SEASIDE - An update on continuing efforts to deal with traffic, parking and downtown ambiance highlighted an annual review by Seaside Downtown Development Association.

At a meeting last week, association members took stock of where they are and where they hope to go on a variety of projects as they prepare for a retreat Oct. 22, said Dolna Mespelt, the association's administrative officer.

The group's streetcar committee confirmed a revised schedule, effective Tuesday, for the city's colorful circulating downtown bus decorated like an old fashioned streetcar. The streetcar will continue to operate on Fridays and Saturdays, while the Sunset Empire Transportation District has agreed to provide a regular bus to circulate Mondays through Thursdays, Mespelt said.

The arrangement will allow the streetcar to remain visible outside the peak summer season, at least by the relatively higher volume of visitors during weekends, Mespelt said. Fares also will be reduced to 75 cents Tuesday.

The streetcar was purchased last year in a partnership with the transportation district, using a $125,000 federal grant and a Northwest Economic Alliance grant of $12,000. It is available for rental for $75 an hour, which the Seaside Chamber of Commerce has used for holiday lighting tours.

"We're proud to see the streetcar up and running, thrilled to offer it," Mespelt said.

The association's transportation committee, headed by Wayne Poole, has made progress trying to deal with a shortage of parking. After working with the city to reconfigure spaces near the Seaside Civic and Convention Center to better accommodate buses, the committee worked with the city and the district to develop a shuttle program this summer, reinvigorated dialogue about a parking structure, and is looking at ways to better use the Seaside Airport, Mespelt said.

A committee headed by Julie Jesse will explore an expanded winter lighting program as a counterpart to the summer flower basket program under George Tipton, Mespelt said. The lights are expected to be a departure from the past, she added.

Based on the positive response this year, the beach run in July eventually may prove to be as big as the popular "Hot Rod Happenin'" hosted every summer by the SDDA, she said.

The appointment of officers also occurred at the meeting. Keith Chandler was re-elected as president, Terry Lowenberg as secretary, and Mary Jean Walker as treasurer. Other elected or re-elected board members include Bob Johnson, Mike Exinger, Linda Poole and Gary Diebolt as well as Jesse and Tipton.

Awards were presented to SDDA members including Diebolt for heading the Hot Rod Happenin' committee, Cheryle Barker for voluntering, and Doug Wiese for attracting a Harley-Davidson Owners Group event.

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