Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Amy Cloud

A package of parking changes approved by the Bellingham City Council earlier this year takes effect on May 1, 2022, in downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven. The changes include a price increase and the introduction of paid parking in the Fairhaven business district.

Beginning May 1, the cost to park in designated areas downtown and in the Fairhaven business district will be $1 per hour.  This is new for Fairhaven and an increase of 25-cents per hour for downtown.  Additionally, parking enforcement hours will shift to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. These are some of several changes Bellingham City Council approved earlier this year.

Paid parking changes set to take effect on May 1:

  • Addition of paid and permit parking in the Fairhaven business district;
  • Increased price to park from 75-cents to $1 per hour, with the price-per-hour increasing for longer stays in both Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham;
  • Parking enforcement shifts to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday;
  • Cost of expired meter fines increase to $30, to appropriately cover administrative costs and discourage the misuse of paid parking.

“Parking management is essential to support businesses and promote a vibrant economy,” said Eric Johnston, Bellingham Public Works director. “Nobody likes to pay for parking.  Charging the right price at the right time is necessary to ensure turnover and access to the finite supply of on-street parking supporting local businesses.”

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 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.

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