To the editor:
Through social media, Whitney Davis-Moulden, a Democratic candidate for the House 41st District, has asked for “someone to please explain to me” how a covered car parked on 5th Street in downtown Leavenworth is allowed to remain parked on the street daily during business hours. My intent here is not to argue for or against parking arrangements downtown, but rather to point out a few facts.
Parking is a non-issue as far as the city is concerned. Downtown parking was addressed by Leavenworth Main Street representatives and downtown merchants before a Leavenworth City Commission study session March 19, 2019. The video is on YouTube with the related segment beginning at 57:31. As a downtown merchant, I attended and spoke before the commission, addressing an issue with an obvious abandoned car in the 300 block of Delaware that sat for nearly a month with its windows down. I photographed it with snow in the cabin. I was also advocating the reinstatement of a parking enforcement officer position.
The biggest problem with on-street parking is in the 400 and 500 blocks of Delaware, where my store is located. The commissioners did address the issue with a follow-up study session by observing available parking at select times and days. Their conclusion, even though codes exist on the books, was that extended parking was found not a serious issue. They decided the policy of not enforcing parking time limits would continue. This conclusion seemed to be supported by Chief Kitchens, who in the video argued against enforcement because additional time and budget constraints would be placed on officers and the department.
The Moulden family owns several properties and operates a business on the 400 block of Delaware.
Two of their properties have loft residents and a merchant who contributes between two and five cars daily to the on-street parking shortage during business hours. This has been going on for about five years. To be completely transparent, they are not the only merchants who park on this block. Even though I have private parking behind my building, I too utilize on-street parking and sometimes do so all day.
I have no issue with my neighbors or anyone else parking on the street for any duration of time as long as they have a legitimate reason to be there such as living, working or shopping. If parking is a true downtown issue, Ms. Moulden should form a coalition of concerned citizens and business owners to re-address the issue before the commission.