Longview City Council plans to cut downtown free on-street parking by one hour | Government and politics

Longview executives decide on Tuesday to enact shorter hours for free on-street parking downtown and fewer warning tickets for those who exceed the limit.

The package of changes submitted for consideration by Longview City Council at this week’s meeting would reduce the on-street parking time limit from three hours to two hours and end the practice of issuing parking tickets. warning for drivers who exceed the time limit.

Board members gave their initial support for this set of incremental changes at the June 23 board meeting. If approved, the changes will be rolled out through the end of the year.

The parking changes are the result of months of consideration by the Downtown Advisory Committee on how to address the declining balance of the Downtown Parking Fund, which covers the upkeep of downtown grounds. At a board workshop in early June, board members supported a phased approach that would allow them to make some immediate changes.

Hourly pricing for paid parking along Commerce has been previously proposed, but is not part of the current approach.

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A two-hour time limit for on-street parking was the way downtown operated for years until 2011, when the city changed parking rules to attract more visitors to the corridor of the downtown. City planning director Adam Trimble said the purpose of the two-hour limit was to discourage employees and downtown residents from parking on Commerce Avenue in order to free up spaces for short-term customers. term.

Under current city rules, drivers who exceed downtown parking hours receive a quarterly warning before having to pay a ticket. In practice, the city said that meant Longview Police Department’s only part-time parking officer spent more time issuing warnings than issuing tickets.

Last year, 1,369 warnings were issued downtown compared to 943 parking tickets. Tickets and parking permits for municipal lands are the two sources of revenue for the downtown parking maintenance fund.

Downtown committee leans towards paid parking plan for Commerce Avenue

In addition to new parking rules, the proposed ordinance shifts the role of selling parking permits to city staff from Longview Police.

Longview considers the future of downtown parking lots in another item on Tuesday night’s agenda. Councilors Spencer Boudreau and Hillary Strobel will ask council to begin the process of identifying city-owned parking lots that could be sold to create more housing or mixed-use developments to address the housing shortage in the city.

Trimble said the second phase of paid parking changes would likely center on the city’s parking lots along 12th Avenue, but the city would wait to see the effect of the initial changes, if passed Tuesday, before d ‘go forward.

Christy J. Olson