Parking is one of those good news, bad news stories.
When things are going good, it means people are visiting and enjoying what downtown Kent has to offer, but unfortunately they tend to bring their cars to get them there — which means parking availability can become an issue. On the flip side no people, means no cars and no parking problem — but that’s no good either.
So we want a parking problem without actually having it be a problem, which is why the City and it’s partners at PARTA are adding over 500 new spots to downtown Kent to support all the new development that is already coming out of the ground.
It’s been interesting to track the downtown development gant chart — as various project milestones came and went, parking appears as a solid task bar that has had our attention from the start and will continue long after everything else is done.
We started with a thorough study of parking availability and usage today (which by the way, tends to only use about 40% of what’s available) and we studied carefully the other end of full build out of the new development. Right now we’re filling in everything in between and we’re trying to as flexible as possible to adjust to the rather dramatic changes that are going on with construction impacting a lot of the best parking spaces.
With that in mind, the City staff has been working with the downtown merchants to come up with a couple of changes to the current parking scheme to help the customers find the spots they need to support their favorite downtown establishments. Here’s some of the information that is being sent around under the premise that the more we can keep people informed the less likelihood for frustrations to rise.