TWIN FALLS — The City Council will be asked Monday to eliminate the parking pass requirement for all-day parking downtown, and to create more short-term customer parking.
The city owns seven parking lots downtown. After it got rid of downtown parking meters and leased parking in 2012, many of the stalls in these lots have been reserved for all-day parking with a parking pass. The rest have been available for business customers and other downtown visitors for up to three hours of free parking.
But last year, because of the Main Avenue reconstruction, the pass program was temporarily suspended, allowing people to park anywhere in these lots.
Having discussed parking needs with downtown businesses, Urban Renewal Agency Executive Director Nathan Murray is coming before City Council to ask the city to get rid of the program. He’d like the city to re-stripe the lots and allow for some free daylong parking as well as short-term parking.
“I think the most we’ve ever collected was about $9,000,” Murray said about the parking pass program.
According to city records, about 51 people had parking passes for the downtown lots. But there are far more stalls that require parking passes than there are people who bought them. A parking pass cost $2 per day, $8 for a week, $20 for a month and $220 for a year.
The passes were mostly intended for business employees, Murray said.
Some of these all-day parking pass spots were also taking up prime customer parking close to downtown businesses, he said.
While the parking pass program has been suspended, the city has continued to enforce the three-hour parking rule for parking downtown. City staff patrol the area to keep tabs on vehicles, and issue a warning the first time someone has been caught parking for longer than three hours without a pass.
“If they have (previously) received a warning, they will receive a parking ticket,” Code Enforcement Coordinator Sean Standley said. “We try education before enforcement.”
In 2017, 158 people received a warning and 77 tickets were issued. A ticket costs $35, Standley said, but if it isn’t paid within three business days that increases to $50. After 30 days, the ticket goes to a collection agency and increases to $75.
If Murray’s request is approved, the city may reduce the number of long-term parking spots in order to promote more customer parking and turnover. The free all-day parking would probably be farther away from businesses, and there would be more handicapped spaces near businesses.
Each lot would get new signs and be repainted with green stripes to indicate three-hour parking and white stripes to indicate all-day parking.
“We want to clean up the parking lots,” Standley said. “We want to get rid of the bumper blocks.”
The cleaner layout will help the city have better access for snow removal and cleanup of the lots.
Currently, some lots have up to 50 percent pass-only parking, and only a couple of handicapped-accessible spaces. Along Main Avenue, parking is limited to two hours.
Parking needs have changed particularly between Shoshone and Gooding streets, where newer restaurants and businesses attract a steady stream of customers. It’s possible the city could decide to eliminate all-day parking in the lot behind the Orpheum Theatre.
The URA in 2016 purchased some land along Second Avenue North between Gooding and Fairfield streets and turned it into a free all-day parking lot.
The City Council meets at 5 p.m. Monday in City Council Chambers inside City Hall, 203 Main Ave. E.
Chicken ordinance and more
During the meeting, a public hearing is also scheduled to take place no earlier than 6 p.m. regarding a code change for animal permits.
The “chicken ordinance” would ban all rooster chickens within the city limits, and allow residents to own up to four hen chickens without an approved animal permit. The proposed changes are coming before City Council after one resident complained about the tedious nature of the permit process and argued that four hens are less disruptive than four dogs — yet they are more heavily regulated.
City code currently prohibits “pigs and hogs,” but not roosters.
Also at the meeting, the Council will consider:
- A request for the Shoshone Falls Light Event to take place at Shoshone Falls Park May 17-19.
- Annual report presentations from the Twin Falls Police Department and Twin Falls Fire Department.
- A request to adopt an ordinance for a zoning district change and zoning map amendment for property on the south side of the 400 block of undeveloped Diamond Avenue West.
- A request to adopt an ordinance for a zoning district change and zoning map amendment for property at 1211 Addison Ave. W. within the area of impact.