Responding to objections from business owners and others, the City Council rejected an advisory committee's proposal to charge $1 an hour to park at the Marina Park and Central Way-Lake Street lots.

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Daytime parking in two city-owned lots in downtown Kirkland will remain free.

Responding to objections from business owners and others, the City Council this week rejected an advisory committee’s proposal to charge $1 an hour to park at the Marina Park and Central Way-Lake Street lots.

The council ordered “No Employee Parking” signs and more vigorous enforcement of time limits for free parking, and asked staff to prepare an ordinance aimed at preventing workers at downtown businesses from parking in lots that customers rely on.

The city will continue to provide free all-day parking for employees in a garage beneath the Kirkland Library and will continue to charge $1 an hour for parking between 5 and 9 p.m. in the Marina Park and Central-Lake lots.

The Parking Advisory Board had recommended a number of measures, including paid daytime parking, to make rules less confusing and help shoppers and diners find spaces during busy lunchtime and afternoon hours.

The proposal to end free daytime parking prompted a backlash from downtown businesses. Former City Councilmember Jessica Greenway surveyed 20 owners or managers, and reported objections such as, “I feel like I am fighting the economy, fighting competition from Bellevue and fighting Kirkland City Hall.”

Council members dropped the paid-parking proposal Tuesday on a voice vote without opposition.

Mayor Joan McBride, who initially supported paid daytime parking, said Friday she felt it made sense to defer to opponents “if it’s not broken and it hasn’t caused huge amounts of problems.”

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com