Snoqualmie hopes to begin parking construction soon
May 14, 2009
By Michael Rowe
Snoqualmie has to start building improvements to downtown parking by September if it wants to take advantage of a $1.4 million Economic Development Administration grant.
Downtown businesses could benefit from the roadwork that would create new angled parking spaces for customers. The angled parking spaces will be built on the west side of Falls Avenue between King and River Streets and on River Street between Railroad Avenue and Falls Avenue. The city is calling the project the Falls Avenue Plaza.
The city has until September to start construction on the Falls Avenue Plaza project or it could lose the grant.
The idea for the angled parking was developed through a number of meetings with downtown property owners and merchants, Snoqualmie Director of Planning Nancy Tucker said. On-street parallel parking offers fewer spaces than what can be accommodated with angled parking.
“The best way to get parking close to businesses is to do angled parking,” Tucker said.
If property on the east side of Falls Avenue is redeveloped, it’s possible that angled parking could be required for that side of the street, as well. There will not be angled parking where driveways of businesses connect with the street, unless those property owners decide that they want to give up their driveways in favor of adding angled parking.
The city has about $3.2 million set aside for downtown street improvements. Besides the $1.4 million EDA grant, the city raised $1.8 million through bond sales. The city would like to do more with the project, and city leaders are looking for additional funding.
The city recently asked U.S. Representative Dave Reichert for a $3 million appropriation to include angled parking on the east side of Railroad Avenue. However, changing parking on Railroad Avenue would require approval from the Washington State Department of Transportation. Tucker said that getting approval to add parking on Railroad Avenue would be a time-consuming process. She said that WSDOT supports Snoqualmie’s appropriation for a parking project on Railroad Avenue.
Other work being done as part of the EDA project will broaden sidewalks along Railroad Avenue from eight to 12 feet wide. The EDA grant will also fund street beautification efforts such as tree planting, and other features.
The city is also considering adding elevated street crossings on Railroad Avenue. Tucker said that she is also hoping the city will get approval for the street crossings from WSDOT. Typically WSDOT does not allow street crossings on state routes, but a crossing was allowed in Duvall and Tucker thinks Snoqualmie can follow the other city’s strategy for getting approval of a crossing on Railroad Avenue.
Tucker said that design work on the downtown parking and sidewalk project is underway. To meet the September deadline for starting the project, the city will have to go out to bid on the project in early fall.
Reach reporter Michael Bayless Rowe at email@example.com or 392-6434, ext. 248.