The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Carnegie Building on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski
Parking Commissioners Charlotte Cook, Linda Fait, Val Handel, Kevin Hoff, Len Merryman, Kristie Painter, George Schroeder, Jeanne Stallman and Brian Watkins
City Manager Pro Tem Bill Hoke; City Attorney Lori Cooper, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Joint Study Session with Parking Commission
Executive Office Manager Lynette OíNeal provided a staff report outlining the history of the Parking Commission since the City of Medford took over management of downtown parking on July 1, 2009.
When the City took over management of the Parking Fund from the Urban Renewal Agency, it was expected to be out of funds by June 30, 2010. The City immediately cut expenses and began working on a parking management plan to increase revenue.
Parking Consultant Expense
- Parking Consultant Dan Brame, Brame Northwest, was hired to create a parking management plan, with assistance from the Parking Commission.
- Complaints of no parking spaces
- Employees were parking on streets; stating they couldnít afford permits
- The original parking management plan recommended 62 machines, which was reduced to six machines.
- Time limits in the downtown area were reduced from two hours to one hour; increasing the daily turnover rate from three to seven.
- More than 300 people were invited to eight public meetings to discuss downtown parking.
- There was a transfer of $7,500 from the General Fund to maintain the Parking Fund, which was repaid within one year.
- Parking Commission heard concerns, performed new data counts, and determined improvements and/or changes to downtown parking.
- Pay by Phone was added to on-street parking spaces, allowing for citizens to increase time; adding Pay by Phone for all one-hour parking spaces.
- The addition of The Commons, One West Main, Health & Human Services Building, added 500 employees and visitors to the Parking District.
- Permit prices were revised from a flat rate of $35 per month to $10 to $40 per month.These new prices enabled more people to purchase permits; we now have a waiting list for permits, and we used to have half-empty facilities.
Since 2009, Mr. Brame has been paid approximately $219,000 for many services including, but not limited to:
- Parking management
- Consulting on various projects
- Conducting the parking study
- Creating a parking management plan
- Implementing the parking management plan
- Revising the parking management plan
- Conducting the parking study for The Commons
- Reviewing The Commonsí parking study after two years
- Consulting on Cherry Creek, One West Main and Skypark
- Updating the Cityís parking study and parking management plan after five years
The Chair of the Parking Commission, Brian Watkins, spoke regarding some of the Parking Commissionís current activities:
- Reviewing parking for improvements
- Conducting educational meetings on parking in downtown medford
- Receiving and processing concerns regarding downtown parking
- Improving/upgrading the parking maps
- Promoting Medfordís free parking
- Discussing the possibility of implementing diagonal parking
- Considering revisions to parking signage
- Purchasing and maintaining parking machines
- Assisting with the parking management plan by discussing parking limits, loading zones and other concerns with business owners
- Updating the parking map to include free parking, where to park, permits, etc.
- Working on obtaining a parking app
Housing Authority project impacted parking spots for the Holly Theatre and the Education Service District; satisfying one issue, created other issues.
Skypark would create a positive impact for the community, but takes too many parking spaces from the public.
Parking on East Main Street was reduced from two hours to one hour, because most businesses in that area require shorter limits and to help reduce student parking. Unfortunately itís not monolithic and some businesses preferred the two-hour limits. Initial occupancy counts on Main Street reported people parking for two hours. With students and employees parking on the street, there were very few spaces available and the spaces were full all day. The Parking Commission discusses Main Street parking nearly every month; possible options include adding Pay by Phone with an increased hourly rate, installing parking meters, and changing parking limits.
Approximately 25% of street parking is one hour; those spaces run from 10th
Street to Riverside; time limits increase further from the downtown core branching out to two hours, then three hours. There are also parking garages for longer-term parking.
- Meters can be expensive; approximately $10,000 to $15,000 each
- Would need to be placed on both sides of the street
- Public perception
- Would continue the free one-hour, with ability to park longer
- Should determine why other cities have removed meters
Commissioner Watkins noted the benefits of the validation program which will waive parking tickets and costs business owners $5.
Councilmember Bearnson noted the downtown area is deficient in employee/employer parking. Although businesses can purchase permits, we should work with businesses regarding the cost.
Councilmember Zarosinski asked whether the City had enough parking spaces for the number of businesses in the area. Ms. OíNeal explained that parking spaces are based on the types of businesses as well as their square footage. Currently, the City is short on west side spaces, but the Parking Commission is looking at options to increase long-term parking in the area.
Mayor Wheeler appreciated the Parking Commissionís participation and thanked the Commissioners for their representation and the work they have done.
The meeting adjourned at 1:06 p.m.
Deputy City Recorder