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Kalispell to consider downtown angle parking

September 30, 2018

A 2001 study by the Oregon Department of Transportation described pros and cons of angle versus parallel parking.

For example, that overview concluded that while angle parking might be less safe than parallel parking, the angle alternative provides more parking spaces and requires less time for drivers to nose their vehicles to the curb.

On Monday night, the Kalispell City Council will hold a public hearing to solicit input about the city’s consideration of changing parking along two short stretches of downtown streets.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 201 First Ave. E.

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.

The Oregon study suggested that parallel parking is generally preferred for safety because drivers pulling out from angled parking spaces often have limited vision of oncoming cars.

On the other hand, parallel parking takes more time as drivers try to accomplish a sometimes daunting maneuver and this option consumes more space along curbs. In addition, drivers often exit their vehicles dangerously close to passing traffic, the study found.

In other business, the council’s agenda includes consideration of a developer’s request to amend the city’s growth policy to allow the proposed Eagle Valley Ranch a “mixed use” designation for a portion of the development.

During council’s Sept. 17 meeting, two residents who live along Rose Crossing or in its vicinity said the rural road is being overwhelmed with traffic. They expressed concerns that the sort of traffic congestion a mixed-use development could engender would make a bad situation worse.

Later, Debbie Street, a resident of Rose Crossing who is a real estate broker and developer, said she is not opposed to the Eagle Valley Ranch development. She said she wants the city and Flathead County to cooperate and do a comprehensive, long-term traffic study of the area.

The proposed mixed-use development would be along U.S. 93, south of the Ponderosa Estates residential subdivision, east of the Northern Pines Golf Course and north of the Montana National Guard facilities.

On Aug. 14, the Kalispell Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend the council amend Kalispell’s growth policy to allow the mixed-use portion of Eagle Valley Ranch.

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

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