Pay-only parking a possibility at Lake and Central

At the request of Kirkland City Council, the Parking Advisory Board is considering public input on how additional pay parking should be placed in the Lake Street and Central Way parking lot. The lot currently features a mix of pay and free parking.

According to a memo from City Manager Dave Ramsay, "the two main reasons for pay parking are improved parking management (more turnover, more stalls available) and providing funding for future parking supply."

The way the lot currently is designed, the center stalls cost $1 an hour for up to four hours, while the 20 perimeter stalls are free for up to two hours. Kirkland's parking coordinator Tami White acknowledges the confusion around the mix of free and pay parking.

But White says the lot is at 85 percent during the day, and 100 percent at night, which is the breaking point. The parking board abides by a rule that if you're at 85 percent, you've got to consider alternatives. "We're following principles laid out in our study. Four to five times a year we're out there counting. Our downtown is totally different in the evening. It comes alive."

Georgie Kilrain of Park Lane's Lakeshore Gallery is soundly opposed to the idea. "If you have to pay $1 an hour, people are going to move on. Redmond Town Center, Bellevue Square and Lincoln Center all have free parking," she noted. "Free parking speaks to a lot of people."

At a March 22 open house, attended by about 40 people, four alternatives were proposed:

1. To pay from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., four-hour maximum stay, $1 per hour

2. To pay from 4-9 p.m., three-hour stay, $1 per hour

3. To pay from 6-10 p.m., three-hour stay, $2 per hour

4. To pay from 5 p.m.-midnight, six-hour stay, $2 per hour

White says that the 60 stalls in both of Kirkland pay lots (Lake and Central and Lakeshore Plaza by the marina) net approximately $60,000, which goes into a future parking fund. She said that there are our all-day parking stalls available at the library for $5 a day.

White also mentioned the recent addition of free parking downtown. On Central Way, 32 stalls were added from the corner of Lake Street to Peter Kirk Park. One stall was gained after the Central Way sewer project. Sixteen stalls were added to the Lakeshore Plaza lot; another 15 on Kirkland Avenue; and six on Lake Street by Starbucks.

There is another open house is 7:30 a.m., April 5, in the Houghton Room at City Hall. Over the ensuing weeks, the advisory board will meet and make a formal recommendation to City Council.

For more information, contact Tami White at 587-3871.[[In-content Ad]]