Junction parking review update, and a call for comments


As first reported here in February, the city’s planning a formal “parking review” for the Junction area. When we covered the first briefing, the start date wasn’t set; we have since checked with Mary Catherine Snyder from the Seattle Department of Transportation, and she tells WSB the Junction parking review is scheduled to begin in September. But with the rising tide of Junction development, it’s clear that parking concerns are rising too, and fast. West Seattle Junction Association president Dave Montoure talked with WSB about that, and asked us to solicit your opinion on related issues – read on:


That’s one of many signs behind the businesses that are immediately west of where the Petco parking lot used to be. And a bit farther south, some of the pay lots are starting to show the type of rates longtime West Seattleites might never have expected to see here – up to $5:


Meantime, the Junction Association continues to provide free parking lots, marked with signs like these:


Montoure says the updates to those signs is finally under way — a graphics designer has been hired. He also wants to make sure that West Seattleites understand exactly what those lots are all about – they are owned by a holding company and have been there for half a century.


The Junction Association works with the lots’ owners to maintain them so they can continue to provide up to 3 hours’ free parking for shoppers and other visitors (by covenant, employees are not supposed to park in those lots).

Now, the questions Montoure would like you to answer — to help the Junction Association develop its position as the city parking review approaches.

-What do you think about the prospect that city street parking in The Junction might stop being free, if pay-station kiosks result from the upcoming parking review?

-How’s the Junction-provided parking in those free lots working for you? Anything you want to say about the lots themselves?

-Do you want more parking or less parking in The Junction?

-Are you worried about the parking situation as it relates to “sustainability” and other environmental concerns?

The Junction Association will read and consider all comments here as it prepares for the city’s parking review – and of course you’ll hear more about it in the months to come, too. To find out more about the type of process the city expects the parking review to follow, check out this section of the city website.

By the way, there’ve also been questions (especially from the Junction Neighborhood Organization; March coverage of a JuNO meeting discussion here) regarding whether neighborhood residential parking around The Junction will be part of this review; SDOT’s Snyder tells WSB, “We will look at the possibility of a residential parking zone around the Junction area. Whether we have enough parking information and community input to decide to install one through the parking assessment process remains to be seen, recognizing that there are likely to be many opinions on the question of putting in an RPZ.”

60 Replies to "Junction parking review update, and a call for comments"

  • saney May 29, 2008 (2:46 pm)

    if they charge for parking in the junction, won’t people just park a block away and crowd the residential areas?

  • vincent May 29, 2008 (2:51 pm)

    Move the West Seattle farmers market into the street, that way it can grow larger, and it preserves the parking spaces it currently requires.

    Dedicated areas for motorcycle parking?

    More bike racks?

  • wsblover May 29, 2008 (2:55 pm)

    Just think of how much free parking there would be on the street if people just used their driveways, (if they have them), garages, alley spots etc .. I see so many people who park on the street in front of their house when they have a drive way and or a spot in the back via the alley.

  • diane May 29, 2008 (3:07 pm)

    Parking in the junction has become very challenging. Recently, we attempted to find a spot in hopes of having dinner in the junction and could not find a place on the street. So we headed down to Admiral and had dinner instead. I am concerned that the junction is becoming a not so friendly welcoming area due to the lack of parking. If pay kiosks appear in the junction, I will start going elsewhere.

  • JenV May 29, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    oooh, vincent- good idea on moving the farmers market into the street. they do it every weekend in Ballard- and parking is just as tight (if not more so) there. It would give an opportunity for more vendors, and more of a “street fair” type feel.

  • CMP May 29, 2008 (3:09 pm)

    -Not happy about paying for parking at the Junction. Am I the only person out there that loves anything that’s free? I like how the US Bank parking lot went from $1 to $5 overnight. BS. And no pay stations please, they’re terrible and inconvenient…I’ll take a meter any day. At least people might park properly if they have to line up with one.

    -The free lots are great if you can find a space. I’d like to see them restriped or have better directional signs. If you use those lots, watch out for pedestrians when you’re entering/exiting…if I had a dollar for every time I’ve almost been hit running by on the sidewalk, I could afford a fat down payment on an overpriced townhouse in WS.

    -Parking at the Junction is sufficient right now, but it seems to be disappearing with all of this development. I’d hate to see any more be lost; if anything, we need more now which is unfortunate.

