Pay to park: City of Kent considers parking meters downtown

The City of Kent is discussing the possibility of adding parking meters to the downtown area.

Jim Bowling, city engineer, said many options are being considered to manage parking in the city once the new developments are complete.

“With the new developments, the parking will need to be managed for efficiency,” said Bowling. “What we’re looking at now is how we can better manage the parking downtown. Everything is being considered including shared parking.”

Shared parking, Bowling explained, are parking spaces delegated for people working downtown during business hours, but are also available for the public to use when dining or visiting the downtown area. Some Kent residents and business owners may currently own parking passes, but new businesses coming to the city brings a need for more parking regulations.

“We have permits that we’ve had for a number of years,” said Gary Locke, director of community development for the City of Kent. “There has been discussion about putting in parking meters in certain areas to regulate parking, especially with the new downtown developments, but nothing is definite.”

Bowling said he has received a few phone calls from Kent residents who are concerned about the possible changes in parking regulations.

“People can contact me about parking,” said Bowling. “People become concerned when things change.” .

Some free parking may still be available once a decision is made, but Bowling explained that in the end, there will be some paid parking in downtown Kent.

“I think free parking is important, but at the same time they’re trying to work toward everything being uniformed,” said Wayne Wilson, president pro tem of Kent City Council.

The Kent City Council will make a final decision on parking regulation once Acorn Alley II and similar projects are finished. All new developments are expected to be complete by the end of 2012.

Contact Summer Kent Stater managing editor Raytevia Evans at [email protected].