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Parking options unveiled

Click here to see before and after pictures of how Port Orchard could solve its parking needs.

At a meeting on Wednesday night about downtown parking hosted by Public Works and Art Anderson Associates, Port Orchard residents got their first glimpse of what Bay Street could look like once development begins.

Following a study of possible build-out of downtown — based on four-story buildings with no setbacks or other limitations — the consulting company determined that Port Orchard would need 1,127 parking spaces to accommodate the increase in residents and consumers.

In response to this need, the city’s Public Works Department and Art Anderson Associates presented six different locations for parking spaces, and digital renderings of what those parking spaces could look like.

Four of the renderings show a parking lot hidden behind a “donut” of mixed-use developments.

Another is an unhidden parking lot on the east end of Bay Street, and the final location is a parking structure proposed at the gazebo on the waterfront, with a new larger park being built on top.

The presentation concerned some residents, who were confused about what it could mean for Bay Street.

Port Orchard resident Kathy Michael said the conversation becomes an emotional issue, especially when confronted with the possibility of 1,127 new parking spaces.

“This vision does not meet the reason we moved to Port Orchard,” she said. “There are a whole lot of us who don’t want this city to become this. If we wanted to live in a town with 1,127 parking spaces, that’s where we could have gone.”

Public Works Director Maher Abed said the presentation is about preparing for Bay Street’s future, and that the renderings and suggestions are not set-in-stone plans.

The city is just trying to be ready for new development.

“We’re taking the lead because we know there is a problem downtown that we’re trying to resolve,” he said. “The only thing we’re trying to do is look where the logical place to do parking is.”

Mayor Kim Abel pointed out that specifications in the Downtown Overlay District require parking provisions, but do not require those provisions be kept on the individual property, helping developments keep the first floors open to businesses instead of parking.

The digital renderings only reflect possible situations, she said.

The conversation is meant to guide future developments by determining where parking should go. The digital renderings and other data are meant to help inform what the location is capable of holding.

What ends up being built, who pays for it and when it happens is all in the future, Abed said.

Listed below are the six proposals:

• Parking Site 1, located at Bay, Sidney and Harrison, could house a parking structure behind an outer “donut” of mixed-use buildings, and could accomodate 370 to 450 cars.

It has close access to Bay Street, but could face difficulties with property acquisition and construction given its proximity to the waterfront and the surrounding properties.

• Parking Site 2, located on the south side of Bay Street, across from The Candy Shoppe and Amy’s on the Bay, could house a three-level complex holding 290 to 350 cars.

The location has a number of difficulties, such as being a possible view-blocker, and the most feasible entrance would spill out directly onto Bay Street, which is not allowed in the current Downtown Overlay District plan.

• Parking Site 3, located at Prospect, Kitsap and Sidney, is very close to downtown, just behind the buildings south of Bay Street. It could have a walkway from Prospect to Bay Street.

With two levels it could hold around 300 cars, or with an additional underground level it could hold 450.

• Parking Site 4, located at Bay, Kitsap and Cline, about a block southwest of City Hall, could also be hidden behind a “donut” of mixed-use buildings, and hold more than 300 cars. It has easy access points in multiple directions, but is farther away from the downtown core for pedestrian shoppers.

• Parking Site 5, located at Bay, Port Orchard and Dekalb, is similar to Site 4, but another block southwest of City Hall. It could also be housed within a “donut” of mixed-use developments.

It is outside of the currently proposed Downtown Overlay District.

• Parking Site 6, located at Bay and Harrison on the waterfront, involves building a parking lot at the current waterfront park, and rebuilding a park on top.

The structure would create more park space above, but only hold around 130 cars.

Those present at Wednesday’s meeting were given surveys about the six possibilities, and Abed said other residents are welcome to offer input on the discussion.

For more information, visit http://www.cityofportorchard.us or call Public Works at (360) 876-4991.

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