Parking permit proposal puts Tacoma residents first, businesses second

TACOMA, Wash. — Circling for a parking space is something we can all relate to.  Tuesday night, a battle is brewing in Tacoma where neighbors complain there is nowhere to park near their homes.

Matthew Saum just scored a parking spot right next to his house.  But usually…

“Like maybe two-minute walk, which is kind of annoying every day,” said Saum.

Residents point to a booming 6th Avenue for the parking woes.

“A couple of new businesses coming up, which is great to see. I see more consistent business on 6th Avenue on weekend nights especially, and the downside of that is that parking has got more competitive,” said Tacoma resident Kelly Weatherby-Pennisi.

More congestion means more business for O’Malley’s Irish Pub.

“Our clientele primarily park on the side streets because the streets on 6th Avenue are generally clogged with cars immediately because it’s very popular with a lot of different restaurants and bars on the streets,” said Richard Jennings, general manager of O’Malley’s Irish Pub.

Now the city is looking to regulate where and how long people park.

“What we’re really trying to do is push out people who don’t live there and aren’t patronizing businesses or maybe employees who want to park for eight or nine hours and take up all the spots for customers, for residents,” said Parking Technical Advisory Group's Joe Loran.

Under the proposal, $60 per year gives residents a parking permit for two cars. It would mean unlimited parking within the parking zone.

“You can park in the zone. Somedays it will be right in front of your house and somedays it may be two doors down or across the street,” said Loran.

“Customers and clients that come in to the businesses, we’ll regulate them with time stays. They’ll get like two hours,” said Loran.

“If they’re here for two hours and they’re potentially going to get towed, it will lighten the flow of people who want to come in to the establishment,” said Jennings.

He added,  “A parking lot would be great somewhere on 6th Avenue so people could park there in mass."

City leaders say this proposal will help regulate the growth of Tacoma.  Housing prices are up 14% and because it’s so much cheaper to live in Tacoma versus Seattle, they say it could help with the fight for limited space.