City making parking easier

Megan Moore

Parking can be a pain for customers and employees in downtown Kent. Many customers are limited to two-hour parking spots and employees of Acorn Alley are asked to park in a lot near Jimmy Johns on E. Main St. The city has taken measures to ease the parking issue.

Parking was extended a couple of months ago from two hours to three hours on Gougler Ave., N. Water St. and S. DePeyster St. Parking is now free all day on the south end of Franklin Ave., except between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Parking was extended partly to accommodate customers of downtown businesses, which offer services that sometimes exceed two hours.

“In that time frame our clients were getting tickets,” said Amanda Boyd, Skullz Salon manager. “From my perspective they were being punished for being patrons of my business.”

Some parking spots on S. DePeyster St. have been eliminated because of the current construction. Parking on N. Water St. has also been limited in one area because of construction.

Many people have not even noticed that parking has been extended in the designated areas. Part of the reason is because the extended parking lots are located on the outskirts of downtown.

It takes nearly seven minutes to walk from Gougler Ave. to Main St. From Franklin Ave. to Main St. it takes four minutes and fifteen seconds. From North Water St. to Main St. it is a four-minute walk. While parking on South DePeyster St. is much closer to businesses on Main St. there are only 5 parking spots available.

One-day special meeting passes are offered for sale at Huntington Bank for parking in the Columbus Street lot.

Parking could remain an inconvenience until the multimodal transportation center, which will add about 400 parking spaces to downtown Kent, is finished at the end of 2012.

Mary Gilbert, the Executive Director of Main Street Kent said that they are focusing on long-term parking changes.

“We are probably going to end up with meters down here,” Gilbert said.

Contact Megan Moore at mailto:[email protected].