    -Sustainability and parking? Not a concern since I’m not on the green bandwagon. Thankfully, I live close enough to the Junction to walk but a lot of people don’t have that luxury and I don’t blame them one bit for driving. I could write so much more but am curious to see comments from other readers, even though we’ve discussed this topic before. Bottom line for me is keep those free parking lots and no pay stations!

  • CM May 29, 2008 (3:14 pm)

    I would be disappointed if the free parking disappeared. I love the small town feel of being able to pull right up run into the dry cleaners or coffee shop on my way to work without having to mess around with paid parking. With that said, the evening parking has gotten a bit out of control and it will get worse. Maybe a bunch of free 15-30 minute “Quick Stop” spots mixed in could help.

    Don’t take away the free parking lots but monitor well enough to ticket those who take advantage and leave their cars there for more than 3 hours.

    It would be good to have enough spots for those quick errands on the way to work, but otherwise I’m happy to walk/bus/or bike the mile into the junction.

  • GenHillOne May 29, 2008 (3:21 pm)

    Great idea, Vincent! Also don’t mind CM’s idea of having a variety of parking (and monitored). I think I’ve said it before, so sorry if I’m repeating myself, but I don’t even mind some REASONABLE paid parking if it’s part of the mix. We really need an easier payment system though. Have paid $5 bucks for all day on a Saturday in Ballard, but was able to pay quickly and easily with a card…needing three ones, or even worse, a pen to write my stall number on a stupid envelope holding those three ones is ridiculous.

  • eli May 29, 2008 (3:25 pm)

    As a resident close enough to the junction that walking is easy, and as I don’t have available to me off-street parking I have some concerns. Will charging for on-street parking in the junction make it that much harder for me to park near my home? There are 3 apt buildings right there so parking is already pretty tight as you can imagine.

  • AY May 29, 2008 (3:33 pm)

    I live one block SW of the junction and my street is heavy with cars and large trucks for some local businesses. We unfortunately do not have an alley or garage so are often walking a bit with groceries/kids,etc.. I know I chose to live in a house without off-street parking, but I think the businesses could do better with their employees. What about offering to help pay for the lots or have an employee only parking with shuttles or within walking distance.

    I also like the idea of moving the farmer’s market to the street!

  • barmargia May 29, 2008 (3:43 pm)

    What about when we get all those new condos and apartments?

    Vincent, excellent idea on the moving the farmers market, like JenV said the Ballard market has such a nicer feel because of its location

  • MLJ May 29, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    The free lots are as much of a Junction institution as Husky Deli is. Their history goes back to some early visionaries who established the Junction business corridor many years ago.

    These lots should be preserved, not because of their legacy, but because they’re a key differentiator between West Seattle’s Junction and areas like Fremont where it’s nearly impossible to find a place to park.

    Besides, what else would go up in their place? Probably more mixed-use development that will bring in more people, and more cars. I’d rather have the open space for parking than another one of these: https://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=7938

  • swimcat May 29, 2008 (3:51 pm)

    1. I do not like the idea of paid parking in the junction; keep the meters and those stupid pay stations far, far away please.
    2. I think the free lots are fantastic and I appreciate that the junction association has maintained this for over 50 years. It’s a nice bit of history worth preserving. I do have trouble finding a spot at times in the western lots but I eventually will find a spot somewhere.
    3. I’d say parking in the Junction is fine for now, but since there are so many developments underway, it certainly won’t be enough for very long.
    4. When I drive to the Junction (which is about 98% of the time), I hardly think about the environment since I’m not leaving WS at all.

  • SE May 29, 2008 (3:59 pm)

    We are a family that lives up on Gatewood hill and free parking does make a tremendous difference to us. 3 hours is enough, but if you took that away, I would go somewhere else to do my shopping or eating out.
    Charging $5.00 for parking? $5.00 buys a lot for us (several ice cream cones at Husky deli, 2 packages of Safeway brand Oreos, 2 gallons of milk…)
    The current parking lots work well for me. I do wonder if that will continue given the amount of construction in the Junction.
    I love the small town feel in West Seattle and celebrating with ice cream after school concerts/functions, or dinner out. Those are hard to do for us on a bike or walking.

  • Jiggers May 29, 2008 (4:08 pm)

    You want density deal with it. I say charge for parking, the city needs money somehow to improve roads and such. Nothings free anymore.

