WALLA WALLA — City officials want to add angled parking on six blocks of Alder Street to gain an additional 60 spaces.
The proposal is one of three parking options the City Council is to consider in upcoming weeks.
The affected section of Alder Street stretches from Fifth Avenue to Spokane Street, where currently 96 vehicles can park in parallel stalls. Along with the 60-space plan, the Council also will review plans that could add either 47 or 80 angled parking spaces.
The downside in all three proposals, however, is that traffic will be affected.
“I would like to see the one that gives us the most parking but is also the safest and works best for traffic,” Downtown Walla Walla Foundation Executive Director Elio Agostini said.
The plan offering the most spaces would put angled parking on both sides of Alder Street and reduce its four lanes to two. That plan would also result in “traffic back-ups at the intersection of Second Avenue similar to what occurs at Second and Main,” according to a city news release.
The plan that would maintain the best traffic flow would put angled parking only on the north side of Alder Street and include two lanes and a center turn lane to keep traffic from backing up. But that plan would only add 47 spaces.
According to city officials, a hybrid of the two plans is the best option.
The 60-space proposal would add angled parking on both sides and reduce most of the half-mile stretch of Alder Street to two lanes, except at high traffic intersections where parallel parking would be kept to add turn lanes.
While the hybrid plan doesn’t add as many spaces, Agostini supports it and said it will work with the Foundation’s long-term goals.
“My dream is to have Alder similar to Main Street,” Agostini said, noting that the Foundation has long considered asking property owners to establish a local improvement district that would pay for landscaping and other retail oriented improvements.
The 60 additional parking spaces, he added, will help downtown merchants compete with other retail centers.
“We have to pay attention to what will happen at the mall,” Agostini said, referring to plans to re-establish a shopping center on the site of the former Blue Mountain Mall on the city’s west side. “I want downtown to stay the center of retail commerce.”
If approved, the parallel parking project downtown will coincide with two traffic signal replacement projects next year on Alder at the intersections of First Avenue and Colville Street.
City officials don’t expect striping for the angled parking project to cost more than $30,000.
On Monday, Council will review the three proposals at a work session at City Hall, 15 N. Third Ave., 4 p.m., and possibly vote on the angled parking proposal at their regular session on Dec. 18.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8325.