The city of Kent expects to implement new parking restrictions Sept. 1 in the Mill Creek neighborhood and three residential areas south of Kentridge High School.
City staff continue to change details of the restrictions but plans to return either March 18 or April 1 to the City Council’s Public Works Committee to recommend approval of the new ordinance.
The restricted parking signs in Mill Creek will target Sounder train commuters who park on streets in the neighborhood because they cannot find a spot in the Kent Station garage,which fills up early in the morning. Residents complained to the city about so many cars filling up the streets. City staff recommend commuters use the James Street Park & Ride lot, 902 W. James St., rather than the neighborhood.
Sound Transit plans to build a new parking garage at East James Street and Railroad Avenue North for train commuters, with approximately 530 spaces, but that isn’t scheduled to open until 2023.
Kentridge students who don’t get to the school parking lot, 12430 SE 208th St., before it fills up use the streets in the Glencarin Division I, Shadow Run and Jason Lane neighborhoods just south of the school.
“We’ve had discussion for a better part of two years for this (Kentridge) issue and other parking issues in Mill Creek,” said Councilman Dennis Higgins, chair of the Public Works Committee.
The council twice has pulled the parking ordinance off meeting agendas. Council members removed the item Feb. 19 after residents near Kentridge showed up to tell the council they wanted permits so they could park on the streets. The restrictions would be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays from September through June to keep students from parking on the streets.
City staff won’t charge for the permits, but it has yet to be determined how many permits each resident in the Kentridge and Mill Creek neighborhoods will receive. They also will receive temporary tags for guests who visit. The proposed ordinance included each home receiving four window decals to park in the restricted zone and 15 hang tag visitor permits. But members of the Public Works Committee had concerns that number might be too many permits.
Residents who live near Kentridge told the council last month they don’t want the permit limit so high that streets fill up from homes that have numerous vehicles.
“Let’s have complete clarity on that,” Higgins said about the number of permits when the ordinance comes back to the committee.
The committee had been scheduled to vote on the ordinance March 4, but city staff asked for a delay so it could get feedback about a change in the Mill Creek restrictions.
Rather than no parking signs seven days a week, 24 hours a day, city staff proposed to limit parking in Mill Creek from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays when commuters park in the area.
“We’ve had a change, so we want to do some outreach to the neighborhood,” said Rob Brown, city transportation engineering manager.
Toni Azzola, the city’s neighborhood program coordinator, will reach out to Mill Creek residents to see if they are fine with the planned change in parking hour restrictions, Public Works Director Tim LaPorte said.
The 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. restriction could be enforced better by Kent Police because a newly hired second parking enforcement officer will work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, LaPorte said after talking with Police Chief Rafael Padilla. The council approved hiring a second officer this year to enforce the new neighborhood restrictions. Violators could face a $50 ticket and may be towed.
It will cost the city about $45,000 to install 75 new signs in the Kentridge neighborhoods. The cost is about $25,000 for 35 signs in Mill Creek.
The city also will add new parking restrictions along West Smith Street between 64th Avenue South and Washington Avenue North. Business owners requested the parking limits so spots open up. The city will install signs that limit parking to four hours. That will cost about $10,000 for 20 signs.