  • R May 29, 2008 (4:09 pm)

    The free parking is a major perk – I love the idea of having the farmers market be on the street.

  • Margo May 29, 2008 (4:17 pm)

    Please, please do not allow them to put in those awful pay kiosks in West Seattle. We moved here from Belltown 5 years ago and love, love, love the free parking. West Seattle needs to be very careful that it doesn’t turn into another Belltown or Ballard, what a horrible thought!!!

  • Aim May 29, 2008 (4:23 pm)

    Please, please PLEASE re-paint the free lots. The actual spaces were repainted a year or two ago if I recall correctly, but the stripes across the loading spaces between disabled spots were not painted, nor are there signs. This effectively makes both disabled spots useless, as folks who don’t know any better park in what appears to be a spot, and block another patron from unloading a wheelchair or getting in and out of their car. I’ve actually had to stand around and wait for 15 minutes in the lot behind the liquor store/thrift shop/etc because someone had parked in the loading spot and I couldn’t get into my car. They were very apologetic – they simply had no way of knowing it was part of the disabled space because there was no signage and no paint.

    In addition, I know that we have the number of disabled spots required by law, but it seems we’re just barely meeting actual need. If one of the lots is shut down for the farmer’s market or an event like Sustainable WS, all of the disabled spaces fill up instantly, and it prevents some of the folks from turning out who otherwise would. I’ve skipped the market or decided to go elsewhere on a day when I couldn’t walk far, because all the spots were full or blocked off.

  • JW May 29, 2008 (4:24 pm)

    Who’s going to be driving their cars in a few years anyway? Gas’ll be $12/gal and there will be some refrigerated wildlife preserve on the last chunk of ice at the N Pole so that the final 10 polar bears will survive. We can revive the exotic ancient crafts of “walking” and “riding a bike” and “wearing rain gear while doing either one.”

  • JM May 29, 2008 (4:26 pm)

    I loved the Petco lot and always parked there, even though it was really for Petco only and not for neighboring businesses. Now I still go to the junction, but avoid the main drag and park a few blocks away in a residential area. The free parking lots are great; the one on the east side is often not as crowded. I would pay if I absolutely had to, but would try to find a spot that was free – we could all use some more walking anyway.

  • JE May 29, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    Love the idea of moving the Farmers’ Market into the street.

    I’m willing to pay for parking, as I think it’s fair to pay up front for my use of the space. I think it’s reasonable for parking costs to increase as availability declines. I like the ease of paying with a credit card like the new city parking kiosks.

    I do think increasing the cost of parking is one important tool to improving sustainability and developing the post-automobile environment. But it should be used as a supplement to developing functional and attractive transit options. Transit must take up the slack.

  • Bree May 29, 2008 (5:27 pm)

    * Move the Farmer’s Market into the street and open up that lot on Sunday for all us brunch eaters.
    * KEEP THE FREE PARKING!! Paid parking will just make people parking in the nearby neighborhoods and lead to more traffic congestion. It won’t work!
    * With all the new development there will not be enough parking for the Junction. There needs to be a new FREE parking lot or garage. I know the South Lake Union Whole Foods provides several 30 minute spots. That’s what they should do over here.

  • Admiral Janeway May 29, 2008 (6:11 pm)

    I remember when the Junction had parking meters. Business was not so great back then.

  • RonM May 29, 2008 (6:38 pm)

    I remember when we had parking meters too. It wasn’t much of a problem to keep feeding the meters until they started patroling and marking tires with chalk. Then most people just parked in the free lots on 42nd and 44th. When they filled people parked on nearby residential streets and the residents screamed because they couldn’t find parking nearby. Dare anyone suggest a parking garage or two?

  • D May 29, 2008 (6:56 pm)

    No meter maids.

  • Jack Loblaw May 29, 2008 (7:08 pm)

    Make all street parking 3 hour limit from 8 am to 10 pm. Charge $ 3.00 per hour to park. I am tired of looking for a place to park and would gladly pay for the privilege just like I have to do when I park downtown. Use the kiosk devices that take credit and debit cards in addition to cold hard cash. From my way of thinking if you can’t afford to pay a meter you can’t afford to shop at the junction. I am sorry to say but I think all the whining about parking shows that we have a lot of cheap-a$$es in West Seattle.

