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Grove Street businesses complain about plans to scrap parking

MARYSVILLE Plans to ban street parking on a main city thoroughfare have some downtown businesses upset.
Owners of several professional offices on or near Grove Street are complaining about tentative plans to stripe the newly-paved thoroughfare with a configuration that would include a center turn lane, one lane for both eastbound and westbound traffic, and bicycle lanes on either side.
Thats the configuration the city code currently stipulates for the 1.8 mile stretch from State Avenue to 67th Avenue, and city traffic engineers say it will be safer for drivers, with improved sightlines for people pulling out into traffic. A short section near the Marysville Library has been that way for some time and has seen fewer accidents since then.
But some are questioning the need for the change and complaining about the short notice from the citys public works department, which may institute the changes within a month, depending on the weather.
Serban Olaru has owned the Defined Dental Clinic at Grove and 51st Avenue for almost three years and he said he would have appreciated more notice from Marysville and more information to support making the change. A town meeting, a poll of local residents, something that would have included the community in the decision is what he would have expected. Instead they just got a letter from the city addressed to occupant or business owner explaining how the changes would be made.
It probably would have been a different impact, Olaru said.
Many small businesses on Grove Street have only a couple of parking spots on their property, mostly small firms on the west end of town, where the Marysville Care Center and some law offices are clustered around the Public Safety Building at Columbia Street.
We just cant believe it here, said attorney Gary Baker.
The problem is that many of the lots in that area are small, he said. Bakers has only three parking stalls, for an office with three independent lawyers and their professional staff.
Its unfortunate that these steps are being taken without consultation of the people, Baker said.
He would like to see parking ban put on hold until the City Council can evaluate the process. The plan to enforce what is current city law came at the suggestion of Councilwoman Donna Wright, who liked the clear sightlines she enjoyed with the interim striping that is in place now. City Engineer Kevin Nielsen predicted a fuss from businesses on the street and has met with at least one large employer to assess the impact and suggest ways to mitigate problems.
For Olaru, thats not enough.
His office wont be impacted as much as Bakers and some others, and if he has to walk a little further to work, he can live with that in the short term, but he has put in a lot of effort to build his clinic clientele and doesnt want to have to deal with parking hassles for his customers. In particular, he questions the need for two bicycle lanes on what the city calls a minor arterial, and would like to know what engineering data the city has to support the change.
For all I know it could be only one biker who could inconvenience the entire arterial, Olaru said. It will be nice if there is a need for this measure, for us to see it. We feel we were not shown the need for this.
The letter from associate transportation engineer Jeff Laycock said the growth of traffic on Grove is causing backups as people wait for cars to make left turns. The re-channelization is part of long-term plans, Laycock wrote.

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