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Businesses Want 15-Minute Parking, Jewett Crosswalk

To accommodate customers

Several businesses on the north side of Jewett Boulevard in White Salmon's downtown business district want to see some alterations in the way people park.

In a Sept. 21 letter from three businesses -- Postal Connections, Ground Cafe, and Miller Sports -- merchants called for the placement of three 15-minute parking spaces going west along Jewett from the Church Street alley, which would place them in front of where the former Elkhorn Tavern was located.

Also requested in the letter was a crosswalk going across Jewett from the western side of Church Street.

The letter explained the reasons for the request from the perspective of the three business owners.

"Postal Connections will have foot traffic carrying large packages ... and close short-term parking would be highly desirable and support safety," the letter read. "In addition, if the parking on the north side of Jewett is full, they will have to park on the south side and cross the street ... A portion of Ground Cafe's customer base stops for quick pickups of coffee and orders to go. Since the opening, there has been a tremendous amount of patrons parking on the south side of Jewett and crossing the street to access the business ... Miller Sports & Liquor also has patrons that run in and have quick purchases. They also park on the south side of Jewett and cross the street ..."

The applicants suggested that the 15-minute limit would need to be in effect only from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The letter was signed by the three business owners: Celynn VanDeventer (Postal Connections), Kara Polintan (Ground), and Roger Miller (Miller Sports), as well as the building owners, Greg Boudreau and David Crumpacker.

The White Salmon City Council took up the request at its Oct. 4 meeting, but the conversation was relatively short.

Wil Keyser, director of the city's Public Works Department, advised the council of the request from the business owners and indicated the city was open to the concept.

"I personally don't have a problem with it, but I'm not a downtown merchant," Keyser said.

Council member Timi Keene questioned how the parking restrictions would be implemented.

"We can't enforce the existing parking restrictions we have now, how will we enforce this?" Keene asked.

She then suggested that the proposal go first to the council's street committee for review rather than be voted on that evening.

"I request that this be deferred to the street committee, with input from the police committee," Keene said.

Council member Richard Marx, who serves on the city's street committee, said he also wanted more time to consider the proposal.

"This is the first time it has been on the agenda, and the first I've heard of it," Marx said.

After the meeting, Keene said she hoped downtown merchants would come to a consensus about the proposed changes and advise the street committee and the council members how they want the city to proceed.

"I hope the other downtown businesses are consulted for their input," Keene said.

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