  • AP May 29, 2008 (7:46 pm)

    While I love the idea of the street closure for the Market, didn’t it occur to anyone else that buses use that street to access the Junction?

    My frugal, convenience-oriented side says “keep the free parking lots!” My pragmatic side says “the more we pay to use our cars, the less we’ll use them.”

    I know I would not stop as frequently to shop the Junction without that parking, as I live a bit far to walk and I’m scared stiff to ride my bike on Seattle streets.

  • cori May 29, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    The free parking is great in the lots and on the street. I love being able to run down to the junction just for fun, or to do an errand. It’s part of the charm of West Seattle and lends to its’ small town feel. It makes WS different than Belltown, Capitol Hill, whatever….and it’s nice. Having kiosks for paid parking isn’t neccesarily going to make it any easier to find parking during popular hours. However it will discourage me from going to the junction as regularly as I do. Maybe I am a cheap A$$ Jack, but I’m not willing to pay an extra $3 to grab a bag of petfood from Petco.

  • Kat May 29, 2008 (8:56 pm)

    I already think twice about heading to the Junction in the evening and will often opt for an Admiral restaurant or Endolyne Joe’s due to the difficulty parking. Pay parking and increased parking congestion would definitely steer me away. I don’t live anywhere near the Junction and transit isn’t even remotely convenient from Highland Park. Not whining, just stating the truth for this WS-ite – the Junction will be “persona non grata” soon… or perhaps, it is the out of control development and the city that are making residents “persona non grata” to the Junction. Just thoughts.

  • CMP May 29, 2008 (9:09 pm)

    Since when does charging for parking mean that it will be more easily available? That’s hardly the case downtown b/c I never seem to find a metered spot. Can’t anyone around here appreciate a great thing we have going over here and learn from the old-timers that people didn’t like meters when the Junction had them? I’d have cheap-a$$ put on my license plate if I didn’t have to pay extra for it, I’m that proud of my frugality. I’m sorry, but parking is not worth $5 at the Junction when it used to be a buck. That is NOT a reasonable price increase and no one should park in those lots to prove a point.

  • old timer May 29, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    I think that Junction business would be hurt more than they imagine if the free parking lots were not there. As to street parking, I think a healthy scattering of 15 or 30 minute free spots amongst any new pay spots would help things.
    I can walk to the Junction in about 20 minutes, but sometimes, if the weather is severe, or if I’m going to bring home the results of a ‘large shopping’ excursion, I’d like to be able to use a free spot as I would at Westwood Village.
    “Cheap Ass” notwithstanding, if people have to pay for something that was formerly free, they will seek that something somewhere else where it is free.
    In this case, with parking, the whole Junction could suffer with a severe implementation of pay parking.

  • Pokey May 29, 2008 (10:17 pm)

    If parking meters go in, Junction businesses get hurt as Admiral Janeway says. It would be nice if the city would quit ‘nannying’ us all the time, quit trying to make a buck off of everything, and maybe fix a side street once in a while. Government’s job is to provide and maintain city services, to protect and serve it’s citizens–not to hand developers free reign and continually bring bothersome issues to our neighborhoods. My neighbors and I feel like we’re under constant attack by city hall as very little of what it does is actually helpful to us. Just provide basic services and quit trying to be a ‘world leader’ in anything.

    While I certainly agree with reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ it’s unrealistic to expect that people aren’t going to drive to the Junction to shop. Of course, walk, bike, or bus when you can, but to make parking prohibitive or non-existent goes beyond stupidity and becomes outright arrogance.

    Jiggers–I don’t recall ‘wanting density.’ When did we get that choice and vote to pay for it?

  • RonM May 29, 2008 (10:19 pm)

    Keep the parking free. Merely ban the parking of any car that hasn’t been paid for. That will solve the conjestion problem…

  • cleverblognameTBD May 29, 2008 (10:59 pm)

    Hey Jiggers, your comment about “charge for parking, the city needs money somehow to improve roads and such. Nothings free anymore” got me to thinking.
    We citizens approved the Bridging the Gap Levy to pay for those things that were not getting done for free. The City Council just moved $14,000,000,000 of those dollars to pay for the Mercer Corridor project (currently with a $193 million price tag). How about if we get that money back and have it pay for the projects we thought it was supposed to pay for? Do you know how much parking it would take to pay for $14,000,000,000? At the current rate of $1.50 an hour for the maximum money generating time period of 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (10 hours) and (let’s pretend) there are 300 parking spaces that get metered in the Junction, it would take 9,150 years parking at total capacity every day (excluding Sundays and holidays) to compensate for that decision. So let’s be sure and charge ourselves double and not ask the City and Council to spend money the way that benefits the entire city.

