Finding parking in Town Center

The city is considering adding 15 new parking spots in front of Noah’s Bagels along S.E. 28th Street. The change would remove the center turn lane — often illegally used by delivery trucks — and likely reduce the number of bagel buyers parking at QFC across the street.

According to Development Services Director Steve Lancaster, the city is looking at changing S.E. 28th Street between 78th and 80th Avenue to add 15 angled parking spaces in front of Noah’s Bagels and MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream.

Other potential locations for more street parking, according to Lancaster, are along 77th Avenue and Sunset Highway, which is currently closed for construction.

“There will be seven additional street spaces created in 7700 Central, and there may be opportunities in the future. Because of the dead end, you don’t need as much width,” said Lancaster.

During a planning session earlier this month, the City Council, city planners and engineers discussed the possibilities of adding more parking to the Town Center and how it would enforce a potential time restriction with meters. No changes were approved, as the Council directed staff to come back at a later date with a proposal to be considered for approval at that time.

A recent study conducted shows that only 12 percent of street parking is available in the northeast and west quadrants of the Town Center during the peak-use hour. The southeast quadrant is also nearly full at 83 percent.

Lancaster told Council members that parking capacity is generally considered full at 70 percent because of the frustration it creates for drivers circling a block while searching for the few available spots. Adding new spots would alleviate some of those pains, he said.

In addition to possibly bringing new spots to the Town Center, the City Council directed city planners and engineers to consider the implications of metering street parking. While charging for parking was not sought, Council members were interested in limiting parking to two hours. Adding meter machines that print the time of expiration would allow police to enforce it, said Councilmember Dan Grausz.

Another possibility to free up parking would be directing business employees to the least used section of downtown, the southwest corner near Mercerdale Park and Farmer’s Insurance.

According to the parking study, only 17 percent of available street parking is used at peak hours in the southwest section.

“We might be able to get some mileage out of signing, directing people to the southwest quadrant,” said Lancaster.

A contracted traffic engineer, Richard Hutchinson, who works for KPG consultants, said the southwest corner could also solve the employee parking problem.

“Employees could park down there. It is the area least used,” he said.

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