Monroe pilot project temporarily changes downtown parking limits

The Monroe City Council passed a resolution recently which established new temporary parking regulations in the downtown core.
The temporary parking regulations took effect on Wednesday, Dec. 3, and will be enforced through Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Temporary signs have been placed over the existing parking regulation signs which, in most areas, have been changed from a two-hour maximum to a 24-hour maximum. The resolution re-establishes the former two-hour maximum parking regulations as of Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015.
Approximately 11 parking spaces have been temporarily assigned a 15-minute maximum to accommodate businesses with quick, in-and-out traffic. Temporary signs have been placed to reflect this change, as well.
Facilitated in part by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, the temporary regulations have been established as a means of collecting data on what works best for the downtown area as a whole. During the trial period, the chamber is welcoming feedback from both business owners and customers to determine how the temporary regulations are working.
Parking in the downtown Monroe area has been debated by business owners for many years.
During the council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 21, Monroe business owners Randy Oesch of Players Music Mart and Patti Gibbons of Heavenly Soap both addressed council, advocating for a lengthier time allotment. They stated that the 2-hour maximum does not provide time enough for customers to come to Monroe, have a meal, and then go shopping along Main Street.
Gibbons expressed a desire to see at least a four-hour maximum, or for the city to simply lift parking restrictions altogether. She said that, until Main Street is thriving, she doesn't see a need to restrict parking as stringently as a two-hour maximum, and feels that it serves as a deterrent to shoppers who might otherwise spend time and money in Monroe.
Oesch was frustrated by parking tickets received by himself and a member of his staff. He said that he didn't feel comfortable directing his employees to park elsewhere and walk, particularly at night because the area is extremely dark.

Sky River Bakery owner Andrew Abt has been in business on West Main Street for 28 years, and has witnessed firsthand all the various parking scenarios that have been implemented in that time.
To Abt, the two-hour parking restriction has been the most conducive to providing effective customer service. He feels strongly that the parking on Main Street should be oriented towards customers, not business owners, so that clients are able to have convenient parking in front of whichever business they wish to visit.
He is concerned that the 24-hour maximum parking restriction will simply invite those who live in their vehicles or in homes nearby to park in those spaces for as long as they wish.
Of the several 15-minute maximum parking spaces that were added to the trial parking plan, one is located near the Sky River Bakery and E-man Computer Care. But Abt worries about the logistics of enforcement and is concerned that the 15-minute parking limit sign will not serve as a sufficient enough deterrent.
To submit comments on the trial parking restrictions and help influence future parking policy, please contact the Monroe Chamber of Commerce at 360-794-5488 or To view the parking resolution in full, including a complete list of the new temporary parking regulations, please visit:


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