  • grr May 29, 2008 (11:36 pm)

    There are just too many cars to support free parking anymore.

    what about REASONABLE paid parking? A $1 an hour seems fair. Sure seems to me like SOMEONE should build a nice looking parking garage somewhere near the junction. Most of it could be underground…or two stories above..
    a number of these would work just FINE!


  • swimcat May 30, 2008 (8:49 am)

    I certainly won’t head to the Junction as often if I have to pay for parking- I’d rather spend my $5.00 to pay for parking downtown since there are more shops and restaurants to chose from.

    Call me a cheap @$$ if I don’t want to pay for parking- see if I care. I’ve never been in debt because I spend my money wisely.

  • CMP May 30, 2008 (8:52 am)

    grr, that’s not a bad idea. Midwest cities and even Portland offer affordable parking with lots of incentive to shop by providing tokens and such. Seattle doesn’t do that, they just look for any way possible to take your money. Lawrence, KS would charge about a quarter/hour to park on their main street with $2 fines if you didn’t feed your meter. I’m sure it’s more by now but the point is, it’s reasonable. Seattle doesn’t get that concept.

  • grr May 30, 2008 (8:57 am)

    seattle doesn’t get a lot of things :(

  • Al May 30, 2008 (9:09 am)

    -What do you think about the prospect that city street parking in The Junction might stop being free, if pay-station kiosks result from the upcoming parking review? …I don’t mind if the street parking becomes paid. However, there has to be mitigation in the surrounding neighborhoods (i.e. 1-2 hour parking limits and permits for residents). MORE BICYLCE RACKS ARE NEEDED IN THE JUNCTION (in useful locatations, in safe locations).

    -How’s the Junction-provided parking in those free lots working for you? Anything you want to say about the lots themselves?…Free lots are usually full so I don’t even waste my time most of my visits and park a block or two away if I’m visiting at a busy time. More motorcycle parking and bicycle parking is needed. I’d like to see some dedicated motorcycle slots added – and not the stingy amount the city is wont to put in.

    -Do you want more parking or less parking in The Junction?…well, we NEED more intra-West Seattle bus service if less parking is available. A bus that can get you from Westwood to Alki, throug the Morgan, Alaska & Admiral Junctions and back would be a dream (and would run every 20 minutes). Right now, I often drive to Admiral because the bus is not a wise use of my time. More motorcycle parking and more bicycle parking would be helpful. (“u-racks” or “staple racks” please!)

    -Are you worried about the parking situation as it relates to “sustainability” and other environmental concerns?…uh, yeah. With all the new development looming and new apartments and people, unless WS has alternative transit available during the viaduct construction we will be in gridlock. We’re already in gridlock even on Saturday afternoons now!

  • Sue May 30, 2008 (9:11 am)

    I agree with Aim about the disabled spots – it is almost impossible to find one of them, and it would be nice if there was at least one on California in front of a business, not all in the lots behind.
    I like the idea of some short-term spots since sometimes people just need to pick something up, however, keep in mind that anyone with a handicapped placard can park in those short-term spots all day long. That’s not something I usually take advantage of, but if there are no spots available of any kind except those and I need a spot, well yes, I’m going to park there. So that kinda negates the benefit of a short-term spot for everyone else.
    Fortunately my mobility issues are erratic, so when I can I do walk the 1/2 mile to the junction and leave the car at home. But that’s not always an option.

  • d-san May 30, 2008 (10:14 am)

    – Love the free lots, makes me spend my money at the junction businesses. I literally do NOT go to Fremont at all now due to parking availability and costs. Haven’t been there in 2 years.

    – Great idea on the parking lot/garage at a Huling location or nearby. We simply don’t have enough spots to support the *hundreds* of new condo and apartment dwellers that are moving into our neighborhoods. Don’t make homeowners pay (in congestion and a**hats that block driveways) for lack of parking. Create a shuttle from the new lot to the junction for folks that need extra assistance. Be reasonable in charging for this new parking.

