Restaurant owner Michelle Preciado knows convenience is key to drawing in new customers.
In the two months since opening The Flavorful Dish in downtown Pasco, she’s taken a number of complaints from people who don’t know where to park.
The restaurant sits on the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Sylvester Street, at the ground level of the Sacajawea Apartments.
The landlord has given permission for people to use the parking lot behind the six-story complex, but Preciado said new customers can be scared off by a sign that says cars will be towed without a permit.
And the four parallel spots next to the building on Sylvester often are occupied by long-term parkers, even though it is a designated 2-hour limit.
“When it boils down to it, people’s nature is the convenience,” said Preciado. “I may really like a place but if it’s too difficult to get to, unless I’m really craving it, I won’t deal with it.”
The Preciados are grateful that Pasco city officials noticed the problem and have quickly moved to resolve it.
The addition of four parallel parking spots on Fourth in front of the building are just some of the changes coming this summer to the main thoroughfare.
When it boils down to it, people’s nature is the convenience. I may really like a place but if it’s too difficult to get to, unless I’m really craving it, I won’t deal with it.
Michelle Preciado, Pasco restaurant owner
City crews will be adding a total of 26 parking spots in downtown, along with a designated bike lane that’s intended to connect the riverfront trail to the downtown core.
Crews already have marked with spray paint where the parking places will go outside the Sacajawea Apartments. Currently, it is a no-parking zone with the northbound traffic lane extending to the curb.
The southbound dedicated left-turn lane will be removed to make room for the parking, said City Engineer Dan Ford.
The Pasco City Council unanimously voted to allow 30-minute parking in that area.
Councilman Saul Martinez said that should allow customers to run in and grab a sandwich without needing to keep an eye out the window for fear of getting a ticket.
Preciado said it shows that Pasco officials want to create a successful business environment and care about the customers. “It just really blesses us,” she said.
Parking spaces also will be painted on both sides of Fourth, between Sylvester and Shoshone Street. Those will be two-hour spots that will require crews to modify the road striping, but won’t take away from the two traffic lanes in each direction, Ford said.
Farther down Fourth, city crews will add a bike lane to the east side of the street for several blocks.
The new bike lane will extend from 500 feet south of Columbia Street, near the railroad tracks, to the bend just south of B Street, where the road widens before going under the Charles D. Kilbury overpass at Ainsworth Street.
That means some designated parking areas will be removed from the east side of Fourth in that stretch, with parking only allowed on the west side of the street.
“We wanted to try to provide as clear a safe (bike) path as we could,” said Ford. He noted that the city has been working with some groups to make Pasco more bike friendly.