WALLA WALLA — At a Council work session this week, downtown merchants made it clear they want an Alder Street angled parking plan to go for the max.
And some suggested another alternative to keep traffic from backing up.
“My preference for the thing would be to go for 80 (parking) spots, and when you get to where you have traffic congestion put up a sign that says no left turn,” downtown building owner Charles Potts told Council at a work session on Monday.
Earlier this month, city officials released plans to convert a half-mile stretch of Alder Street between Fifth Avenue and Spokane Street to angled parking.
The plan came in three configurations, all three of which reduced through traffic to two lanes.
The least favored plan would add 47 spaces as well as a center turn lane to keep traffic from backing up. But angled parking would only be on the north side of Alder, thus reducing the number of added spaces.
The plan favored by a number of merchants at the meeting would add 80 spaces and angled parking on both sides of the street similar to Main Street.
The plan favored by city officials, however, would add 60 spaces and put angled parking on both sides of the street, except near the intersection of Second Avenue, where turn lanes would be added to avoid backups caused by motorists making left turns.
“Parking is a huge issue downtown. There are more people that work downtown than are parking spots, and we need as much parking as possible,” Downtown Walla Walla Foundation Executive Director Elio Agostini said.
He added he that believes the backups on Main are occasional and not enough to keep the city from going for the max plan.
“We don’t have a problem making left hand turns,” Agostini said. “Oh, we do on occasion. But it is not that serious.”
City officials are now asking the general public to voice their opinion on the matter with the new Open City Hall website.
The angled parking issued is expected to be reviewed and voted on by the Council at its regular meeting on Dec. 18.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.