First beer, now boxes: See what’s just been added to help save West Seattle Junction ‘free’ parking

If you go out for dinner and/or drinks in The Junction tonight – or head to the West Seattle Farmers’ Market tomorrow – you might notice boxes like that one in the Junction Association-operated “free parking lots.” The five boxes, installed this afternoon, are the newest fundraising tool in the effort to keep those lots available and free.

While WSJA says its agreement with the lots’ owners, Trusteed Properties, doesn’t allow charging for parking, this is strictly a request for donations. Can’t or don’t want to donate? No problem. You can still park for free for up to three hours as always. But if you can donate – bring a few bucks next time you’re headed that way, and look for the boxes.

BACKSTORY: The fundraising push is an attempt to help cover a dramatically higher property-tax bill for the lots that’s passed through to the Junction Association and the community businesses that comprise it. They’ve secured a temporary reprieve from the county, which collects property taxes, but that runs out soon. Other fundraisers so far have included Save Our Lots beer and online donations. If your business wants to show its support – here’s a kit!

45 Replies to "First beer, now boxes: See what's just been added to help save West Seattle Junction 'free' parking"

  • Graciano October 20, 2018 (8:22 pm)

    It might be time to sell the property to a developer with the stipulation of a free parking garage with 1.5 to 2x times the parking spaces for shoppers.
    The condo owners or apt renters could absorb the property taxes.
    This could be a win for the WSJA.

    • NWMama October 20, 2018 (8:46 pm)

      that is a super idea!

    • Mike October 20, 2018 (9:30 pm)

      No, do not do that. NO NO NO. As soon as you sell it to the developer, they’ll get the rules adjusted in their favor to do whatever they want. The word developer reminds me of the word satan.

      • Kram October 21, 2018 (12:36 pm)

        Your house/apartment/condo that you live in was built by satan?

        • WSB October 21, 2018 (1:54 pm)

          Offtopic but I take the privilege of noting again that some may be surprised at who built their domiciles, especially if said structures are a half-century-plus old … We are lucky to own a small, shabby, but sturdy, unremarkable 1941 warbox and long story short, the guy who built it just before getting drafted in WWII went on to be a prolific homebuilder and philanthropist. We learned the background from his grown children who came by one day in our early years while I was out pulling weeds. Matched the name on the permit we found while doing research before purchase. (Pre-Internet!) Back to the topic. Just got more info from WSJA re: the fundraising effort … stand by for that. – TR

          • Kram October 21, 2018 (3:09 pm)

            Great point and I grew up in a home similar to what you describe. Of course most people building homes are not evil. My tongue-in-cheek comment was in regards to people who live in a house/apartment/condo and object to new ones being built. Why would the existing one be fine but the new one somehow not?

  • Morgan October 20, 2018 (8:55 pm)

    Sensible, Graciano. This donation box doesn’t seem like a strong real estate strategy. Look at what Frye is getting for selling their lot—new gallery space and new life for their mission as a free art gallery….selling air rights can be great coping strategy for growing neighborhood.

    Do the businesses have an improvement district or some kind of self imposed, city controlled tax revenue that could be bonded against?

  • Ice October 21, 2018 (12:36 am)

    If you like that lot and use it on a regular basis, why not throw a few bucks in? I use that lot from time to time and I wouldn’t mind tossing in a few dollars to support it’s continued existence. Helping to pay for the things we actually use seems only natural.

    • Mike October 21, 2018 (7:31 am)

      Yes, exactly.

  • Gene October 21, 2018 (7:19 am)

    I too will put money in- as I truly appreciate the free parking we have in the junction- also like Gracianos idea- if we could trust developers to do something like that. sure hope next story on these boxes isn’t about them being broken in to.

  • g October 21, 2018 (8:29 am)

    I don’t think you are recognizing the trends that the builders are following, but isn’t there a 90 unit going up on avalon with zero off street parking? What would benefit the builder to offer free parking?

  • Pixie B October 21, 2018 (9:06 am)

    Having the box out in the open is asking for theft unless it is emptied on an hourly basis . Does not take much to break into those boxes for an experienced thief. It would be better for the donation boxes to be inside the businesses you frequent. I would feel better donating where I was assured the money was being received and used for the intended purpose.

