How to fix parking problems?

Parking spaces in front of downtown Payette businesses fill up on the afternoon of Feb. 10. Payette City Councilors plan to have a workshop to discuss ways to solve the downtown area’s parking challenges.

PAYETTE — Have you ever had trouble finding a parking space during special events in downtown Payette? The Payette City Council is resuming discussions of how to deal with such troubles. At the Council’s Feb. 3 meeting, Councilor Daniel Lopez brought up the discussion of how to address downtown Payette’s parking challenges: 

Lopez told the council he spoke with the majority of merchants in downtown Payette. In response to complaints he has heard, Lopez recommended reviewing the parking ordinance to help relieve a tenant parking issue, as well as cars being left parked in downtown all day.

Lopez said he didn’t have a grand idea to solve the issue but rather wanted to reopen the discussion to find solutions.

Payette Police Chief John Plaza said it’s been a while since he personally patrolled Main Street at night, and he hasn’t seen many complaints of problems.

“Unfortunately it’s been a long time since I’ve been out at night on Main Street,” Plaza said.

Councilor Ray Wickersham acknowledged that there are times when parking is “a disaster” in downtown, saying the issue has become more difficult with a new restaurant in town.

Mayor Jeff Williams recommended having a work session to resolve parking issue.

“What kinds of problems are you hearing?” is the question he posed to his Councilors.

Councilor Daniel Lopez expressed the need to find solutions as businesses work to open up or remain open in downtown Payette, as well as how it plays into the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown.

“If we’re gonna have more people downtown, we’re going to need more parking,” he said. Lopez also noted that several downtown buildings with apartments utilize street parking.

Councilor Kathy Patrick, who is also director of the Payette Senior Center, brought up concerns with the center utilizing parking just west of its building as authorized by the local railroad company during special events. She noted some people struggle to walk the additional distance when parking that far away. 

Patrick wants the council to look at all the complaints the city receives prior to any work session.

When Patrick asked what downtown parking ordinances exist, City Clerk Mary Cordova says the current ones focus mainly on snow removal.

Jamie Couch from the Payette Parks Department stated that the issue is not Main Street itself, but rather folks utilizing side streets that contributes to the downtown parking issue.

Wickersham noted that no signage exists along Main Street, indicating any time restrictions on parking.

Patrick says there’s “plenty” of parking, and the complaints she hears focus more on when special events take up all the parking.

Williams acknowledged there are places to add parking on side streets.

Cordova said that signs used to exist listing times for street sweeping, and cars used to be towed under ordinances. A previous council had since then voted to take down the signs. 

As this was not an action item, no action was taken during this meeting. 

However, one item Williams unofficially ruled out during the discussion was metered parking.

“I’m thinking that probably wouldn’t go over really great,” Williams said. 

Corey Evan is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Observer. He can be reached at (208) 642-5258 or by emailing coreye@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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