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No parking lot for Civic Park in Edmonds, but options are available

 

Parking during peak hours is hard to find on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Edmonds City Council has rejected adding a parking lot to the estimated $11.6 million Civic Park project, despite large citizen support for adding more parking options to the park.

During the April 2 council meeting, residents on both sides passionately explained reasons for either wanting the city to add a parking lot to the park or to leave the 8-acre park alone to function as a multiuse field, petanque field, tennis courts and more.

Mike McMurray, an Edmonds financial consultant and developer of the future Main Street Commons at Main Street and Sixth Avenue South in Edmonds, urged the council to add a parking lot in the park.

“We all need to take a deep breath and realize there is a tsunami of population coming this way, and it’s in Seattle,” he said. “This is going to be a big, big mess.”

McMurray touched on his recent editorial published in the Beacon, where he explained his ideas to consider to help fix the inevitable parking problem.

“I just made a simple request,” he said. “Logically, you can put a parking lot on Civic. It’s 8 acres. Five percent of the park could be used for the business community that was not included in the master plan.”

A spokesperson from Walker Macy, the landscape architecture and urban design firm working on the meticulous three-year project, explained some of the amenities of the park including updates on the play area, the skate park, the petanque field and the Boys & Girls Club.

The Civic Park master plan was approved in March 2017, authorizing a contract for design services with Walker Macy to complete the design development, permitting, bidding and construction support.

In addition to the parking issue, there is a $2.3 million gap in funding for the park as of March 30, which will be closed with fundraising for a capital campaign and bonds with plans to solidify the budget by the end of the year, said Carrie Hite, director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

The Civic Park master plan does not include parking because it did not get a lot of support in the planning process, she said.

To help with this issue, potential angle parking on Sixth and Seventh avenues could be one reasonable solution, Hite added.

If parking were put in the park, there would be a possibility of 36 spaces in the northwest corner and another 22 spaces if the Boys & Girls Club chose not to expand.

Hite worked on a schematic design last Tuesday to look at potential parking north of Civic Park and found that Holy Trinity Edmonds, a block away from the park, has one parking lot with 18 spots and another with 32.

She has been in touch with Holy Trinity’s pastor, who told Hite he is interested in exploring that option. Hite plans to meet with the pastor this week to discuss using the church’s parking lot for Civic Park six days per week, excluding Saturdays when the church has a service.

Hite also brought up the idea of using the Edmonds Center for the Arts, which has 68 parking spots. It has many planned events, so Hite said she wants to talk to them about a potential partnership.

“We are looking at ways to maximize parking in our town, and minimize the impact the park has on our town,” Hite said.

Councilmembers agreed that the parking issue in Edmonds is only getting worse, and had some ideas and support for solutions to the problem.

“We owe it to the people living near the park and the city to develop more parking in that area, and we need to think out of that box,” Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas said.

“I’ve been hearing a lot from folks about the parking problem,” Councilmember Mike Nelson added. “I am concerned that we are looking at a park as a viable option to address a parking problem that we currently have.

“This is a unique area that is going to be used, and is used, and I think we can address parking in other ways. I’d like to see more urgent action taken on parking. I’d like to see action in addition to this study, but what can we, as a city, do right now?”

Councilmember Thomas Mesaros agreed with Nelson’s opinion on the parking issue in Edmonds.

“Using Holy Trinity parking lots isn’t a solution to the parking problem, but it is a step forward in solving some of the issues we have,” he said. “I believe that is something that can happen right away, in the next 60-90 days, and could relieve some of the pressures we have with parking.”

In the end, the city council voted 6-0, with Councilmember Kristiana Johnson absent, to keep on course with the Civic Park master plan without parking.

Makenna Dreher, a senior at the University of Washington, is an Edmonds Beacon intern.

 

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