    – Reasonably priced, available parking may not make a developer a lot of money, but if the businesses at the junction want to maintain customers they should be shouting this from the mountain tops.

    – Plan, plan, plan for growth!!!

  • Charles May 30, 2008 (10:30 am)

    I think it’s time to pay for parking in the Junction. I’m cheap, but this is a valid revenue source for the city to claim. And it will help enourage people to bus/carpool when visiting. As a former resident of a no-parking-space apartment just north of the free lot behind the liquor store, I would demand the city to provide zonal parking control to ease the burden of folks who live in the area. I love the Junction and want to see it grow. Move the Farmer’s Market to the street!!!

  • baumer May 30, 2008 (10:38 am)

    I hate hate HATE the idea of pay parking in the Junction. I understand the banks such as the Wells Fargo lot doing it since people parked there all the time to go to West 5, etc. I don’t like it, but I understand those pay lots. I do not like the idea of meters AT ALL. With all the new development coming in, it is about to get a lot more miserable for driving around WS to begin with. Free parking is one thing that we can do for our community to help ease the pain. It helps differentiate West Seattle from the rest of Seattle, preserves the charm and character that so many of us here love and is a huge reason we chose to make West Seattle our home. Struggling to find a free parking spot is something I gladly do in exchange for having those free parking spots even be available to me. I wouldn’t be opposed to a compromise of sorts, like some sort of permit system where West Seattle residents would be issued permits where we could continue to park free while outsiders would have to pay for parking in the junction. Of course, I am sure that would just continue non-residents to park in the residential neighborhoods, which is a large concern.

    I do think that we need to add dedicated motorcycle parking spots in the free parking lots in the Junction. Taking away two car spots and using them for motorcycle parking would create an immense amount of parking for 2-Wheelers.

  • Kat May 30, 2008 (11:10 am)

    Charles, unfortunately, unlike encouraging carpooling to work (where people HAVE to go), I’m afraid this type of extreme inconvenience for shopping and restaurants would instead encourage people to go elsewhere. It simply doesn’t work the same for non-essential commuting. I’ll drive to Southcenter for department store shopping rather than paying for parking or bussing it downtown even though I much prefer the atmosphere downtown.

  • pam May 30, 2008 (11:23 am)

    Free parking at the junction is great, I like it and use it when we don’t walk there. But. I’d like to see fewer cars on Cali on the front side and if it means metering those spaces, I’m for it. Yes, people will park in the neighborhoods and walk – I lived on Cap Hill before moving here and I’m just not that sympathetic to complaints about parking from either side – my ‘hood was always parked up but good. Meh.

    Free lots work fine. No complaints.

    I want less parking. I want the Cali facing side to be for the PEOPLE! I want to sit outside without sucking down someone’s exhaust with my latte! I want a year round street fair environment! :) I love the idea of moving the farmer’s market to the street.

    Yes, yes, yes, I’m concerned about conceding parking for environment. I hold the unpopular view that making practical space for cars isn’t compatible with making attractive space for humans. I’d love to see the Junction become more human friendly and I’m willing to sacrifice some of the convenience of free parking to get that.

  • RS May 30, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    So people don’t go to really great neighborhoods in this city like Fremont or Capital Hill because parking is hard to find or costs a few dollars?? Get over it. Take the bus! Take the water taxi! Drive around the block a few more times! Get out of West Seattle once in a while! And really, people are willing to drive way out of WS to avoid paying for parking? You do realize that gas is over $4 a gallon right? So at some point the cost of gas for that trip will be more than the few dollars it would cost at a meter in the Junction. I’ll take the hassle of a vibrant and unique downtown over the plastic lameness of shopping malls in the suburbs any day. Especially if it costs the same!!

  • d-san May 30, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    RS – I lived in Fremont for 4 years and loved it. Loved it so much it was heartbreaking when it came time to buy a house and I realized I was priced out of the area. Last time I was there was to pick up a Chocolate White Chocolate Cake from Simply Desserts – the best cake on the planet (sorry Bakery Nouveau). I needed to be there for 10 minutes. It took approx 20 minutes to find a paid parking spot, 4 blocks away. So how is it so great to spend dollars, time and waste fuel for a 10 minute task?

