The Arcata City Council on Wednesday agreed to hold off on a comprehensive parking study and instead directed the Arcata Police Department to look at preferential parking on the 11th Street overhead for businesses to relieve some of the impact to downtown.
Councilwoman Alex Stillman said she would like to see preferential parking on 11th Street for businesses such as the Humboldt Open Door Clinic as an experiment to see if it opens up parking spots so that employees aren't forced to run out and move their cars every two hours.
”I just think we could try some creative things,” Stillman said. “We don't have to make it permanent. We could try this for a year, see how it works.”
Both Councilwoman Susan Ornelas and Mayor Mark Wheetley said they are supportive of trying something new instead of moving forward with an in-depth study that according to some estimates would have cost more than $100,000.
”The council's feeling is we don't have that level of funding,” Wheetley said. “I think we will continue to work with the police chief, public works, community development to address some of the very localized problem areas and see what kind of solutions we can develop.”
A study was considered because police Chief Tom Chapman said the department doesn't feel like it has the expertise or resources to address the issue.
”We've really struggled to look at parking comprehensively, the big picture, what are we trying to do with parking,” Chapman said. “It's a monumental task for us to pull off.”
Parking has become an issue for employees who work downtown and are forced to move their cars every couple of hours. It's also problematic for neighborhoods near Humboldt State University because people park in the surrounding neighborhoods to avoid paying for a space on campus.
The police department will come back with another staff report to further discuss the issue at a later date.
In other news, the council asked staff to continue working on the Bayview neighborhood conservation area survey. Staff was directed to fine-tune its list of properties that are historically or architecturally significant, to inform property owners and to hold a community meeting in the spring to educate residents on the historic review process.
The council also voted unanimously with Councilman Shane Brinton absent to adjust the Public Works Department budget by $560,000. The department received federal money to start acquiring pieces of land for the Foster Avenue right of way project.
The council will meet again on Feb. 5 for its regularly scheduled meeting.
Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.