Friday, April 30, 2010

Plans Progress for Downtown Parking

The Parking Management Advisory Task Force (PMATF), appointed in March to make recommendations on the paid on-street parking system has worked diligently to create a on-street parking system that prioritizes customers, clients and visitors to downtown Tacoma, ensures 15 percent vacancy of on-street stalls, and is easy to use and understand.

The Task Force has an ambitious schedule of topics to address before the pay stations are turned on for public use in early September. To date, the Task Force has made the following recommendations. The public is encouraged to attend and share their thoughts about these recommendations at the monthly public meeting. The next public meeting is May 6th, 5-6pm in the Pantages Theater Lobby (S. 9th and Broadway).

Days of Paystation Operation: Monday – Saturday
The PMATF recommended Monday through Saturday operation based on current days of operation and consistency with other local jurisdictions – thereby making it easy for customers to understand. Furthermore, there was no data to support the need for enforcement on Sundays.

Hours of Paystation Operation: 8AM – 6PM
The PMATF recommended 8AM – 6PM operation based on current hours of operation and consistency with other local jurisdictions – again simplifying the system for customers. While consideration was given to the need for later hours in certain portions of downtown, the data collected showed on-street vacancies increased to about 50 percent by 7PM. Until more data is collected, the PMATF did not feel comfortable extending these hours.

Time Limits: 2-Hour Time Limit
The PMATF recommended a 2-hour base time limit (consistent with other jurisdictions) rather than another time limit or unlimited time. The PMATF felt that unlimited time purchases would encourage all day parkers to compete with customers for on-street spaces. By establishing time limits, the City retains the ability to use other tools (price and chain parking restrictions) to encourage all day parkers to use garages and lots.

Criteria for Paystation Locations
The PMATF has worked with a representative of the potential vendor to establish criteria for the draft map of the placement of paystations. These criteria will help determine the draft map which will be later refined by on-the-ground work.

Area of Enforcement Buffer Time Limits
The PMATF recommended a 90 minute time stay and enforced buffer area around the paid area to discourage employees from parking here to avoid paying. The boundaries of the buffer zone are S. 4th, S. 21st, Dock St. and Tacoma Ave.

Revised Chain Parking Ordinance
The PMATF has reviewed Tacoma’s chain parking ordinance to find a more effective way of limiting chain parking and encouraging all day parkers to park off street in a garage or lot. The Task Force continues to evaluate this issue

Communications Plan
The PMATF continues to work with the consultants on a communications and marketing plan. In partnership with the City staff a local advertizing firm will be hired to develop the communications campaign.

Exception Spaces
The PMATF is currently evaluating the process for requesting and or locating short-term 30min stalls, loading zones, valet zones, etc.

The PMATF plans to take up the following issues in the coming months:
- Parking Signage
- Paystation Graphics
- Display Graphics
- Receipt Design
- Parking Fines
- Other Municipal Code Changes
- Parking Permits (Residential, Construction, Service, Delivery, etc.)
- Other topics

For more information about Downtown Parking and the Parking Task Force go to To share a comment please email

other post on this topic:
Council endorses parking meters
Paid on-street parking is coming

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