Bothell unveils plans for new downtown parking
July 5, 2010 · 2:30 PM
Following up on a study done last year, Bothell planners hope to change the parking pattern in the city’s downtown, adding some 70 spaces and promoting what officials hope will be more efficient use of existing spaces.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Jessie Brosy, a manager at downtown’s Hillcrest Bakery. “We definitely need more parking in the Main Street area.”
She added the No. 1 complaint she hears from customers is parking related, that customers report not stopping at the bakery and elsewhere downtown because they are afraid parking will be inconvenient.
Business owners and the general public have a chance to review and comment on the city’s parking plans at 2:30 p.m. July 14 in the Community Room of the Bothell Police Department, 18410 101st Ave. N.E.
City Transportation Manager Seyed Safavian outlined what he feels are the key recommendations of that study, changes he believes will maximize the use of existing downtown parking spaces.
• Safavian said first and foremost, the plan calls for reducing the time cars are allowed to occupy curbside and other prime parking spaces on and immediately around Main Street. Safavian said the idea primarily is to discourage downtown workers from monopolizing key spaces throughout the day, freeing those spaces for short-term use by shoppers and other downtown visitors.
At one point, Safavian argued giving customers access to prime parking spaces close to their destinations is key.
“People aren’t necessarily willing to go a block or two away to find a parking space,” he said.
The city’s study recommends key spaces carry a two-hour time limit.
While making his comments, Safavian later added the downtown Bothell Park and Ride has become crowded with an overflow reaching city streets. By limiting certain spaces to short-term parking, he also hopes to discourage any Park and Ride drivers from using those key downtown parking spots.
• By making what Safavian called some minor striping changes to center lines, the city claims it will be able to create, in certain locations, additional curbside parking spaces. Safavian added the line changes would have the additional effect of “calming,” or slowing, the traffic through the downtown.
Safavian pointed to spaces added two or three years ago to Northeast 185th Street as an example of the city’s plans. Safavian didn’t mention any specific streets, but the city’s report refers to adding curbside spaces on Northeast 183rd Street.
• Safavian also talked about restriping and better marking downtown spaces, helping drivers know where they can and cannot park. He later mentioned some additional signage should help eliminate any confusion over parking spaces, as well.
According to information released by the city, changes should cost about $30,000. Safavian talked about achieving a significant impact for a minimal investment. He did not give a timeline as to when the changes might take place.
According to Safavian, the city did an initial traffic study about three or four years ago. As reflected in the comments of Brosy, Safavian said there is a decided impression among both business owners and the general public that there are limited parking spaces available downtown.
“We demonstrated that’s just a perception,” he said. “We do have adequate parking.”
Clearly, Safavian feels the steps planned now will help change beliefs regarding the parking situation downtown.
“We don’t expect this to be controversial,” he added.
Safavian said the changes should not only ease immediate parking problems, but also should prove helpful when the city moves forward with the planned revamping of Main Street.