The Yakima City Council Is Considering Paid Parking Meters In Downtown

Many years ago when I first moved to Yakima back in the late 90s, they had paid parking meters and I was taken aback. I had just moved from Seattle and didn't expect a small town to have meters.

parking barrier. man taking ticket to pass control on parking area

Could Tri-Cities Be Next To Bring Paid Parking Meters To Their Downtown Areas?

I don't know when they pulled the meters out but the next time I lived in Yakima, they were gone. I remember that Yakima's downtown mall had failed and was soon a grand hotel. I remember that I told my wife that I'd rather drive to Valley Mall than pay for parking in downtown Yakima.

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After all these years, the Yakima City Council is proposing bringing back parking meters after a study was done by Rick Williams Consulting. In an article from the Yakima Herald, Yakima City Manager Bob Harrison recommended the city charge $1 per hour for parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the downtown area Mondays through Saturdays, with no charges for Sundays.

McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing
McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing

A memo was released breaking down where the money would be appropriated if the parking meters were to return to downtown Yakima:

“Expenditures would be for the operations of the system including, but not limited to, parking enforcement, debt service on the acquisition of the (charging) stations, along with capital improvements in the parking zone area,” he said in the memo. “These capital improvements could include streets, off-street parking lots maintenance and construction, sidewalks, street trees, etc. The goal is to generate additional revenue that will be able to be invested into the downtown commercial areas.”

I do recall that there was a notorious meter maid in Yakima who would patrol the streets looking for parking offenders with her chalk stick.

I know I'm not a fan. I've always felt that if you want to bring customers back to downtown areas, you need to keep the parking free.

Of the three Tri-Cities downtown areas, Kennewick seems to be the one downtown area that seems the most cramp for parking but even then I wouldn't charge for downtown parking.

Downtown Duluth public parking
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

I haven't seen any news stories saying that any of our local city councils are looking at paid parking meters in the Tri-Cities and I hope that we don't see them anytime in the near future.

I think if you want people to come to your downtown areas, parking shouldn't be a hindrance.

If you live in Yakima, the City Council is asking for feedback on the proposed parking meters.

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