JUNCTION PARKING: ‘Free’ lot tax-bill update; SDOT briefing Thursday

Two notes about West Seattle Junction parking, starting with an update on the “free” lots:

(Aerial view of The Junction and its lots, photographed by Long Bach Nguyen)

‘FREE’ LOTS’ TAX SITUATION: We first told you in early March about a dilemma facing the West Seattle Junction Association in its continuing rental of the lots where WSJA provides free parking. In short, WSJA was facing paying an almost-doubled tax bill, because its lease with Trusteed Properties, which owns the lots, passes the tax cost entirely on to WSJA in its rent. So a case was being made to the King County Assessor’s Office to lower the rate, at least for the near future. WSJA executive director Lora Swift tells WSB that the assessor will recommend to the county Board of Equalization that the bill be lowered – at least for this tax year and next. It’s not final yet, and it would still mean a higher tax bill for The Junction, which will have to fundraise to cover the added cost – details to come on how you can help – but, as Swift puts it, the break will be “just enough to give us a breather” and plan for the future.

JuNO TALKS PARKING THURSDAY: Completely separate from the privately owned “free” lots, the status of street parking in The Junction is on the agenda for the Junction Neighborhood Organization this Thursday (April 26th), 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon). This is a followup to the briefing that SDOT presented to WSJA two months ago (WSB coverage here), at which time SDOT reps said this briefing would also include an update on the status of a potential RPZ in some Junction-area neighborhoods. See JuNO’s agenda preview in our calendar listing.

27 Replies to "JUNCTION PARKING: 'Free' lot tax-bill update; SDOT briefing Thursday"

  • Gatewood April 24, 2018 (4:29 pm)

    Thank you Lora Swift and WSJA for protecting and fighting for the parking.  I know some people believe it isn’t needed but I promise you a lot a seniors and folks with disabilities need these lots.  Also, needing to haul around two small kids requiring carseats these lots are a blessing to trying to go out in the junction to shop and eat!  

    • fiz April 24, 2018 (7:34 pm)

      Yes!

  • Chris April 24, 2018 (6:55 pm)

    Agree with Gatewood!!!!!!!!!   Wholeheartedly.

  • Rick April 24, 2018 (6:56 pm)

    I remember owing a business in the Junction in the late 70’s to early 90’s and paying a voluntary fee for the lots until it was converted to a city tax where it became mandatory.  And then an apartment building was built on one of them. And now they’re for sale. Again. Trusteed Properties indeed!

  • NW April 24, 2018 (8:37 pm)

    When I go to the junction it’s by walking bicycle or bus when I am driving I use street parking I don’t shop much really to speak of at any of the shops in the junction so I do not use the “free parking lot”. 

  • 1994 April 24, 2018 (9:41 pm)

    I appreciate the parking lots.  West Seattle Junction Association is looking out for their customers – thank you to the business owners!

  • heartless April 24, 2018 (10:24 pm)

    So just to be clear (and a bit surly, I admit), the city of Seattle is (effectively) paying money so that we can keep these parking lots?

    Where are the anti-socialist anti-tax outcries?!?  Where are the fervent and impassioned and often misspelled pleas for fiscal accountability?!  Oh, right, they are absent.   Because cars.  Carry on.

    Good night!

  • Jack sparra April 25, 2018 (9:31 am)

    Yes, thank you for the rational, family, elderly, non-millennial approach to accessing all the Junction has to offer! It’s not just for the kids paying $2k for 600 sq ft. at the Whittaker type properties.

  • Franci April 25, 2018 (10:43 am)

    I too appreciate the Junction parking.  It makes it feasible to do quick errands on the way home from work and/or enjoy a nice dinner now and then at one of the lovely restaurants in the area.

  • Steve April 25, 2018 (10:50 am)

    The property taxes are increasing because the land has become more valuable. Those lots could house hundreds of people in apartment buildings, with a dozen new Junction businesses on the ground floors. Instead the land is being wasted to subsidize the storage of machines that pump harmful fumes into our lungs and environment.  With light rail coming to the junction, it is only a matter of time before this land being used as a surface parking lot will become worth too much to continue being used in this way. Do we want people coming to the Junction for the businesses and the people, or the seas of asphalt?

    Perhaps for the next few years end users (drivers) can start paying a portion of their own hourly car storage, with the Junction businesses paying the same amount they’ve been used to paying. In 5-10 years, once property prices double again, the owners of the land can apply for permits to start building a new multi-use building at the Junction!

    • KM April 25, 2018 (12:14 pm)

      I’m with you, and I use these lots 3-4 times a week when I drive my personal vehicle (I know, I’m working on it).

      This land could be housing, and we should be paying to park. Meanwhile, if they owners are going to hang onto the parking, what better way to “fundraise” for the tax increase that have those of us who use it…pay to use it?

  • Jack sparra April 25, 2018 (11:31 am)

    Let’s all get horses or jet packs with ? kind of energy then we’ll need barns or storage lockers. Until we have REAL transportation options for family units greater than 1, we need to park, OR we just bail on accessing the junction and they can tailor to those singles out there. Too bad for us families who enjoy a Husky Ice Cream after kids games I guess Steve.  

    • Steve April 25, 2018 (12:22 pm)

      Husky Deli is redeveloping its own building into a multi-use building, so I hope you’re ready for them to close for construction in the next few years. I’ll miss the smell of the waffle cones!

      Cars aren’t the only way to get kids around. I see a lot of families riding bikes together and taking the bus together. Not many people do this right now in West Seattle because proposed bike lanes (35th, Fauntleroy, etc) always result in overflowing inboxes at SDOT with people ‘concerned’ about losing free parking and the ability to go fast on residential roads.

