Parking permit prices for some City lots and garages will decrease, while the cost for more heavily used parking lots will increase, according to parking rate changes finalized by the Bellingham City Council at its Dec. 12 meeting.
The City Council approved changes to the prices of some parking permits, to adjust to the use and demand following paid parking changes that were approved by Council last Spring. Changes approved in the Council meeting will affect only City parking lots and garages in downtown Bellingham.
These permit changes align with the previously approved parking meter fee increase for downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven that will begin Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in downtown and Fairhaven. Meter parking will start at $1.50/hour and increase progressively after two hours. The changes approved by Council on Dec. 12 will take effect Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.
“These changes are being made in downtown Bellingham to reflect the feedback and usage we have seen over the last six months,” said Carol Rofkar, superintendent of traffic for Bellingham Public Works. “These changes are strategic; they are designed to support our downtown businesses, customers and residents by making parking more affordable for employees and residents and opening more spaces for short-term parking.”
Rofkar said the changes are to ensure the City charges the right price at the right time and is part of an ongoing process to “implement, measure and adjust” parking, based on best industry standard parking management strategy. The McKenzie lot is Fairhaven is currently used effectively, so there is no need to change price or practice there.
Earlier this year, Council approved a new parking fee structure for metered spaces in downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven. Those changes included a price increase, changes to hours of enforcement and the introduction of paid parking in the Fairhaven business district.
The Council-approved paid parking changes set to take effect on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, include:
- Decreased cost of Commercial Street Garage monthly permit for floors 2-5 from $70 to $30, with permit required to park from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday;
- Decreased permit price for North Railroad Avenue (1500 block) parking from $45 to $25 per month, with permit required at all times;
- Increased parking permit cost for Railroad Ave Garage (1215 Railroad) from $70 to $80 per month on floor two and from $95 to $105 monthly at the street level;
- Increased Central Avenue Lot (near Prospect Street post office) from $65 to $75 monthly, with permits required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Parking garages and off-street lots with limited permit parking are available for residents, employees and others seeking longer-term parking. Reduced permit rates may be available for certain low-income individuals. For information on off-street, city-owned parking lots or longer-term parking permits, visit cob.org/parking-permits.
Funds raised through parking fees are used to help pay for cleaning, landscaping, graffiti removal and support for the Downtown Business Partnership and the Fairhaven Merchants Association. City parking facilities maintenance and operations are also supported with parking fees.
For more information on the pending changes, visit cob.org/parking.