After years of rising taxes, West Seattle Junction’s free-parking lots will soon be free no more

(WSB photo: 44th/Oregon lot)

For years, we’ve been reporting on the West Seattle Junction Association‘s struggle to keep the “free parking” lots free, despite the ever-rising property-tax bills – the lots are assessed as potentially developable land. They’ve tried fundraisers and other tactics to hold off the inevitable – but now, the “free-parking lot” era is about to end. Here’s the WSJA announcement we received this afternoon:

For more than 30 years, the West Seattle Junction merchants have paid for the ‘free’ parking lots in the heart of West Seattle. A benefit that has been shared with the community will be turning a new chapter in the parking-lot book in 2021.

“We live in a world where the definition of transportation has changed since the 1970s. People have the power to get around West Seattle in different ways,” says Lora Radford, West Seattle Junction Association Executive Director.

In partnership with Diamond Parking, who has been working with the Junction since 1997, the merchant-funded parking spaces will be upgraded to pay parking on January 15th, 2021.

The change comes at a time where the Junction has been shouldering the full cost of rapidly increasing taxes that have become unsustainable. 100% of the Junction’s portion of the revenue from the paid parking will be applied to the tax burden, lessening the amount due, but by no means paying for the entire obligation.

The idea of maintaining free parking in an urban village like the Junction (the last in the City of Seattle), is no surprise for the residents. In early 2019 the Junction conducted a community survey (through a grant), that underscored the sentiment free parking was an anomaly in a rapidly growing city.

Especially in this time, the Junction has asked the community to include the support of small business in their daily lives. The request for West Seattleites to pay a modest $2 to $3 per hour (the cost of a greeting card, cup of coffee, or craft beer) to preserve the economic vibrancy of their downtown should be a simple request.

“For many, experiencing the downtown of West Seattle will become easier,” continues Radford. “The ability to find parking each time you visit the Junction will increase dramatically with the movement into paid parking. Gone will be the days of cars parked in the lots for hours at a time.”

The experiences of West Seattleites are a true reflection of who they are and what they care about, and visiting the Junction is one of the most vivid examples of normalcy in a far-from-normal world. For some, a trip to the West Seattle Junction is, in itself, the only and best destination. People can feel the heartbeat of some of the best small businesses through a perfectly scooped ice cream, to the bite of a tangy piece of pizza, or through quirky items found at local independent shops. They can reflect on collections of cultural significance through the murals or take a stroll under the flower baskets heavy with summer blooms.

Luckily for them, the Junction can continue to offer an avenue to attract those uniquely Northwest experiences in West Seattle.

The Junction strongly believes in the continued community benefit provided to West Seattle residents. We believe the West Seattle Junction is the core of West Seattle where neighbors come together to meet which promotes community openness and sense of place. The wellbeing of West Seattle will continue through the ease of parking close to the very heart of our community through a new and modern version of history.

As explained in this WSB story almost three years ago, the Junction Association doesn’t own the lots, but its lease with the owners, West Seattle Trusteed Properties, leaves WSJA on the hook for the taxes, in addition to the rent. The lots include 228 spaces that have allowed customers up to 3 free hours.

ADDED 6:47 PM: To clarify a couple points raised in comment discussion – this involves only the four lots managed by WSJA – off 42nd south of Oregon, off the east side of 44th just south of Oregon, on the southeast corner of 44th/Alaska, and off the east side of 44th just north of Edmunds. Street parking is managed by the city, which has reviewed the Junction area twice in the past 12 years and concluded both times (2009 coverage here, 2018 coverage here) that metered/pay-station street parking was unnecessary, though an RPZ was added in 2019.

176 Replies to "After years of rising taxes, West Seattle Junction's free-parking lots will soon be free no more"

  • natinstl January 4, 2021 (4:43 pm)

    With the hit all our community businesses took this year I have no issue with this. I think they shouldered the burden long enough. I am lucky enough to be able to walk to the Junction unless I’m carrying something heavy to load/unload so I will continue to do so, that will leave spots for those that need them. 

    • Guy January 5, 2021 (12:01 am)

      Sounds like the people who are ok with parking costing money are – shockingly – the same people who live close enough to the junction so they don’t have to worry about parking here because they can walk there. Insert eyeroll.

