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Change in downtown parking on hold
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A measure to change downtown parking from two hours to one hour has been temporarily pulled from consideration by McMinnville officials.
“Before you move on this, I would request you take a two-month extension to maybe think it out a little more,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “The more I think about it, the more reservations I have on it. I think the cure may be worse than the cause, if we do this.”
The idea of one-hour parking originated from some Main Street business owners who believed it would alleviate the parking problems on the street, as well as the added congestion if the city moves forward with relocating the Driver Testing Center to City Hall.
Denton says he has discussed the situation with most of the downtown merchants and those who were in support of one-hour parking are now hesitant.
“I’ve talked to most all the merchants downtown. They don’t have any problem with a two-month extension just to take a closer look at this,” said Denton. “As a matter of fact, a lot of them that were originally supporting one hour have backed off on it. I’ve talked at length with some of them.”
Increased enforcement of the two-hour limit has begun. The department’s officer is downtown daily and regularly patrols the street. Before, the officer had other duties that limited her time there which led to people being allowed to park in excess of two hours without fear of receiving a parking ticket.
Denton says the one-hour parking could be a deterrent to downtown visitors, while increased enforcement of two-hour parking could be a better option.
“Nothing is going to be a cure-all for this,” said Denton. “This is not a McMinnville problem. It’s a downtown problem anywhere you go. Everyone knows that. I think we can go a long way with increased enforcement without enacting this one-hour ordinance. We all know the effort that’s gone into downtown to get people down there. If you would give me a little more time to do more enforcement with the current ordinance and see how that goes, we can come back and discuss it.”
Denton could be right on one hour being too restrictive on visitors. McMinnville Housing Authority executive director Pat Basham informed the board the hair salon she uses is located on Main Street and she cannot get her hair done in less than an hour.
One problem is people working downtown are parking on Main Street and moving their vehicles every two hours to keep from getting a ticket rather than parking in the back lots. Aldermen Steve Harvey questioned if there is any way to prevent that.
“That’s a very good question,” said Denton, who laughed but couldn’t offer a solution to an action that’s not illegal. “Like I said, this isn’t a McMinnville problem.”
Board members unanimously agreed to hold off for two months on the measure.