Parked cars line Main Street in downtown Edmonds on Thursday afternoon. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Parked cars line Main Street in downtown Edmonds on Thursday afternoon. (Sharon Salyer / The Herald)

Parking woes in downtown Edmonds stump city leaders

The City Council decided to press pause on a $100,000 parking study, with no new timeframe in sight.

EDMONDS — A parking garage, shuttles from church parking lots and bike-sharing services are all potential solutions to parking problems for Edmonds’ growing downtown. But for now, the process is stalled.

The City Council voted in late August to put off contracting a $100,000 parking study with Seattle-based design firm Framework, due to high costs and concerns from residents who thought the council was moving too quickly. The need for more spots stems from popular downtown festivals and the increasing population.

“One person’s solution is another person’s nuisance,” Edmonds resident Alicia Crank said at the council’s Aug. 20 meeting. “Usually, the solution is happy for the visitor and the solution is a nuisance for the resident it’s affecting. There’s no need to rush this process.”

Councilman Dave Teitzel said he would have preferred to begin the study in August, when the demand for parking is the highest.

“We draw a lot of people to town in those months,” he said. “If we’re going to do a study, I want to make sure the study is worth doing.”

Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said she’s not concerned with the delay.

“We’ve been talking about parking issues since I’ve been on council,” she said at the meeting.

In July and August, the city performed a survey on the project and received more than 700 responses.

Now, the council is reviewing the results and deciding how to proceed, likely pushing the study into next year.

The survey results, Teitzel said, showed “diametric disagreements” between participants and didn’t show any obvious solutions.

The city’s budget includes $40,000 for a parking study, but the price of the project is about $103,000.

In 2018, the public works department estimated the project would cost $75,000.

Councilman Mike Nelson, who served as council president at the time, said that was too high and trimmed the budget to $40,000 instead.

Public works director Phil Williams told the council completing the study at that cost, “just wasn’t going to happen.”

Additionally, when the city requested bids from design firms, all four applicants submitted estimates greater than $40,000.

Going forward, the council discussed ways to lower expenses. Nelson said the city could lead the project’s public engagement, saving nearly $18,000.

The department already cut $10,000 by using a city-owned drone to take aerial photos of Edmonds for the study.

Councilman Neil Tibbott said the city could implement common-sense solutions in the meantime and deal with the study next year.

One easy fix, Teitzel said, was expanding a program that outlines parking spots to fit more cars downtown.

A parking structure would be the most expensive option, but there was support for it at an Aug. 8 public meeting, Williams, from public works, told the council.

“They didn’t really care how you pay for it as long as they don’t have to pay to park there,” he said.

Councilwoman Kristiana Johnson said both the new Civic Park and Waterfront Center need to be added to the scope of the project, which would increase the cost.

The last parking study was done in 2003. Since then, Edmonds’ population has grown by about 3,000 people.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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