  • baumer May 30, 2008 (1:46 pm)

    RS – I am one of those people that tries to avoid leaving West Seattle whenever possible. I try to do all my shopping here, and unless I am going out with friends who do not live in this neck of the woods, I prefer to go out to eat and drink at local West Seattle establishments. Whenever I need to go to Cap Hill or Freemont, I ride my scooter. Its a lot less stressful than the car. As far as taking the bus to those areas goes, well, the only times I really go to those areas is for going out for a night on the town, and the bus is not going to cut that mustard. I would rather deal with paying the atrocious $4+ a gallon of gas and have my free parking in the junction, rather than having to pay that high of cost for the gas anyhow PLUS a few more dollars to park. I would much rather pay for parking downtown than free parking in the suburbs (i cannot STAND suburbs, especially outer ring ‘burbs), but that is also for parking DOWNTOWN where its generally expected you will have to pay for being in the City Center. West Seattle is not downtown Seattle.
    However, if we can get a movement together to declare our independence from Seattle and become our own city, my opinion of pay parking in the Junction may change out of necessity.

  • brj May 30, 2008 (2:59 pm)

    If you take away the free parking lots – please don’t, let us keep SOME friendly uniqueness in WS!! – then you have to put up 1 or 2 hour parking signs in the surrounding neighborhoods. Already I’ve seen the rate of people parking on Glenn Way and surrounding streets getting out of hand. People are using those streets to park their cars when they take the buses that leave from the Junction – using the street parking that should be reserved for people using Junction business – as a Park & Ride.
    Also, I’ve noticed in that free parking lot shown in the picture above that the angled parking area to the left is always pretty full even when businesses are closed – are people living in the apartment next to it using the free parking lot to park? If so, then they must not be monitoring it at all…
    But back to the question at hand – leave the free parking lots. I can see developers drooling at them, envisioning more unaffordable ugly condos going up in their space – already happened to one free parking lot – the one behind Petco… Let us have at least one thing left that makes us not feel like we are living in Fremont/Ballard/Belltown…

  • J May 30, 2008 (3:08 pm)

    Back-of-the-envelope calculation for driving vs. paying to park: assuming parking is 1.50 per hour, and gas is $4 per gallon, then you can buy about 2 hours and 40 minutes worth of parking for the price of a gallon of gas.

    Ignoring other costs of driving your car, including environmental costs, and ignoring the value of your time, then, for each hour you need to park, it makes sense to extend your drive no further than you can go and return on about .37 gallons, if all you want to save is the parking cost.

    Don’t you wish your car had a cash meter, as well as a fuel gauge?

  • Ezra May 30, 2008 (3:28 pm)

    I love the free parking. Please don’t take away the free parking. I understand if it proves necessary, but I will greatly lament its passing, should it happen. I walk when I can, but if I’m in a hurry I relish the fact that I won’t be nickle and dimed trying to pick up some take-out from Lee’s. I also love Lee’s!

  • Jeannie May 30, 2008 (4:26 pm)

    Why are we always getting nickel-and-dimed? KEEP the parking FREE! Ir’s good for the small businesses in the Junction. And no one should try to snow us with the “sustainability” excuse. I’m an environmentalist, but this is really about taking more money from the public in tough economic times. GREED! I generally try to walk rather than drive, but the Junction is too far. And if I’m carrying 10 pounds of purchases, it’s DEFINITELY too far.

    Can you point us to the specific part of the site where we can submit our comments?

  • J May 30, 2008 (4:36 pm)

    Found a nifty tool for calculating trip cost:

    You can plug in your car’s mileage, and find out what it will cost you to drive to a different business to avoid parking costs.

  • C May 30, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    That is nifty J, but it’s not so much that I would make a seperate trip, say to Burien, or wherever, to get what I normally would in the junction. I would just plan ahead and lump it into my other errands, if I was concerned about saving the parking cash. I usually end up making a trip of it when I run to the junction though. I take the kids to the bakery, maybe get something at Huskys, go to the toy store, possibly make it to Capers for myself. I just don’t like the idea of paying to run to the junction and spend money. Businesses will probably feel the effects as it sounds like there are other people like me who aren’t as likely to use the junction if they have to pay for it. Of course with all the new condos coming in, maybe they won’t. I think everyone can appreciate the fact that it’s nice not to have to pay to shop. I don’t think paid parking is going to help West Seattle at all – the parking situation or the merchants. Maybe it’s unavoidable because the city wants our money.

