Current, future needs to be addressed

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The city's parking study will focus on businesses in the 10th Street area. The city planning department will use the summer months to conduct an evaluation of West Linn’s parking needs, with a particular focus on the 0.15-mile radius between 10th Street, south of Interstate 205, and Willamette Falls Drive between 10th and 14th streets.

The study comes about as part of an exchange with the Oregon Department of Transportation, which in 2011 conducted a feasibility analysis for a potential roundabout at 10th Street and Willamette Falls Drive and asked for the parking study in return.

“ODOT wanted the city to provide kind of a match,” said West Linn Associate Planner Zach Pelz. “And if we can better manage parking, we can reduce how people have to drive around looking for parking, which improves driving.”

Slated to be completed by August, the study will analyze current parking needs while also measuring future demand by dividing the total area (in square feet) of commercially zoned land by 277 (the average floor area per parking space required by the community development code).

That number will then be subtracted from the existing parking measured in the study to provide a more accurate assessment going forward.

“Based on the existing zoning area, we can kind of get an idea of what the maximum need for parking would be,” Pelz said.

The study’s task force, made up of local business and property owners, will also look closely at parking near restaurants and bars — where space is primarily utilized at night and could be shared with the general public during daytime hours.

“As the (10th Street) area continues to develop,” Pelz said, “there will definitely be, if not more parking needed, at least better management.”

Once the study is completed, the city will present a conceptual parking management plan to ODOT. Any suggested amendments to the plan going forward will then be discussed with the planning commission, according to Pelz.

Changes or new additions to the city’s parking system likely would not be implemented until the next budget cycle, Pelz said. Aside from sharing with local bars or restaurants, other common parking improvement options include putting stricter time limits on the most popular spots or encouraging employees in the area to park farther from their workplace to open up spaces near shops.

“A lot of cities use good marketing to encourage employees to park further away and encourage more patrons to come,” Pelz said.

The task force was set to be formed in the middle of June, and Pelz said there is still work to do before the study begins.

“The real details and methodology aren’t ironed out yet,” Pelz said. “But we’re looking at parking availability, capacity at parking lots and how it’s used during the week and weekends. And then we’ll kind of look real generally at what added parking will be required of the full build-out of existing zoning plans.”

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