City Council gets the angle on diagonal parking

October 3, 2018

There was zero wrangle about parking on an angle during a public hearing held Monday night by the Kalispell City Council.

All three speakers during the hearing, which focused on converting two short stretches of two downtown streets from parallel parking to diagonal parking, expressed support for the plan.

Audrey Neuharth-Ponaski said she favors diagonal parking wherever it seems feasible. She noted there are spots in Bigfork that offer either angle or parallel parking. She described being “very supportive” of the idea.

Pam Carbonari, executive director for both the Kalispell Business Improvement District and Kalispell Downtown Association and a former mayor, also said she supports the plan. She noted that creating angle parking would simply require painting some new road markings that could be easily removed if the diagonal approach bombs.

One conversion would occur along a portion of Fifth Street West, between First Avenue West and Main Street, and the other along part of Third Street East, between Second Avenue East and Third Avenue East.

The city said potential locations for parking conversions were analyzed by its public works engineering staff and these two sites emerged as viable possibilities.

A 2001 study by the Oregon Department of Transportation concluded that while diagonal parking might be less safe than parallel parking, the angle alternative provides more parking spaces and requires less time for drivers to position vehicles.

Council took no action Monday about the proposed parking changes.

But council members did cast votes related to whether the developer of the proposed Eagle Valley Ranch would receive the city’s blessing to change the designation of a portion of the 99-acre development from suburban residential to urban mixed use.

As proposed, Eagle Valley Ranch would feature 225 residential lots, 12 mixed-use office/residential lots and an apartment complex. The developer is Spartan Holdings LLC.

There was little discussion, with the council voting unanimously for resolutions and an ordinance that set the stage for Eagle Valley Ranch to receive the mixed-use designation for about 41 acres.

During a related public hearing held Sept. 17, two residents of Rose Crossing and vicinity expressed concerns that the development would add more traffic to Rose Crossing, which they said is already beset by the passage of too many vehicles.

No one expressed those concerns Monday night, but Rose Crossing resident Debbie Street said later that family demands kept her from attending the meeting.

Street has called on the city and Flathead County to coordinate a traffic study and plan for Rose Crossing as development in the area and other factors seem destined, she said, to add many thousands of vehicle trips to the once-rural road.

She emphasized that she is a real estate broker and developer and is not opposed to Eagle Valley Ranch.

Reporter Duncan Adams may be reached at 758-4407 or dadams@dailyinterlake.com.

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