Due to the current ample availability of on-street parking, Mountlake Terrace city officials should take a flexible stance on implementing any planned parking code changes as future development comes to the Town Center district. That’s one of the recommendations of a new parking study presented to the Mountlake Terrace City Council last Tuesday.
A team of three University of Washington students compiled data and developed recommendations concerning vehicle parking in the Town Center district along 236th Street Southwest from I-5 to 56th Avenue West, and north on 56th Avenue West to 230nd Street Southwest. The students made observations of current parking availability and utilization in the Town Center, and compared parking data and codes from Mountlake Terrace to similar findings from three other Puget Sound cities.
The study found that of the current 521 on-street parking spaces in the Town Center an average of 22.6 percent are in use at any one time. Peak use of parking was weekday mornings, when 31 percent of spaces were filled; the lowest use was on Sunday mornings when only 16 percent were in use.
“The main thing that we found is that your parking is under-utilized, said study team member Matt Brophy.
While the city’s Town Center comprehensive plan contains specific recommendations for parking code adjustments as development occurs, this new parking study advises the city to take a cautious approach to implementing any of these changes.
“The problem is that with current (parking) utilization consistently below 30 percent, these recommendations are not ready to be implemented,” the parking study stated. “What will be important is providing flexible alternatives involving parking requirements which can be used to encourage new development and commercial revitalization within Mountlake Terrace.”
The city’s Town Center comprehensive plan has a number of parking code adjustments outlined, including shorter time limits for some on-street parking, reducing the number of driveways in the district, encouraging angled curb parking, and creating a residential permit program.
The parking study didn’t recommendation elimination of many of the Town Center planned parking code adjustments; some ideas, such as angled curb parking and creating some short-term parking spaces, are still considered recommended strategies for the district. Other proposals cited by the new parking study include conveniently located disabled parking, private off-site parking lots, businesses sharing some parking lots to meet code requirements, and in-lieu parking fees payable to the city in place of developers meeting some parking code requirements.
The entire study can be viewed here.