Saturday, May 18, 2024

Leavenworth Parking Advisory Committee reconsiders parking rates and options for locals

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LEAVENWORTH – The Parking Advisory Committee considered simplifying parking rates and revisited potential options for locals, employees and contractors at its monthly meeting on Mar. 21. However, no final decisions were made, due in part to low attendance and the need for further discussion.

Parking Program Manager Shannon Lemons proposed a simplified rate system with only three rates: festival, busy and active. The rates would be assigned to multiple day blocks. The current system has these three rates in addition to calm and quiet rates, and assigns rates to individual days, based on previous traffic. 

“It takes us months to get our rates put in and I can only put in about six months [at a time], because it's very, very complicated. Each day has its own line of code instead of saying, “Mondays through Thursdays,” which is kind of how other cities operate,” said Lemons.

Lemons said the standardization would not only help the staff’s workload, but also make rates easier to understand for the public. Committee members saw the value in standardization, but saw a need to keep the calm and quiet rates.

“I do think that there's value in continuing to have that or somehow wrapping that in so that it really encourages our locals to go downtown, use downtown businesses, and shop, and that sort of thing, when businesses are really slow during those shoulder seasons,” said Council Member Anne Hessburg.

The concern prompted another discussion of parking for locals and businesses, with another consideration of free parking for everyone on a specified quiet day of the week. The committee also discussed the city’s recent efforts to promote and expand its permit program for businesses to reserve downtown parking spaces for employees. 

However, there was nothing set forth for contractors that periodically service downtown businesses, who need to park downtown but do not require a full-time spot. The committee recognized the need for establishing clear regulations and permitting, in order to reduce confusion between enforcement, contractors, and the public.

“It is a bigger conversation that is a big need in our town right now,” said Lemons.

The Parking Advisory Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall. 

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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