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Possible Changes to Some Downtown Parking
At yesterday’s City Council Economic Development Committee meeting Tacoma’s Parking Technical Advisory Group presented an update on the downtown parking situation.
As a part of the presentation, two areas in downtown Tacoma were identified as “at capacity” for on-street parking: the blocks around the Pierce County Courthouse and Bates Technical College, and around the University of Washington, Tacoma campus.
The two situations are a little different: parking is free in the Courthouse/Bates area, but those parking there need parking for between four hours and all day, and can’t or won’t afford to pay. To address challenges here, the primary suggestion was improved signage, and exploring ways to leverage existing off-street parking and transit options.
Around UWT, the problem is providing parking with enough turnover for customers of downtown businesses. A set of changes suggested would only apply in the blocks surrounding the UWT campus, between South 17th and 21st, and Pacific and Market streets.
- Reduce the maximum time allowed from two hours to 90 minutes.
- Extend hours of enforcement from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Eliminate all-day parking on Saturdays.
No change in rates has been recommended, but other recommendations include improved branding and signage to direct would-be parkers to City-owned lots, and the possibility of license plate recognition technology to aid in enforcement. It’s also probably time for an updated Parking Master Plan, since the last one was done in 1992.
The recommendations are just that at this point: recommendations, but with UWT growing, State Farm employees on their way, and the economy showing positive signs, it’s likely that we’ll see some sort of changes soon - possibly in time for implementation before UWT classes begin in the fall.
The City has tried writing tickets. The University has tried providing off-street parking and transit options to encourage students to make changes. Neither has been successful in alleviating the parking crunch. Will these new suggestions do more?
Image: A classic from Beautiful Angle.
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