and 4th Avenues and Main Street.

Proposed paid parking hours:

The City Hearing Examiner will hold a Zoom hearing on the parking lot conversion permits. Here’s the link to join that hearing at 3 p.m. on Aug. 27.

Some Edmonds residents have suggested it’s time for the city to build a parking garage. Last year, Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty says, the city was ready to commission a comprehensive parking study, but the details weren’t ironed out until too late in the year. It was planned for this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put that on hold.

Doherty says that such a study would have included street parking counts and drone flights to count the most congested areas. It would also have studied the feasibility of a parking garage as well as pay parking strategies. The City of Edmonds still wants that study done, but there is no timeline for it during coronavirus.

— By Bob Throndsen

 

 

 

  1. What an insult to being a friendly community; making people pay to park so they can spend money in your town. Shameful; it is what hurts the town’s image. It won’t be long before all parking is just 2 hrs in our town. It hurts the small town image we have.

    1. After shopping downtown Seattle for years, except the last disterous 5-10. Parking was key,,never free. Then they changed things…limited time on meter, had to move car after 2 hours…took many out and most like me used lots or Pac place for parking. Paid much more then Edmonds is considering. Again…this is not a small town, anymore. Maybe sad, but for those living here that growth will keep your small city solvent…even growth will occur. This is a good thing…unless you want the city to fail. I want it to thrive and in the way we want it to. Remember, a little bit for parking will sort of discourage random..parking. I like to dream big. But big in a great for all sort of way. Our mall is shot…face it. Alderwood…dangerous parking there for years now. We will Holiday Shop here. Others will too. Mukilteo, Shoreline, other nice little spots but no actual downtown area…We need other stores too. Basic needs stores. Let’s get them. If Edmonds does this right we could in 2021 have the biggest HOLIDAY season ever. Our competition for offering all i have mentioned is Mill Creek. Bellvue is not a shopping option for us, realistically nor are WE for them. Traffic..too much. DT Seattle…nope. not for years I would guess. And still traffic. So Lets be a successful, FRIENDLY, little city, with a small town warmth. Xo

  2. Just another nail in the coffin for downtown Edmonds. Why would the city even consider issuing a permit.

  3. I can’t believe there aren’t about 50 comments from good Conservative Edmonds residents in favor of this planned use of valuable downtown city dirt. This is a good ‘ol private sector solution for solving our downtown parking problem. I would think all you good Republicans would be raving over this great idea. Sort of like privatizing the Postal Service for the benefit of all of us I think. Hypocrisy, apparently, reigns supreme in our little piece of Heaven on Earth. Signed, The Elitist

    1. Well i am a mainstream Democrat. Life long. But I am not a hater of the Republican conservative. Both parties need to come to center more i believe.
      Diversity means compromise and enthusiasm. This will be a good thing. Good for all.
      I am looking at this as an opportunity we may not get again.
      Edmonds is NO known as a place with inexpensive boutiques, restaurants etc. Good that makes us special. Special for us. Special for others who are typically buying at this level. So.stock up..get ready.. This virus will go by the first of 2021…if we mask and quit having cheating parties. Yes, we all know.
      Get along, help each other, compromise, show some love and integrity…and We Are There. Xo

    1. This particular issue has nothing to do with a sarcastic “oh the humanity”. It has to do with ASSURING we have humanity for all. Anyone wanting to shop in Edmonds, especially with capacity for at least 4 people in each car is .50 cents. That is very fair for everone. As is 2.00. Xo This is what a fiscal conservative and social liberal looks like. ME.

  4. Sorry, it is difficult enough to find parking available, especially long enough to have lunch and shop the businesses. I won’t be paying for parking in Edmonds anytime soon. There are several businesses I would enjoy visiting but It is too difficult for an older person to locate parking close enough to downtown to make the walk.

  5. Thank you Bob for following up on this.
    I hope that we can all get reminders during the next week that the zoom meeting is the time for us to speak up and that the permit is not yet issued.
    I think that public comment is what stopped Salish Center from building a multi story structure a few years ago.
    We citizens do have a voice and we need to use it to keep our small town as it is.
    Many of us moved here for this small town feel and attitude. If we wanted to live in a big fast growing place we would have moved to Mont Lake Terrace or Lynnwood.

  6. This is an excellent opportunity for Edmonds residents to speak their mind during a virtual City Council Meeting.

    Edmond’s small-town feel will be lost if large corporations are allowed to come in and implement changes they want to see without taking into consideration the needs, culture, and reputation of the town.

    Change isn’t always bad, but in situations such as this, it’s often motivated by profits that typically hurt the community and benefit the company. Do you want that for your town?

