Changes Proposed for Bellingham Parking

Public invited to comment on locations, enforcement hours, price increases

Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Amy Cloud

The community is invited to learn about, and comment on, proposals developed to update Bellingham’s parking policies that are designed to reflect current needs and use.  Opportunities to learn more and comment include participating in a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 25, as well as providing feedback via Engage Bellingham.

Public Works crews install solar-powered parking meters in January 2020. Photo courtesy City of Bellingham

Using several years of work by the Fairhaven Parking Task Force and other community feedback, Public Works Director Eric Johnston will present several proposed parking changes during a City Council public hearing Oct. 25. Further City Council discussion and action are anticipated in November.

Members of the public are invited to comment on any of these proposed changes:

  • Adding paid and permit parking in the Fairhaven business district;
  • Increasing the price to park from 75-cents to $1.50 per hour, with the price per hour increasing for longer stays in both Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham;
  • Parking enforcement shifting (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and adding Saturday enforcement, to reflect the time parking is in greatest demand;
  • Increasing the cost of expired meter fines to $41, and other parking infractions increasing to $60 to appropriately cover administrative costs and discourage the misuse of paid parking.

As Bellingham grows, parking management is essential to support businesses and support a vibrant economy. Paid parking and time limits encourage parking turn-over, which allows more access for more visitors to Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham.  Meanwhile, parking garages and lots with permit parking are available, at a significantly reduced rate, for employees and others seeking longer-term parking.

Funds raised through parking fees are used to pay for cleaning, landscaping, graffiti removal and economic development, as well as for downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven organizations and City parking facilities maintenance and operations.

To provide testimony in advance of the Oct. 25 public hearing on the proposed parking changes, residents may phone (360/778-8200), mail (to 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham WA 98225) or visit https://cob.org/ccsignup. All comments will be distributed to City Council members. To comment during the Council meeting Oct. 25, visit https://cob.org/cczoom. To see the meeting agenda, visit meeting.cob.org

Other ways to provide feedback include emailing AskPW@cob.org, visiting Engage Bellingham or commenting during a City Council public comment session. For more information on proposed parking changes, visit cob.org/parking.

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