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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Everett Street Corridor plans raise concerns over parking in Camas

The project could take decades to complete

By Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: April 27, 2024, 6:12am

CAMAS — The Everett Street Corridor improvement project will eventually create a multimodal traffic corridor and improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. But parking remains a concern.

This month, the Camas City Council approved $1.6 million to begin preliminary engineering design for a segment of Northeast Everett Street spanning from Northeast 35th Avenue to 43rd Avenue.

But the topic of parking continues to crop up in discussions of changes to the 1.5-mile, two-lane section of state Highway 500 from the Lake Road-Everett Street roundabout to the city’s northern limits near Northeast Third Street.

The corridor connects much of Camas to recreational points along Lacamas and Round lakes, and leads to the city’s North Shore area, Camas High School and a cluster of small businesses between Northeast 35th and Northeast 38th avenues.

The current design calls for two 14-foot traffic lanes, and 10-foot shared-use paths, separated by two 4.5-foot planter strips. The plan also calls for five roundabouts along the corridor to help guide traffic coming onto Everett. The roundabouts also provide a place for people to turn around because the planned configuration between 35th and 43rd will not allow left-hand turns.

But it may not be enough to satisfy some community members.

“We have heard that we need additional parking,” Public Works Director Steve Wall told the council April 15.

Councilman John Svilarich asked how much parking the road improvements will take away.

“There are some spots along the road currently where folks park their vehicles, but I don’t have a number,” Engineering Manager James Carothers said, adding that the narrow area along Everett Street where many lake-goers park will definitely be impacted.

“There is that little bit of city right-of-way on Everett north of the bridge … that will be impacted because access will be different,” Wall said. He added that some business owners had been using city property for private parking and may not have realized it until the Everett Street Corridor meetings and open houses.

Councilman John Nohr said the lakes draw people and parking is already a problem during the summer.

“People come here for recreation opportunities,” Nohr said. “We know people are going to come. They’re going to park on people’s lawns, and we should at least come up with some sort of plan.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Senescu disagreed.

“I feel like, with the improvements we’re making, this will be walkable and accessible by bike and will be a lot more accessible than it is now,” Senescu said. “This may take away some parking spots, but there will be more access for walking and biking.”

Mayor Steve Hogan asked about the possibility of partnering with Clark County, which oversees the parking off Northeast 35th Avenue.

Wall said there was potential to work with the county to improve the lot with better lighting and access and even to expand it.

The entire project will cost $45 million to $60 million. City staff are still seeking funding sources for the project, and Wall warned it could take two to three decades to finalize.

“We’re looking for construction dollars,” he said.

Wall said the city started the project in 2023 but between design and permitting, construction may not start until as late as 2030.

To learn more about the Everett Street Corridor project, visit engagecamas.com/everett-street-corridor-analysis.

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