    Now is the time to have your voices heard:
    • City Council Agenda: http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/default.aspx
    • Information on how to “attend” a virtual meeting as well as the schedule for City Council Meetings: http://www.edmondswa.gov/city-council.html

    “ The Edmonds City Council (all Council positions are at large positions) meet every Tuesday of every month, except for the fifth Tuesday of a month, at 7:00 p.m. Council committees may convene, as necessary, following adjournment of the Council’s regular meeting on the second Tuesday of the month. Council meetings are located in the Public Safety Complex located at 250 5th Avenue North, Edmonds. Audience participation is welcomed during the “Audience Comments” portion of the meeting. Audience comments are limited to three minutes per person. Comments regarding any public hearing or “closed-record review” scheduled on the agenda are not taken during the Audience Comments portion of the meeting.

    Public Hearings will be scheduled as necessary. The public may sign up to speak during the “public hearing portion” of the Council meeting.”

    Make your voices heard.

  7. Before we all shout out our opinions about parking a few things should be “remembered”
    1. The lot highlighted in yellow was a paid parking lot not that long ago.
    2. We already have paid parking lots in Edmonds.
    3. When the yellow area was a paid area, many who paid for parking were ferry folks.
    4. When yellow became a 3 hr area, the ferry folks moved elsewhere and in fact we able to park for free!
    5. The recent parking survey had over 700 responses. Those responses produced some of the potential answers.
    6. Among the groups competing for space are DT residents, DT employees. Visitors from other parts of Edmonds, visitors from outside Edmonds. 700+ DT residents buy a permit to use certain city streets for about 7 cents a day and 750+ employees pay 25 cents a day. There are more employees using city streets to park than permits issued.
    7. The previous parking study needed to be updated and refined. The updated study would help sort our the competing uses.

    1-7 are factual! Now for some facts and opinions mixed.

    When a citizen and mayor’s groups looked made recommendation, council change the code but did not provide enough enforcement money. Parking improved!

    When a citizen, staff, and council team recommended the study update, council rejected the study. The rejection was based on mis information by one or more council members. That same misinformation was also presented in other public meetings by one or more council members.

    This study is needed. But before it is done the study should be vetted by citizens as well as staff and council.

    We have lots of parking, we could do a better job managing the competing needs. Let’s do the study but with citizen input.

    1. Thanks for the factual review. Isn’t a parking study just another form of paid parking by the City. No free lunch.

      1. This is factual: No a parking study will give us updated information on which to make some decisions on what changes can be made to improve DT parking. Alan I can show you several options that would create much more DT parking. Look at the folks who are competing for DT space and you can probably also see ways to improve DT parking.

        This is factual with some opinion mixed in: We should be careful and fully evaluate those who will once again trot out the idea of a DT parking garage. Need to “earn” or “pay for with taxes” about $10/day/stall. Cost per day per stall drops dramatically if it is a surface lot. The gathering of public opinion on more DT pubic parking via a structure or lots was part of the parking study that council refused to fund.

        Council sees what folks say and some read the previous survey results. They find it difficult to to look at parking and all of its issues from who gets to park where, and how do we enforce our current code or any new code they may approve.

  8. Of course. Input from all is essential to thrive, chill, and stay safe all at the same time. I get it. Go forward…

  9. The Bank of America building and all adjacent parking lots sold in 2017, I was online viewing the auction and had access to view the lease info.
    If I recall the City of Edmonds had a long term lease to provide those 24 parking spaces in Area#1. I believe the lease ended last year, original lease was like from 1989 between City & Previous owner. Maybe Patrick can confirm if lease expired and if city was not interested in renewing it? Perhaps ownership simply wanted to go a different direction? Maybe, I am confused all together? Back in the late 1980’s city would allocated resources to provide free parking to its citizens, today city is more interested in higher parking fees and sophisticated software to track cars to ticket! I miss the 1980’s!!! Maybe ED could have used their resources to lease this parking lot if given the opportunity?

    1. Mike, pretty factual up to your statement that starts. “Back in the late 1980’s city would allocated resources to provide free parking to its citizens, today city is more interested in higher parking fees and sophisticated software to track cars to ticket! ” If people would follow the posted parking signs we would need not enforcement. The primary goal is not parking revenue but “helping people follow the law”. ED probably could play a role. Some members of ED do a really good job on how they manage their employee parking and city streets. Others are not as helpful.

  10. I used to work for a broker. I know for a fact the owners company has a net worth over $100 million dollars.
    This greedy guy doesn’t need any more money. Protect the Mom and Pop shops.

  11. Just when we thought the Council Code of Conduct was the biggest issue in town, parking rears it’s ugly head again. Is there no end to our angst?

  12. That’s some of the best parking in Edmonds. It would certainly be sad to lose it to a lower used paid parking lot.

    As we get down to fewer and fewer easy options, we should be supporting the easy win-win scenarios first. The biggest thing we should all be supporting is the plan to add biking lanes that is modified to sharrows on bowdoin way, and parking along one side of the street on 100th would have no lost parking, and would improve parking pressure downtown and at the beaches where it is the most congested. Especially since 100% of the construction would not be paid for by any increased Edmonds taxes, or city funds.

