By Sally Gillie, Monitor
The Monroe City Council will be considering making changes in the downtown parking zones, including the possibility of getting rid of the two-hour zones and replacing them with four-hour time limits.
There are a lot of ideas from business owners and shoppers about how downtown parking could be improved, said Mayor Robert Zimmerman, who said he and other elected officials have listened to many questions and concerns about downtown parking over the years.
“It’s a perennial issue in the city,” said City Public Works Director Brad Feilberg. He said suggestions range from businesses and residents who would like to see the city add some shorter, 15-minute zones, and others wanting to extend the parking times in the downtown.
As a starting point for discussions, Feilberg has taken suggestions brought forward at the council’s Feb. 26 meeting, and a 2009 study done by the Chamber of Commerce and DREAM, the Downtown Revitalization and Enhancement Association of Monroe. He has put together a preliminary map of the parking proposal, and said the city staff and council would like to hear from residents.
The matter will be discussed at the council’s upcoming meeting, March 19.
The council also will be taking into consideration a destination development report from Washington Visitor/Tourism, recommending the city take away all of the two-hour parking zones and replace them with four-hour limits as a way to encourage downtown Monroe as a destination and give people from further away incentive to come to Monroe and have more time to spend money.
“I feel that, based on the conversations I have had, the council may want to look at these destination development suggestions,” Zimmerman said.
Council member Patsy Cudaback agreed, saying that the study had merit because it was looking out “for the best interests of all businesses as a whole.” She added that new changes being considered in downtown parking “need to get out before the public” for review.