by: Jonathan House, City officials might drop a two-hour limit on five downtown parking lots.

Beaverton's Traffic Commission could decide tonight to drop the two-hour limit on a smattering of city parking lots.

The decision would affect five small city lots with 153 parking spaces.

Commission members meet at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive. The two-hour limit change is one of two public hearings on the agenda.

For about two decades, the city has imposed a two-hour limit on most of its downtown parking lots, and required parking permits for some areas where employees of local businesses park all day on city streets.

City officials were mostly worried that commuters would fill up downtown streets and parking lots, leaving no place for customers of downtown businesses to park.

The idea of dropping the limit has some detractors. Jason Barker of Fresh Start Detail Co. on Southwest Broadway wrote in an Aug. 24 letter to the commission that the decision would be a disaster for downtown's small businesses that depend on easy parking for customers.

'If the limit is removed, then the lots will become choked with long-term parkers, forcing customers to search for parking further away, or worse, they will take their business elsewhere,' Barker wrote.

Traffic commissioners first discussed the possible change in June when they received a letter from Jay Stanich of the Beaverton Post Office asking that the city lift the two-hour limit on parking lots near the post office so nearly five dozen employees wouldn't have to park so far away.

Commissioners were skeptical of the request, but decided to consider dropping the limit on the city's five lots.

In July, they discussed a similar issue of parking permits for some downtown streets for employees of local businesses.

Changing the parking limit would require approval by the Traffic Commission and the City Council.

If the plan is adopted, the limit would be dropped from downtown parking lots:

-- Chapman Avenue (27 spaces)

-- Betts Avenue and Farmington Road (35 spaces)

-- Angel Avenue and Farmington Road (27 spaces)

-- Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway between Broadway and Lombard Avenue (36 spaces)

-- Broadway and Canyon Road (28 spaces).

An informal survey of the lots between July 31 and Aug. 4, found that most were not full during the day.

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