    We need to come together to promote good win-win solutions like that first and foremost.

    1. Evan does have a point about bringing a bicycle instead of a car downtown. Each one opens up a parking space that would be used by a car, improves air quality, and with healthier citizens with little cost to the city. Here’s a idea. How about the City pay people to ride a bike downtown instead of driving and parking a car. I know isn’t that wild solution. A small credit voucher of say $3.00 to use at a local merchant for food or drink. Also add more bike racks or even a bike corral. Surly this would cost the city less than parking surveys, parking consultants, parking enforcement, ugly parking lots and ugly parking garages. Win-win.

  13. I’m not thrilled about paying for parking, but it won’t kill me. I will, however, use a Seattle Diamond parking space when Hell freezes over. Total scam artists. Parked in Seattle one day, and their stupid machine took my $15, but produced no ticket/code. The customer service phone number just sends you through an endless loop of no human contact. I finally had to contest the charge through my credit card company. Never again.

  14. This proposed land use conversion should be of great concern to all us who treasure our lovely downtown. I fear that this current action will encourage the future demolition of existing buildings in the downtown core for additional paid off-street surface parking. The city needs to place a temporary moratorium on any additional proposed conversions of downtown parcels to paid commercial parking until it determine how to best regulate or prevent this type of land use. I am very familiar with this problem since I dealt with it during my years as a city planning director and planning consultant for other jurisdictions.

    1. Very interesting comments. I believe that you are right about the potential for building demolitions – in particular the Bank of America building. This is the bank that I use and it has been closed for several months. They’re saying it is closed because of the virus. This branch has experienced weakening business for several years, so the virus may only be an excuse for their action. Since the B of A has already sold the building their next action is likely to permanently close and the new owners then demolish the building to create a parking lot.

    2. Sounds like a very slippery slope that the city is about to slide down. Perhaps, Dennis, you could share your insights with people in the city who could prevent future land grabs using this current Diamond Parking usage as a precedent.

  15. classic characteristic of liberals governing, they always want to frisk the american citizen for money. Typical character trait of liberalism is their contempt for people.

  16. Of course. Input from all is essential to thrive, chill, and stay safe all at the same time. I get it. Go forward…

  17. Ron comments are interesting. The Land is worth $3.6m and the building is only $478k for a total of $4.1m. Taxes are $20,000. The ratio of building value to land value is almost never this low. Absolutely prime for redevelopment.

    1. Darrol,
      When the building went up for sale, I had them send me a copy of the lease, and the projected sales offer.

      BofA held re-exercisable options on the lease for, if I remember correctly, about the next 20-25 years.
      Unless the parcel is re-developed, and BofA signed on, any change will never happen. I would imagine BofA would like a smaller space and thus may be enticed to agree to some form of temporary exit, and would return in a new smaller (modern) configuration, but I would wager that the odds of BofA doing anything other than re-uping their lease is about zero. The lease rate was also fixed, or was only CPI adjusted, if they kept re-uping the lease, if I remember correctly. BofA was in the drivers seat.

      BofA did not own the building.

      Looks like Ed! wasted around $ 4,000.00 of business owners money on signage, when BofA parking after hours WAS ALWAYS FREE ! Ed! always wasting business owners money. Ed! strikes again, and struggling business owners loose their money– yet again.

  18. Correction on taxes, that was for half a year and rounded up so it is really $38,400+ for the year. Thanks Ron for catching that error.

  19. Free parking becoming paid parking. Net impact on available parking is zero. I like free parking but I respect the right of a private owner to put their property to any legal use. City could have bought the property for free parking but didn’t. Downtown needs more parking, period. Closing Main Street on weekends reduces parking. City has talked about parking solutions for forty years and collected in-lieu of fees from developers that allowed construction with inadequate parking spaces created.

    1. The city has not only taken some of Main St. on weekends, it has also given some parking spaces to restaurants for dining all 7 days.

  20. I’m not getting too worked up on this issue. These private parking lots already exist, and all that’s being proposed is some added signage and a parking pay station. Diamond can’t charge very much because they have to compete with all the free on-street parking provided by the City.

    Personally, I have little trouble finding street parking, even during Walkable Main St. weekends. Don’t think I’ve ever had to walk more than one block to reach Main St. or Fifth.

  21. Well looks like I won’t visit downtown Edmonds anymore. Plenty of cute sound towns to see that don’t charge for parking.

    1. That’s a solid plan, Bill.

      Spend $32 on the ferry to and from Kingston so that you don’t have to pay for parking in Edmonds …

      1. Why would anybody want to pay to visit Edmonds? It’s already expensive enough, or is Edmonds a town that wants to make sure you’ve got enough money in your pocket that you can afford to be welcome here?

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