    • Mike October 21, 2018 (9:54 am)

      Easy enough to setup an online account to accept donations. No need to have a cash deposit box. I find it odd they even have one there recently that would take cash at all.

      • WSB October 21, 2018 (12:36 pm)

        There is an online fundraiser too, linked in the story above.

    • Allison October 21, 2018 (11:32 pm)

      If you’re worried about risk with the cash boxes, you can donate inside the Beer Junction with either cash or on your credit card.

  • heylady October 21, 2018 (9:30 am)

    Running in to Husky’s for a sandwich. A quick gift from NW Art and Frame. Coffee and a treat from Bakery Nouveau. Stopping at Curious Kidstuff before a party. A hair cut at Vain. A beer run to the Beer Junction. Take out from Lee’s. Can someone please help me understand why I will need to transact and pay for parking to do these simple things?

    • 94117 October 21, 2018 (9:43 am)

      “Can someone please help me understand why I will need to transact and pay for parking to do these simple things?”

      You don’t need to pay for parking to do those things.

    • Mr. J October 21, 2018 (10:25 am)

      Your sense of entitlement is outstanding, nonetheless it’s good that you support local businesses. The WSB has covered this topic for nearly a year, the lots are in danger because the King County’s Assessors Office assessed the lots at 200% more than the WSJA has been paying. The local businesses that pay for these lots can’t afford that kind of an increase. The WSJA is trying to get creative with raising money for these lots. From past WSB articles it sounds like there’s a lot of rules behind how these lots are operated and paid for.

      You’re not required to pay, but don’t expect these lots to stick around for long.

      • Lynne Aspin October 24, 2018 (7:33 am)

        Thank you for complimenting my entitlement and for the doing my homework for me!

    • Ice October 21, 2018 (11:31 am)

      Because you are using a significant amount of space that could very easily be used for something else. A better question is why would you not expect to pay for what you use?

      • heylady October 24, 2018 (7:36 am)

        A good question.

    • Mrs. A October 21, 2018 (2:42 pm)

      I think it’s extreme to say there is an outstanding sense of entitlement. People will have different perspectives on what should be a private commodity versus a public good. For example, I have family that lives outside Seattle and they find it crazy that we have to pay to park for things such as going to work, staying in the hospital, or visiting local businesses. I think both sides have valid points.

      • Mickymse October 21, 2018 (6:20 pm)

        1) You pay more in Seattle to park because there is more demand to park in a space. Remember economics? You pay little or nothing outside Seattle because fewer people are visiting or working there.

        2) That said, everyone who thinks they Park for free in that cute business district, or mall, or wherever outside Seattle are actually paying for it. Those disagrees cost money to build, or have property taxes. Your just paying for it through prices at the shop or the business is absorbing the cost or your taxes pay for it. It’s not “free” parking.

      • heylady October 24, 2018 (7:45 am)

        Failed Econ. Passed Grammar. Check your contractions, dear.

      • heylady October 24, 2018 (7:51 am)

        Thanks for putting it into words. I do think free parking in the junction is something shared for public good. Nonetheless, I’ll pay.

  • Mariem October 21, 2018 (9:36 am)

    It’s hard for an individual to imagine how their occasional 2 bucks will help fill in a big gaping financial hole. Why not be transparent about how much they hope to raise? That might improve chances of receiving contributions at the lots.

    • heyalki October 22, 2018 (8:11 am)

      A little here, a little there. Things add up faster than you think.

    • Valid October 23, 2018 (2:16 pm)

      I want to be supportive and everything, but I agree that it should be cased/marketed another way. If I’m looking at “hey we need $160K, so put a couple bucks in this box!” It comes accross as an impossibility, and does not compel me to donate. Not to be critical, just to give feedback as to how I would perceive the campaign.

      • WSB October 23, 2018 (2:40 pm)

        They’re trying everything they can. “Better to light a single candle than curse the darkness” might be an appropriate analogy. But if you have an idea you’re not seeing tried:

  • Brikabet October 21, 2018 (2:08 pm)

    Maybe I’m not looking in the right place, but I can’t find an actual link to donate on-line?

