WALLA WALLA — The City Council agreed Wednesday to go with the lesser of two Alder Street angled parking plans, the one that will add 60 instead of 80 additional spaces but also keep traffic moving.
In a show of hands, members were split 4-3 in favor of the plan that will convert most of Alder between Fifth Avenue and Colville Street to angled parking.
Council members Conrado Cavazos, Jerry Cummins, Mary Lou Jenkins and Chris Plucker supported the 60-space plan. Mayor Jim Barrow and Council members Barbara Clark and Shane Laib were for the 80-space plan.
The 60 space plan will also keep two stretches of parallel parking on either side of Second Avenue so turn lanes can be added to keep traffic from backing up.
The plan will be sent out for work bids next year.
“We feel that of all the options, that really is the best balance of parking and traffic flow in this case,” Neal Chavre, city engineer, reported to Council.
A handful of local merchants testified that they wanted the city to go with the max plan, which would have added 80 spaces and left Alder looking very much like Main Street.
“I could probably live with the alternative for 60 stalls, although I am on record as preferring 80 just because if the issue is parking then we should try to max it out,” downtown property owner Charles Potts told the Council.
The angled parking debate was also the city’s first chance to try out its new Open City Hall, an online feedback site designed to promote public input in issues.
In his report, Chavre said the overwhelming number of comments to website were in favor of the 60-space plan with turn lanes.
“Each option is a series of trade-offs. You give up one thing to get another,” Chavre said, noting that the 60-space plan would also better accommodate commercial truck deliveries.
“We looked at the public input ... We feel that of all the options, that really is the best balance of parking and traffic flow in this case,” Chavre said.
The angled parking project will coincide with two new streetlights and bulb-out curbs to be added next year at the intersections of First Avenue and Colville Street.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.