  • Lifer in WS May 30, 2008 (8:16 pm)

    Maybe the big wigs who are making all the money developing and selling condos and businesses in the surrounding West Seattle area could chip in a little of the profit they are making. Do they live here? Most likely not. As a WSR resident I can walk to the junction, but having to pay to take my 7 year old and wife to Husky deli on a rainy day seems ubsurd. What has our world come to when the people who have lived here the longest are inconvienced and pushed out by the ones who have been here the shortest?

  • brj May 30, 2008 (10:29 pm)

    Uh, recession, inflatuion, groceries-getting-too-much, gas-prices-at-an-all-time-high, middle-class-now-not-so-middle-class, and they want us now to pay, let’s guess, $5 to park an hour to visit LOCAL shops?
    Maybe when the economy isn’t dying. Then ask us, normal used-to-be “middle class WS people” to pay something more.

  • GenHillOne May 31, 2008 (8:55 am)

    To me, the broad spectrum of responses here only emphasizes the point that a mix of options could be supported. While it may be idealistic to think that we’ll always have unlimited free parking, I also agree that having nothing but paid might, epecially in a flip of the switch, affect businesses. Since some seem aghast at my $5 Ballard parking, let me add this. This was for ALL day. Outside of the 2-hour (street) or 3-hour (some of our lots) limit and not in front of someone’s house. We went there to shop, eat, and see a movie at Majestic Bay. The location was convenient enough to put our packages in the trunk before the movie and we didn’t have to spend 20 minutes looking for the space; all worth it in my mind. Would I do the same to run weekly errands in my own neighborhood? No. But if I’m trying to meet someone for dinner and crunched for time after work, I’ve paid the $3 to park because it’s convenient and quick. That’s why we need a variety. We definintely contributed to the neighborhood’s economy that day in Ballard and enjoyed it. I would hope that others might come do the same here – doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to move here! ;)

  • Mike Flynn June 1, 2008 (12:37 am)

    Several years ago the Junction’s merchants requested that the city remove the parking meters on California Avenue in the Junction. It was part of the reason that the Junction renaissance began in the 1990s. To change that now would be wrong.

    Is there now a problem parking at the Junction? I’ve never had one (although the construction on 42nd between Alaska and Edmunds is problematical). If you need to be anywhere for 20 or 30 minutes, you can always find a spot, either at one of the Junction lots, or those lots Junction merchants maintain, or on the street. I don’t think I ever see the pay lots in the vicinity with more than a handful of cars in them.

    There will indeed be more density soon, with new residences going up. Those buildings need to have enough parking to cover their residents and their guests so parking for those visiting Junction merchants doesn’t get taken away. If the review process doesn’t make that happen, it’s a black eye for the city and the mayor.

    Keeping parking free, but keeping the limit reasonable — two hours is a good time, giving time to shop and grab a bite at one of the great Junction restaurants — is the best possible solution.

    Of course, having the monorail going to the Junction would have helped, too, but enough people with money hated that plan so much that they got it killed eventually. Having buses that travel to the Junction from other parts of West Seattle more than once every half-hour would be good, too.

    If the folks screaming for paid parking at the Junction again want to have their way, why don’t we figure a way for patronizing the merchants to subsidize it? If they and the city were to create a special token or card or coupon that would be acceptable, maybe that could be given to customers making purchases? So I eat dinner at Elliott Bay Pub and spend $40; that would entitle me to, say, a $4 parking credit. Ten dollars spent at Northwest Art & Frame would net me another buck. The funds could come from the payments made by the merchants in the Junction business improvement area to the city (and those businesses south of the Junction along California, and some others nearby who also skirted joining the business improvement area should be added to the BIA as well; the nail salons and auto repair places need parking, too) Residents of the area who live in single-family homes would receive parking permits like the zone permits in Fauntleroy. And if you live in one of the multiple-family dwellings, your tax rate should include additional property tax payments for units without parking spaces.

    Of course, for those of us who like the small-town appeal of the west side and especially the Junction, paid parking might be the only thing to keep it that way.

  • J June 1, 2008 (11:57 am)

    Mike’s suggestions sound very reasonable to me.

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