News

Buckley Council OK's 15-minute parking

By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald

Buckley will soon have five 15-minute parking spots in its downtown area, but Main Street will remain home to two-hour parking stalls.

Barb Gagner, owner of Movies Plus, approached the City Council at the March 9 council meeting, requesting two 15-minute parking spots be designated in front of 720 Main St., as she is interested in moving her business into the old antique and auction building. Her business is currently located near state Route 410.

She told the council she wanted the pair of 15-minute spaces to make it easier for customers, especially families with children, to access the video store, without having to cross Main Street, which can be busy.

The council decided to designate two stalls in the parking lot behind the building for 15 minute parking and sent the issue to the Public Safety Committee, which came up with a recommendation March 17.

The committee shied away from putting the parking on Main Street, concerned it would set a dangerous precedent to grant 15-minute parking to each new business owner who asked for it and questioned the appearance of fairness.

It did agree, however, upon a compromise that would open up five spots in the downtown area - three spots on the west side of Cedar Street, at the corner of Main Street next to the Oddfellows Hall, and two on Cottage Street, at the corner of Main Street next to Chuck's Drugs.

The committee, comprised of Ron Weigelt, Randy Reed and Marilyn Gregg, thought this would be beneficial and grant an equal privilege to all the downtown business owners, and didn't give the appearance of favoritism. They also believed it should be easy to enforce as all the restricted spaces would be grouped together and would avoid scattered 15-minute parking throughout the downtown.

Before deciding the issue at the March 23 meeting, the seven council members unanimously approved an ordinance amending Buckley Municipal Code and permitting 15-minute parking in designated areas of the city.

The council was divided, however, as to where that 15-minute parking should be designated, whether the spots should be on Main Street, or whether they should be on the side streets adjacent to Main.

In taking Gagner's request into account, councilwomen Bev Schneider and Jan Twardoski were in favor of granting the request.

Schneider said she thought it would be better if 15-minute parking was established on Cottage and Main streets. Businesses such as Klips by Kim, the espresso stand and others would all benefit from the 15-minute parking on Main Street, and she stated there was a need on Main Street. She also said the businesses that would be immediately affected by the 15-minute parking on Main Street - D'Jons and naturopathic physician Kaylie McDonald - were in favor of the parking request.

Schneider said the city has a hard enough time getting businesses to move downtown because owners see greater potential on state Route 410. She also pointed out some feel the city is against business, and granting the request was an act of good faith, proving the city does support local businesses.

Reed said in the past other requests have been made, but the city has tried to keep Main Street open parking as much as it possibly could. He also said keeping 15-minute parking grouped together is the real concern for him. He said having the parking on Cedar Street provided an easy visual for police officers, and the parking on Cottage could be easily seen from the multipurpose building.

Councilwoman Pat Johnson said her biggest concern was there was limited parking on Main Street anyway, and she was afraid if there was no parking on Main Street, people would keep driving. She thought it would be better to require business owners on Main Street and their employees to park in the parking lots behind the businesses, which would free up spots on Main Street. She said that would avoid creating differences and ruffling feathers.

Schneider's motion to approve two parking spots for 15-minute parking on Main Street was defeated 5-2, with only Schneider and Twardo-ski in favor. Reed made a motion to approve three 15-minute parking spaces on Cedar and two on Cottage from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., leaving two handicapped parking spots on both of those streets that are two-hour parking. That motion passed 5-2, with Schneider and Twardoski opposing.

Jessica Keller can be reached at jkeller@courierherald.com

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