Mayor releases parking strategy

POULSBO — After years of reviewing studies and discussing Poulsbo’s downtown parking problems, the Poulsbo City Council is ready to conduct a serious overhaul of the parking system.

“Talking is easy, the meetings are easy … now its time to really do the work,” Mayor Becky Erickson said.

Erickson recently released a preliminary Downtown Parking Implementation Strategy, which will be reviewed by two council committees before the full council in September.

The plan drafts five tasks to be achieved between September and 2014 to combat downtown parking issues. The plan was drafted following frustrations, and then suggestions, from downtown business owners and patrons during a June 27 city council workshop.

The five tasks are spaced out over time to determine what is effective, without the city spending unnecessary funds on parking.

— Task one: Enforce time limits. Action: Decide if more prominent signage is needed; determine what are the peak parking hours and/or days when limits should be enforced; and find out which parking lots are used by short-term and long-term users. Parking tickets are $30.

— Task two: Review opportunities for added parking. Action: Alter 3rd Avenue construction plans to maximize parking; add compact stalls, motorcycle and bicycle racks, and carpool spaces; coordinate with Kitsap Transit for downtown opportunities.

— Task three: Paid parking. Action: Review whether enforcement was successful or if paid parking is needed; determine what lot should have a paid system.

— Task four: Long-term parking. Action: Review if enforcement and/or paid parking has reduced demand, or if there is still a shortage of spaces. If there is a shortage, the city will coordinate with the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association, Port of Poulsbo and other stakeholders to designate a permit-only parking area, possibly for an employee parking lot.

— Task five: Check-in. Action: The mayor, council and Public Works and Planning departments will quarterly check-in on the tasks, during council meetings, to keep everyone on track.

Planner Alyse Nelson said there are 1,199 parking spaces in the downtown core.

The consensus so far is the problem is turnover — not enough parking spots during peak hours, compounded by fact many users are long-term, such as downtown business employees.

Erickson said the Finance Committee will review the draft Aug. 15, the Public Works Committee will review Aug. 22, and the resolution will come to full council Sept. 5.


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