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Paid downtown parking

In the article “Paid downtown parking an option” last week (Nov. 1), I want to make a slight correction and offer my two cents on the subject.

Correction: The company making a presentation to a joint council-planning commission meeting on Nov. 28 will not be marketing “metered” parking. The solution that will be presenting requires no infrastructure (meters) aside from approximately 25 signs which his company would furnish as part of their start-up. Their parking solution is digital, cellphone based, which allows for expansion and providing added value down the road, i.e. digital directions to local attractions, vehicle charging stations, etc.

As a planning commission member and 12 year resident of the town, I support paid parking. However, I see the paid parking concept being implemented together with a “jitney” type shuttle service shuttling visitors between the parking lots north and south of the downtown First Street attractions. The jitney shuttle costs could be offset by some of the parking revenues as well as local advertising for businesses. This EV-type jitney could also be used to provide residents with a localized “Dial-a-Ride” type shuttle between their home and businesses instead of driving their car or getting a neighbor to take them.

Parking enforcement is a necessary requirement to any type of parking program and is overdue. I have seen countless numbers of cars parked in places or positions that should not be allowed but go unnoticed and apparently ignored. Many business owners in town will acknowledge that many employees will take up spaces on First Street rather than go to the South Third Street parking lot despite free parking vouchers being available to them. 

The digital nature of this solution allows for variables, i.e. First Street residents, free parking between certain hours, 

P.S. A primary benefit of paid parking: It provides needed revenues to the town!

John Leaver

La Conner


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