Everett parking enforcement officer Donny Shove puts a ticket on a vehicle for parking over 90 minutes on Colby Avenue on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett parking enforcement officer Donny Shove puts a ticket on a vehicle for parking over 90 minutes on Colby Avenue on Wednesday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Study recommends Everett use paid parking downtown

Other solutions included more enforcement and a parking manager, with revenue up to $1 million.

EVERETT — More enforcement, a manager and paid parking are some of the possible solutions being presented to address the capacity crunch for on-street spots downtown.

If Everett started charging for its spaces around Colby and Hewitt avenues and beyond, it could reap $1 million in net revenue annually, according to a study presented to the Everett City Council last month. The analysis cost the City $164,180.

For years Everett sought answers to persistent complaints about a shortage of stalls. A similar study in 2016 identified the problem as people exceeding the time limits or moving to another on-street spot to avoid a ticket.

In the 2019 update, Portland-based Barney & Worth and Rick Williams Consulting tallied more than 9,400 spaces in downtown Everett’s inventory for parked vehicles along the roads and in garages and lots. Many blocks had on-street occupancy rates over 70%. During peak use hours, several along Colby Avenue routinely exceeded 85%.

“What we need to remind ourselves is parking problems in the downtown are a sign of success,” said Clark Worth, a consultant with Barney & Worth.

There are 2,057 on-street stalls downtown, and another 7,345 off-street spaces.

The number of unique vehicles parked in the central business core increased by more than 300 since the last parking survey in 2015. In the updated survey, consultants also counted cars on a Saturday for the first time since the City started gathering this data in 2007.

“That’s good news, there are more people coming downtown,” Rick Williams said.

But the old problem of cars relocating persisted. In the 2015 study, there were 360 vehicles over the course of a day that moved to dodge a ticket for being over the time limit. During last year’s weekday count, 409 vehicles moved stalls. Those were probably workers downtown “gaming the system,” Williams said.


The total violation rate dropped from 14.2% in 2015 to 10.7% last year, Williams said. Part of that is due to changes Everett made, but some of that decline is from consultants not counting relocated vehicles in that violation rate.

“I know they have a lot of other assignments, a lot of other parts of the city, but the downtown is not being enforced,” Worth said.

Everett parking enforcement is split into areas. Two parking enforcement officers patrol downtown, another two are responsible for other parts of north Everett, and one officer manages everything south of 41st Street within the city limits. Two of those positions were unfilled in February.

The Everett Police Department issued 2,933 tickets or warnings for time limit infractions in 2019, according to City data.

Since its first parking study in 2007, Everett standardized time limits to either 30 or 90 minutes, upgraded enforcement technology and tried to target employees using on-street spaces.

Only a couple of those seem to have helped.

The longest on-street stay downtown is 90 minutes. Williams said his firm’s data shows people mostly use them for the entire duration and Everett should consider making the limit 2 hours.

The Everett Police Department tracks parking with hand-held digital devices now, instead of simply marking tires with chalk. But the new method requires more time, as officers now have to photograph each license plate, as well as a tire valve stem to keep track of whether the vehicle has moved.

“That portion of the enforcement has become less efficient,” Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said, adding that it takes about 40% to 50% longer than the old way of chalk and paper.

Parking enforcement officers also coordinate with the Community Outreach and Enforcement Team to connect people who may not have safe, stable housing with support services. That’s “extremely complicated work,” Templeman told the City Council on Feb. 12. “It is very time intensive.”

Another change was a city council ordinance that tasked the Everett Police Department to ticket workers relocating their cars from one on-street stall to another, and not shoppers or others using services in town. Templeman said those rules created murky decision-making.

“We’d had a lot of complaints from actual visitors to the downtown, actual shoppers and those procuring services in the downtown,” he said. “It’s an extremely challenging ordinance for our parking enforcement officers to enforce, to know the difference between an employee that’s moving their car and a shopper.”

People can contest parking tickets and get the $40 fee waived if they prove they were conducting business, but it requires a visit to Everett Municipal Court.

“It’s just a cumbersome, backward process,” Everett Public Works director Ryan Sass said.

Another possible solution is for the city, through a parking manager, to create a shared use program with private lots downtown. Williams said the city could copy what Downtown Seattle does: manage a website and get private lot owners to install uniform signage about private lot space availability. Occupancy would rise there and Everett would receive a small percentage of the revenue, Williams said.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Pallet communities are groups of tiny homes for unhoused people. Here, a worker installs weatherstripping on a pallet shelter at Pallet in Everett in January 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Tiny home community is proposed at a Marysville church

The Pallet shelter community would provide transitional housing to eight people. Neighbors have questions.

The Everett Police Department has asked the City Council to keep its nine Stay Out of Drug Areas, zones where people arrested for drug crimes are not allowed. (City of Everett)
Everett police ask council to renew 9 drug enforcement areas

SODAs are a legal tool that prohibits people arrested for drug crimes from entering certain areas.

Police: After short chase in Marysville, man dies by suicide

Officers responded to a domestic violence call. The suspect reportedly shot himself at the end of a chase.

Alain Warchilde racks an e-bike available for Saturday's parking lot sale at Sharing Wheels in Everett on June 16, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need new-to-you bike? It’s time for a sale at Sharing Wheels

The Everett nonprofit kept fixing and donating bicycles in spite of pandemic closure and challenges.

The final version of the 737 MAX, the MAX 10, takes off from Renton Airport in Renton, WA on its first flight Friday, June 18, 2021. The plane will fly over Eastern Washington and then land at Boeing Field  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Boeing’s newest version of the 737 Max makes first flight

The Max 10 took off near Seattle for an expected two-hour trip.

Jeff Thoreson does a cheer with his second grade class before the start of their kickball game on his last in-person day of school on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish teacher hit the right notes in memorable career

Jeff Thoreson will retire this month after molding minds at Riverview Elementary School for 41 years.

Arlington-area man arrested in fatal machete attack

The suspect, 31, claimed self-defense. It was an argument over a wheelbarrow, a sheriff’s deputy wrote.

Pilot Dan Tarasievich lines up for a landing at  Arlington Municipal Airport after a morning of flying with friends on Saturday, April 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Could Snohomish County’s two largest airports be expanded?

A study explores expanding runways at Paine Field and Arlington Municipal to relieve a coming crunch.

Junelle Lewis becomes emotional while performing a dance with her children during the Justice to Jubilee Juneteenth Celebration at Skykomish River Park on Saturday, June 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Justice to Jubilee: ‘Noone is free till everyone is free’

People gathered Saturday in a Monroe park to celebrate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

Most Read