    • Patience January 5, 2021 (7:40 am)

      I am thankful that we will still have parking lots available.   Please note that all the land that the parking lots are on can be developed. With all the town homes/micro units that have popped up (where single-family homes used to be) in the last ten years, parking has been an issue in the evenings. Some of the folks who live in these congested area don’t own a car, but they do have friends and family visiting via a car.  The nearby junction free parking lots served the purpose of parking for the short 2-3 hour visits to the micro units/town homes/condos – which the merchants were providing$ in hope of convenience for their customers.

    • Wagon January 5, 2021 (9:26 am)

      How does this improve the day to day life for businesses in the Junction? Where do the employees park? We used to move our cars every 3 hours, now we get to park in front of your house for 2 hours then move in front of your neighbors house. Not everyone lives within the “junction”. This isn’t lowering my businesses rent or my rent at my apartment. There is no tax break for the businesses. The WSJA isn’t giving any of that money to the businesses. Your products you want to buy will still cost the same if not more to make up for the loss in business. This only benefits people who are looking for parking to dine. Besides most people are there for like 30 mins to grab beers from the Beer Junction. 

      • EDR January 5, 2021 (7:14 pm)

        We live in the junction.
        I am with you.
        The apartment we live in is a closet so that is definitely the reason why we live in the junction.
        We live IN the junction so we do not have to get in a car to go places as often.
        AND we pay to garage our ONE car so we don’t take up the parking in the area for the local service workers who sadly do not get paid enough to live in this area.
        However, I truly wish parking for the business employees were offered for free within those lots with SPECIAL PARKING PERMITS?
        These guys SHOULD NOT have to pay for parking or continue to run around moving their cars every 2 hours.
        That’s the minimum the WSJA should do for the businesses to support them.
        If you lose your workforce, you lose your business.
        PS I did not get surveyed.

  • Auntie January 4, 2021 (4:44 pm)

    All the more reason for developers to be required to provide ample parking for their buildings. At least one space for each unit. Parking in the Junction is already a nightmare and this is going to make it worse.

    • skeeter January 4, 2021 (5:03 pm)

      Auntie – I think this will make parking in the junction much easier.  People are frugal, and many will bike, walk, or take transit instead of paying for parking.  This is going to be a big win for everyone – especially car drivers who won’t have to drive around and around looking for a parking space.

      • Smittytheclown January 5, 2021 (6:36 am)

        Pretty sure people are inherently lazy.  If you live within 4 blocks of the Junction say goodbye to your street parking.  And yes, I know it’s not “yours”,  technically.

      • Delta Sea January 8, 2021 (10:37 pm)

        It will make parking easier for me because I won’t come to the Junction.

    • Andrew January 4, 2021 (5:49 pm)

      Enforcing parking minimums makes rent more expensive for everyone.  I would gladly have $250/month lower rent than a parking space I don’t use (Seattle times link).  People who live right near the junction may find they don’t need cars at all.  With all the shopping nearby, and good bus service, my wife and I don’t have a car.

      • East Coast Cynic January 4, 2021 (11:27 pm)

        A lot of people like to drive out of the city to go camping, hiking, and skiing.  Not to mention West Seattle residents who work on the Eastside or in the Northsound.  Cars around here are a bigger necessity than you think, even for those that live in the Junctions.

        • Jake January 5, 2021 (5:46 am)

          I live in Downtown Seattle and feel like I need a car so if I was to live in West Seattle I would think a car is even more of a necessity I mean yeah it’s inconvenient in Seattle when it comes to parking but if you want to get out of your neighborhood or have multiple errands to run imagine having to bus to southcenter Mall and then bus to Aurora and then bus into downtown and then bus back to West Seattle that would be the biggest pain in the a**

          • Skye January 7, 2021 (3:04 am)

            When I moved to West Seattle in 1999, I specifically chose a house just 1/4 block from two bus stops so I wouldn’t need a car at some point in my career or retirement. Both of those bus stops offered bus service every 1/2 hour, both are no longer in service. The closest bus stop now is almost a mile away. Most are Rapid Ride set up for a suburban environment for commuters to downtown Seattle or other city hubs for work outside of West Seattle. West Seattle becomes more suburban every day & disconnected from providing public transportation within West Seattle to move through the neighborhood.  If our bus system was like the University District or put back into service to serve us to get us easily to the different points of our neighborhood commerce, I would say yes to paid parking & we don’t need parking in apartment projects. But that is not the factual truth. Every single apartment project, commercial building and house should have parking. We don’t have a subway or even proper public transportation like Portland or San Francisco. We have the power to demand that Seattle City Council serve the needs of West Seattlelites. 

