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November 5, 2010

Agenda

  1. Call to Order and Minutes;
  2. Consider 2-Hour Parking Zone on NP Avenue near Municipal Court;
  3. Discuss Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule;
  4. Discuss NP and 1st Avenue North Corridor Development Plan;
  5. Review Operator's Report; and
  6. Other Issues.

Minutes

Chairperson Commissioner Williams called the meeting to order.  Ms. Bailly moved to approve the minutes of the October 1, 2010 meeting and Mr. Engen seconded the motion.  All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Consider 2-Hour Parking Zone on NP Avenue Near Municipal Court

Mr. Stein noted that Municipal Court would be moving the second week of October, 2010.  He stated that they had asked him to bring up the idea of changing the 90-minute parking zone near the court to a two-hour zone to allow for court attendees to avoid tickets.  Mr. Engen asked if parking had been considered during the planning stages of this project and Mr. Stein responded that the request had come about a month earlier but that it had been a consideration well before that.  The Commission discussed the available parking on-site and the demand.  They considered reserving those spaces for Municipal Court.

Mr. Gilmour noted that Community Health may be moving further east on NP Avenue and suggested that it might be good to extend the two-hour parking zone that far.  Mr. Stein suggested that the Commission wait for more on the NP Avenue and 1st Avenue corridor study before making that decision.  Mr. Engen expressed concern at making a change to address a problem that occurs only twice a week for a few hours.  Mr. Stein noted that the Ground Transportation Center ramp was available for longer-term parking.  Ms. Walvatne agreed that more information was necessary.  Ms. Bailly moved to table the discussion and to invite a representative to the next meeting to present the request.  Ms. Walvatne seconded the motion and all members present voted aye.  The motion was declared carried.

Discuss Parking Facility Demand and Rate Schedule

Mr. Stein stated that he was not yet prepared to discuss this topic with the Commission.  He noted that he would like to address facilities where the charge rates and overnight rates were inconsistent with the rest of the rate schedule.  He reviewed the normal process for changing the monthly and hourly rates.  Commissioner Williams noted that the rates were not always increased and that incremental adjustment seemed to be the best approach.  Commissioner Williams suggested that more park-and-ride sites be considered as well and Mr. Stein reviewed the current locations.  The Commission discussed bus ridership and how transit played a role in parking.  Commissioner Williams noted that rate adjustments would be addressed at the December, 2010 meeting.

Discuss NP & 1st Avenue North Corridor Development Plan

Commissioner Williams reviewed the status of the study and Mr. Stein reviewed a packet of the history of the original change in 1957 from two-way to one-way streets.  He noted that there had been about twice as many businesses along those corridors at the time.  He pointed out that the Interstate system had not existed at the time and that Highway 10 had carried a lot more through traffic so that expediting movement through downtown had made sense at the time.  He noted that the consultant had recommended to the Planning Commission changing both avenues to the two-plus-one option and Mr. Gilmour noted that that Commission would consider the topic again at their next meeting.  Mr. Stein stated that freight issues and a few other considerations needed to be dealt with on a site-specific level but that the overall discussion needed to include the people who would be making recommendations and decisions.  He suggested conducting the sort of survey that had been done in 1957 to quantify opinions.

Mr. Gilmour noted that the economic impact was projected to be much more positive than originally thought.  He stated that the streets would be rebuilt over the next five years in any case and that a decision would need to be made in advance of that work.  Commissioner Williams stated that the in-fill seen sporadically around downtown could be more likely with the recommended change.  He noted that the roads had been designed to carry more than twice the number of vehicles that normally travelled them on a daily basis.  The Commission considered how long they’d been discussing this issue and agreed that it had been about ten years since the first recommendation and that every recommendation had been positive.  Commissioner Williams noted that reconstruction of these roads would force lane closures and temporary two-way use of each of them regardless of the eventual decision.  The Commission discussed the next phase and that the design phase would follow approval by the Planning and City Commissions.

Mr. Hahn stated that no official survey had been conducted but that freight concerns had been the major stumbling block he’d discovered to the conversion of these corridor avenues.  He agreed that all of the studies the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) had conducted had recommended the conversion as well.  Mr. Engen suggested that a poll of the property owners along those avenues be conducted by the DCP before they publicly announced a recommendation.  The Commission discussed how freight deliveries and concerns might be addressed.

Review Operator’s Report

Mr. Rogne reviewed the occupancy in the various parking facilities for the month of October, 2010.  Commissioner Williams noted that it may be a good time to remind people that they could park for free on the off-street lots so that the street sweepers could clean the roads and that snow removal could be better accomplished.  Mr. Rogne stated that the overnight parking had increased over the past year.  The Commission discussed show removal and adding signage or other methods of drawing attention to the city-owned lots to advertise the free evening and weekend parking.  There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.