  • I. Ponder October 21, 2018 (6:32 pm)

    Did I miss where it said how much $ the tax bill is? What are their other revenue sources and how much do they get from those?

    • WSB October 21, 2018 (7:10 pm)

      $197,000 in additional taxes next year alone – not counting beyond the rent etc. they pay – according to WSJA executive director Lora Radford. As for revenue, WSJA members are assessed. It’s a business improvement area & a nonprofit. They chsrge fees for some things to help cover costs – vendor fees at Summer Fest, for example, ‘adoption fees’ for the hanging flower baskets, etc.

  • Elle Nell October 21, 2018 (6:47 pm)

    Entitlement… are you serious? ? ? Before we were invaded, we could shop eat and live without lines, waiting and attitudes. It was, oh so nice… we are West Seattle, there are plenty of other places were you can sell your livelihood.

    • KM October 22, 2018 (6:46 am)

      Invaded… are you serious? ? ?

      I’m so sorry you have to wait now and that apparently “attitude” and “lines” were only brought to you by your “invaders”, the pain must be unbearable. Do you have a GoFundMe?

      • Tsurly October 23, 2018 (6:40 pm)

        And unleashed dogs.

        • KM October 24, 2018 (4:49 pm)

          Only the gluten-free ones.

  • 1994 October 21, 2018 (8:31 pm)

    Recently when I went for a couple of doctor appointments at a Swedish facility on first hill I parked in their garage or I assumed it was a Swedish garage. I noticed on my parking receipt there was a Seattle parking tax of 12.5% on top of sales tax 10.1%. This was the first time I noticed there is an added 12.5% parking tax in Seattle in addition to sales tax on parking.

  • I. Ponder October 21, 2018 (8:48 pm)

    I think it would be more transparent and community-interactive if they published how much $ they are needing to raise and how far along they are towards achieving that goal within required time frame. Like one of those thermometer things.

    • WSB October 21, 2018 (9:21 pm)

      Lora will be publishing updates on the Junction website.

  • Seattle Native October 22, 2018 (12:02 pm)

    It makes me sad that Seattle is growing so fast that the beauty of the entire area is changing. What used to be a 15 to 20 minute commute is easily 45+ minutes now. We are seeing water mains throughout the city bursting and other infrastructure struggle to keep up with all the new buildings and people. Why the city has allowed so many new building with no parking spaces is not rational. As for those $*@M bike lanes; let’s face facts; many who live in Seattle are simply not capable of riding a bicycle to and from work. We don’t live in a flat dry city! Going to first hill 3 days ago, a single bike rider slowed 10 cars down behind them as the person struggled to ride up the steep hills. If you want to give people who ride bikes priority on the roads then they should have to license their bike, follow the traffic rules and be required to have front, back AND side lighting on their bikes. They should share in the cost of the modification of our roads to accommodate the low percentage of people who commute by bicycles. Good for the people that can and want to ride their bikes to work. Many do not have the ability to do that. The car, gas and property taxes we’ve paid for decades to improve roads and traffic are obviously not being spent well. How many times has SDOT patched the area on 35th Ave SW Between SW Webster and SW Myrtle and it doesn’t even last 1 year?? And that’s just a 3 block area of one street in the city. Ever driven down James St from 9th Ave to 5th Ave? That area is about as smooth as a dirt logging road! Our congestion is worse than ever. Maybe it’s time to consider a tradition that is done in Hawaii with a slight modification. If you have owned or lived in Seattle 10 or 20+ years, your property taxes and some other fees should be discounted. Maybe free carpool lane access, bus passes and other discounts. Some benefit to help the people who have built this city that has become a destination. It’s not right that the rising taxes and costs to live here are forcing the long time, local people, out of their own city. IMHO

  • pennidogg October 24, 2018 (6:29 am)

    Is there a record of how much money has currently been raised and how much they need to raise? I have donated already and would like to know.

  • Patty October 24, 2018 (8:07 pm)

    The 4 “Trusteed Parking Lots” are intended to benefit the shoppers/businesses in West Seattle.

    You DON’T have to pay to park, but think what it will be like if these lots are gone. Do you trust city government enough, that you don’t think zoning can/will be changed to get the biggest buck for the dollar on these “Prime” real estate lots? Donate, please, however you can. It will benefit us all!

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