Some relief in sight for parking in Edmonds

Dozens of additional street spaces to come, plus markings
By Brian Soergel | May 18, 2017
Courtesy of: Tod Moles Public Works employees were out early Thursday, May 18, painting the designated parking stall “tics” on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth, on Fifth between Main and Bell, and on Fourth between Main and Bell. Crew members are Tom Bach, Skylar Merback and Bryan Clemens.   Crew started the process at 5 a.m. and had the painting completed by 6:30 a.m.

At the top of the list of pet peeves in Edmonds is the need for more parking in downtown Edmonds.

You’ve circled the block a few times – you know what we’re talking about. What was a breeze just a few years ago can today be a frustrating exercise in patience.

More residents, more charm. That’s certainly adding to the squeeze with the latter, which Bellevue-based 425 magazine (hey, that’s our area code, too) extols in its latest issue in a piece called “Escape to Edmonds” (“Located on the salty shores of Puget Sound” … etc.).

Now, with the city’s increased visibility and with the busy summer season creeping up – Memorial Day weekend is in sight – the city of Edmonds is offering a modicum of relief.

Shoppers and visitors to downtown Edmonds might have an easier time finding parking, thanks to some recent changes to the city’s on-street employee parking program and the launch of a pilot program that creates newly marked parking spaces.

Councilmembers, no doubt hearing it from their constituents, recently approved the changes in response to the increasing demand for on-street parking.

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 Fourth and Fifth avenues south;
  • One half-block of Maple Street east of Fifth Avenue South;
  • One half-block of Alder Street east of Fifth Avenue South; and
  • The two half-blocks of Walnut Street east and west of Fifth Avenue South.

This change is the result of a set of recommendations proposed to Mayor Dave Earling by a work group comprised of several city department leaders 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.

(Savvy Edmonds residents are already using some of those parking lots during busy events like the farmers market and Art Walk Edmonds. No one uses a bank drive-through when a business is closed, right?)

Consequently, in tandem with the changes to the on-street employee parking program, the city will begin a pilot program through the end of the year that will mark 20-foot individual, on-street parking spaces on Fourth and Fifth avenues south between Main and Bell streets, and Main Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

This is intended to encourage more efficient on-street parking. 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.

According to Edmonds Assistant Police Chief Jim Lawless, only warning notices will be issued by parking enforcement officers during the first two weeks after the employee permit parking changes are in effect.

You’ll get a ticket as of June 7, however, as regular enforcement begins and citations issued to parked vehicles going over 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.

“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,” Earling said.

“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.”

 

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