          • Skye January 7, 2021 (3:06 am)

            When I moved to West Seattle in 1999, I specifically chose a house just 1/4 block from two bus stops so I wouldn’t need a car at some point in my career or retirement. Both of those bus stops offered bus service every 1/2 hour, both are no longer in service. The closest bus stop now is almost a mile away. Most are Rapid Ride set up for a suburban environment for commuters to downtown Seattle or other city hubs for work outside of West Seattle. West Seattle becomes more suburban every day & disconnected from providing public transportation within West Seattle to move through the neighborhood.  If our bus system was like the University District or put back into service to serve us to get us easily to the different points of our neighborhood commerce.Every property should be providing ample parking. We don’t have proper public transportation in West Seattle. 

      • zark00 January 5, 2021 (9:39 am)

        It’s a total myth, perpetuated by developers, that building parking raises rents.  Developers with deep pockets are just gaming the city housing authority.  City has a huge lack of housing, developers hold all the cards, they dangle huge money for big projects in front of the city, and ask for an insane number of concessions and breaks, including waiving parking requirements, and they get their way.Fact is, people want parking, and if developers can push that cost to the city by forcing it to be all street parking, they win.  Look at the rents, compare with your neighbors and friends, rent is not lower when parking is not included – ever. 

        • Skye January 7, 2021 (2:51 am)

          Truth but not completely.  I worked for mixed use developers for 25 years & sat in many city meetings. The cities bend over the developers to pay for all those expensive wide sidewalks, install landscaping that meets city codes/swap out withexpensiveroof top open space decks, put in new traffic lights, new street signage, requires to build affordable housing units but gives no incentives or tax breaks & has extensive fire code & earthquake building codes.  The city & state obsess over density and any open space parking lot, the City of Seattle Council is drooling for a high rise for more tax revenue. In essence, the City of Seattle craves developers to build as many units as possible to get tax revenues. To build up, to make it pencil, a developer needs steel, which the cost doesn’t pencil so developers opt out of affordable housing & pay a penalty in downtown Seattle.  In West Seattle there are height restrictions but as we all know most of the developed streets are now shadowed with no sunlight.   The cities don’t make much on parking stall taxes and this is just the first step to taking away the parking from our neighborhood so we eventually have little to none for retail shoppers or employees.

    • John W January 4, 2021 (5:52 pm)

      Auntie, The Junction Association is finally acting in everyone’s interest- monetizing parking on their parking lots.  Long overdue, in my opinion.  —//Now if only our Mayor and City Council could follow their lead and charge for all vehicle storage on Seattle’s streets. 

      • Auntie January 4, 2021 (8:16 pm)

        OK, John W – if all street parking were metered, then I guess I would have to take two buses to get from my house to the Junction (which would likely take over an hour) in order to avoid having to pay to park. I think there are a lot of people really down on cars and their drivers, but for some of us, walking or biking is not possible and taking multiple buses to travel three miles is ridiculous. Parking on a city street for an hour or so isn’t “vehicle storage.” By the way, I completely understand the Junction Association’s actions, taxes being what they are. I’m close to being taxed out of the city myself and I’ve lived here my whole life.

        • John W January 4, 2021 (9:56 pm)

          Right you are and if you are only parking in the Junction for an hour and have to drive, paying your share for a parking place should not be a burden, especially when you realize the costs of driving your single occupancy car.
          (According to the Internal Revenue Service, a mile costs $0.53. In 2017, the total cost per mile ranged between $.38 for a small sedan to $.60 for a 4WD pickup truck. When multiplied by the average mileage driven, the AAA estimate can offer a “cost of ownership” for these vehicle types allowing consumers to, hopefully, make better decisions.
          And please explain why parking your car on the street while not in use is not storing it on the street?

          I hope you are also aware of
          the many new options for transportation that heretofore did not exist.  Publicly subsidized rides for seniors and disabled as well as commercial ride services like Uber and Lyft that offer inexpensive and the convenience of door-to-door, no parking required.
          Many disabled currently find the Junction lots too far from their Junction destinations and lack of enforcement leaves many disabled only street parking spots occupied by other selfish motorists. 

          Auntie, if you do choose to drive to the Junction doesn’t it make sense to know parking  will be available? 
          TRICKY COOL tells of driving to the Junction, not finding parking, only to give up and drive elsewhere. 

