Changes could increase number of spaces and parking visibility…
Chewelah has a problem that is probably a good one to have. Increased use of the downtown area has seen the current parking layout strained as people have a hard time finding a spot right by their downtown business. Visibility when backing out of a spot can also be an issue, while winter months throw snow berms into the mix.
The Chewelah City Council is considering several options to relieve parking issues on Main Ave., and with the upcoming open forum, they’re hoping to get some input from you.
“Parking is a big issue in our city and we’ve heard a lot about it,” City Administrator Mike Frizzell said. “The street is not being utilized to its potential for parking.”
Councilwoman Nicole Norvell and many others have worked hard in coming up with three proposals that could add spots, visibility and increase the size of travel lanes along Main Ave. Gains in travel lanes is also important as anyone driving down Main Ave. can appreciate a few extra feet for their vehicles.
This would only affect the first four blocks east of Highway 395.
The current parking configuration has 45-degree angle parking on one side of the street and parallel parking on the south side with a total of 61 parking spots in the two block area. Lane-width varies with angled parking, allowing a 13.5-foot travel lane and parallel parking offering a 21-foot travel lane. One major issue with this current configuration is work trucks can stick out further than normal vehicles in the slanted parking spots, creating visibility issues and cutting into the travel lane size.
“Lots of people have work trucks in town, a lot of construction workers or other trades have these big work trucks and they’re stopping in town to get parts or something else,” Frizzell said.
One proposal to help fix this is to change the slanted parking to 30 degrees instead of the current 45 degrees. Parking spots would be put on both sides of the street and do away with parralel parking. This would mean the travel lanes would be an even 17.75 feet on both sides and allow for more visibility and increase the number of spaces in downtown to 70.
Another option, and perhaps the least impactful would be to slightly shift the center line south which would see the travel lane became 17.25 feet from Highway 395 to fourth and 13.5 feet from fourth to fifth street. This change wouldn’t create any more spots, but would allow for a good travel lanes.
A third option is to have 30-degree angle parking on the north side of the street which wouldn’t mean a gain in total spaces, but would increase visibility on Main for people backing out, and would expand the travel lane on the north side to 17.75 feet.
Both Norvell and Frizzell stressed that the council has not made their mind up on what route they would take. They estimate that changing the parking configuration could take two days to remove lines and add new lines in, but would work to do this at a time outside of peak hours in downtown Chewelah.
If you’re curious to see the proposed parking layouts, you can check them out at www.cityofchewelah.org.
The public forum for the downtown parking situation will be on January 16, 2019 during the council meeting in the City Hall Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m.
(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)