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.”
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 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