Council repeals downtown parking time limits
SNOHOMISH - The City Council voted 6-1 to repeal the new three-hour downtown parking limit ordinance, which drew immediate fire when it was adopted late last year.
A new survey showed most respondents wanted to revert back to no time limits downtown.
After participating in a joint effort with the city to come up with a solution to the parking problems downtown, Historic Downtown Snohomish (HDS) decided recently to change its position on time limits.
The HDS board voted in March to request the City Council remove both the 30-minute and the three-hour parking restrictions.
The time limits weren’t being enforced while the city gave HDS more time to gather feedback on the limits.
HDS member and owner of Antique Station in Victoria Village, Steve Gurney, got the ball rolling on another survey. Gurney distributed 300 of his own surveys, getting back 181. Out of 181, 175 said they wanted to “revert back to no parking limits within the HDS designated area,” while four checked “other.”
Mayor Karen Guzak was the lone “no” vote to repeal the time-limit ordinance. At last week’s City Council meeting, she tried to persuade the council to adopt parking meters. That way people who want to park all day could still do so — they would just have to pay for it, Guzak said.
“It’s a more effective way to keep people moving,” Guzak said. Plus, with the revenue the meters would generate, the city “could do all kinds of wonderful things to fix up downtown and perhaps even build a parking garage downtown,” she said.
Councilwoman Lynn Schilaty said she would like to keep the 30-minute load zones intact, while repealing the three-hour limit.
To have a police officer monitor downtown just to watch a few 30-minute spots is not cost effective, economic development manager Debbie Emge said.
The 30-minute zones worked better as part of a package with the three-hour time limit, Guzak said.
“It makes sense when there are both three-hour and 30-minute time limits, but to pay for a police officer for those 30-minute loading zones is not very cost effective and the merchants were not willing to police that,” Guzak said.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published April 25, 2012