      If you go to the Burke Gilman, Ship Canal Trail, Elliott Bay Trail, Westlake Bike Track, etc during rush hour you will see a lot of parents transporting kids by bicycle, and kids themselves riding bikes. They use these very safe pieces of infrastructure when they are available, but if they aren’t available you won’t see people getting around by bike.

      If there were a trail of the caliber of the Burke Gilman to ride from your house, to the playfield, to Husky Deli, surely you would be more likely to bike, or your neighbors would at least. Until we have proper bike infrastructure, people will continue to use cars because that’s the infrastructure we make the most convenient. Why should we make such a wasteful mode of transport so convenient? Highways have ripped gashes through our cities, I don’t know what the big deal is about changing a few streets/alleys/lanes into safe places for kids and adults alike to ride and walk.

  • Jack sparra April 25, 2018 (2:20 pm)

    Steve, you are naive

  • Wseattleite April 25, 2018 (2:51 pm)

    Steve,  I see how you have turned a conversation about parking into a banner for biking.  Nicely done as I am sure that is your intention.  I am a biker.  I enjoy biking.  I would love to see better biking trails around West Seattle.  Your sanctimonious moral superiority attitude even turns me off.  It is very entitled to wish to force everyone else the lifestyle you enjoy, even though their physical ability, family life, budget, etc etc. would absolutely prohibit it.  Please quit representing those of us who love biking and also can empathize with others and their challenges. 

    • Steve April 25, 2018 (3:42 pm)

      Thanks for responding. You can’t talk about parking without talking
      about transportation and land use. People’s concern about losing parking
      is that they won’t be able to go where they like going. That’s the
      issue, right? I am just proposing different ways of solving that
      problem. I understand not everyone can cycle, but no one is even going
      to try if it isn’t a safe option. You don’t have to cycle, but those who
      want to should be given the option. You can still drive, and there may
      be more parking spots available because driving will no longer be the sole way to
      get to the Junction. Have a good day.

      • JanS April 25, 2018 (6:18 pm)

        ohhferfuxache, Steve…we can’t all ride a damned bike…some of us are older than you. 71 here…viable, even if disabled. It used to be an invisible disability, now it’s not. Still the same. We aren’t (thankfully) all you. You need a better attitude towards  your fellow man/woman, I’m thinking.  You don’t have to drive, but those who want to should be given the option. You can still bike, and there may be more bike parking spots available because…well…because this city has embraced biking and bikers, and, as you do, bad mouth anyone who doesn’t join in.. Grow up.

        • heartless April 25, 2018 (7:09 pm)

          Jans–

          My mother was born in 1942, lives in Delridge, doesn’t have a car.  Gets around just fine.

          I find your comment offensively ageist–simply being old doesn’t dictate who can or can’t walk, bike, or take a bus.

          • Wseattleite April 25, 2018 (10:18 pm)

            Heartless, one chooses to be offended, which you are exercising your right to do so.  Thank you for the information on your apparent good genes and fortunate living situation that you and your kin enjoy.  I will caution however, that not everyone is you, and not everyone is in you and yours’ situation.  Continue to feel offended if you must, but when publicly displayed you may be called out for you and your families privaledged status in life and your lack of empathy for others not like you.   

        • Nigel April 26, 2018 (6:13 am)

          Dear Jan, you start your comment with “ohhferfuxache” and end it with “Grow up” and in between you tell others “You need a better attitude towards  your fellow man/woman…” Seriously?!? Good example of what you want to see in others.

      • Wseattleite April 25, 2018 (10:35 pm)

        Steve, thank you for pointing out that soon “someday” driving will no longer be the sole and only way to get to the junction. I had forgotten that when I bike, jog, and skateboard to the junction.  If anyone else thinks that driving is the “sole” way to get to the junction, I would advise that there are other alternatives already available.  

  • Matt Hutchins April 25, 2018 (9:48 pm)

    From the original article, it’s clear there is enough parking:  

    As for where the drivers are parking – it’s not hard to get a space most of the time, the survey showed.

    For drivers, “slightly more than half reported parking 0-1 blocks from their destination.” Visitors from outside West Seattle heavily use the 3-hour free Junction lots. 

    Results: In the commercial area, parking is readily available before 5 pm; occupancy peaks 6-7 pm.

    In the larger residential areas, occupancy hovers around 50 percent, with some higher usage on blocks closest to junction – some streets might qualify, he said, so there will be more conversations with JuNO.

    Public paid offstreet parking peaks at around 50 percent utilized. The Junction’s free lots approach full in evenings. Weekday on-street parking occupancy commercial areas is close to the city’s definition of ideal – 70 to 85 percent occupancy, 1 to 2 spaces open on average. Specifically, for example, they examined the duration for weekday on-street parking – almost all the spaces were time-limited: “Turnover frankly was really great … we counted 3,271 vehicles in 706 spaces, almost 60 percent under 1 hour, 80 percent under 2 hours.”

  • Jack sparra April 26, 2018 (7:27 am)

    Westseattlite – you’re key term is “I”. You are missing the “we” factor that is the challenge. I guess, after we saddle up our 3,5,8 years olds on bikes for church on Sunday, we need to remember to pack all our stuff for the day in their backpacks. Cause we have Church on 35th, soccer at Fairmount, then up to Junction for ice cream, back to Arbor Heights for a late dinner, or Lift with bike rack as we’ll so so exhausted. I don’t see a transportation plan out there for the logistics of “our” weekend…

    • Wseattleite April 26, 2018 (10:57 am)

      Jack Sparra,  point well taken.  Your “we” factor exemplifies the value of the parking to be able to utilize the Junction to its full potential.  Indeed, when on a skateboard, I will limit my purchases to whatever can fit in my pockets or my stomach.  If I want to utilize the Junction fully (a great evening BTW) I will drive as well.

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