          Moving  street parking into the digital age and monetizing it would allow algorithms to maintain 1 or 2  spaces available.

        • Brad Hodges January 5, 2021 (8:09 am)

          Or rent a monthly parking space….. For your private property storage.  Land in Seattle is expensive.  Cars don’t scale in cities.  You have options.  You’re not some victim.

          • Geoffrey Swenson January 5, 2021 (6:05 pm)

            A bad neighborhood district in San Francisco area was offered a deal by the current mayor they put in parking meters which was generally not favored by the businesses because they thought it would reduce their customers.The mayor thought otherwise and agreed to spend all the revenue on projects throughout the district. He was right, the paid parking actually meant that people didn’t hog spaces so even though customers had to pay a couple bucks for a spot, they could actually find a spot. The businesses prospered. The money the city spent fixing worn out sidewalks and so on also increased the appeal of the formerly run down area which is now a trendy place to live and work.Parking is hugely expensive and architecturally appalling. I got this info from an online interview with an expert advisor on parking who was the one that pushed the mayor to do this, and he is of the opinion that most of the obsession cities have with parking is actually detrimental. It makes projects cost too much and many other problems I don’t quite remember.

    • TreeHouse January 4, 2021 (9:47 pm)

      Parking minimums force the building to raise rents on everyone. Auntie, not everyone can afford that! I used to live in the junction for a couple years before buying my home and the monthly cost for a parking spot in 2015 was $200-$250. For the first few months, I purchased a monthly offsite diamond parking pass for $100 which was blocks away. I eventually realized it was not worth paying for car insurance, gas, and parking so I sold my car. It’s been a win for my pocket book, the environment, and my health.

  • Mr. X January 4, 2021 (4:46 pm)

    Where can I get one of the $2-$3 craft beers? Disappointing but completely understandable decision. We’re lucky it’s lasted as long as it did.

  • Morgan January 4, 2021 (4:50 pm)

    Could never believe they were still free…curious about selling air rights or condo-using dedicated stalls in exchange for denser housing development though….

    • onion January 4, 2021 (5:14 pm)

      I would rather pay the fee than lose a single merchant and the jobs and amenities they provide to our community. But even coming from Admiral Junction, most times I prefer to walk to and from Alaska Junction. It’s a really nice and doable walk.

  • Meeeee January 4, 2021 (5:01 pm)

    I totally get it, basic economics.I’ll continue to support the businesses and restaurants in the Junction.  I love my neighborhood and want the businesses to survive.

  • trickycoolj January 4, 2021 (5:23 pm)

    Unfortunate but not surprising.  Pre-covid parking was so bad at the Junction a few times last winter we gave up and just went grocery shopping instead of out to dinner.  Probably healthier, but not nearly as fun as a date night at the Junction.  Sucks for those of us in neighborhoods that are not walkable to retail of any kind.  Transit isn’t that wonderful if you’re not on a coveted North/South corridor.

    • Andrew January 4, 2021 (5:42 pm)

      Thankfully the fee would likely mean there’s going to be more parking spaces available.A couple of bucks for a parking spot beats no parking available at all when you had plans go out to eat.

      • Matt P January 5, 2021 (3:18 pm)

        Absolutely agree.  Looking forward to  finally being able to find parking, any parking.

  • skeeter January 4, 2021 (5:25 pm)

    I’m really interested in what Jort has to say about this.  Please comment when you have a chance!

    • LR January 4, 2021 (6:07 pm)

      I’m really  not interested in what he has to say.  Please don’t!

    • Spooled January 4, 2021 (7:16 pm)

      jort only has one thing to say, ever.  Everyone already knows how they feel.

      I’m sorry the free parking is gone, totally understand it was coming eventually, and grateful for it while it lasted.  I won’t go somewhere without parking.  However, even with parking, I stopped visiting the junction as a “fun” destination a few years ago.  I might pick up take-out food there to avoid delivery fees but that’s about it.

      • spooled January 4, 2021 (7:35 pm)

        Too late to edit my post.  I’m OK with paying for parking, depending on how much, so long as some exists somewhere within a few blocks.  Going forward, I hope they find a balance that turns over parking spaces often enough to support the demand, without costing too much to spend a couple hours walking around for those that want to browse.  At least curbside pickup is a thing in Rona times.

    • Jort January 4, 2021 (8:04 pm)

      For those who directly equate plentiful free parking with business success, I offer up as an exhibit the sad story of lonely Westwood Village, which has more parking than has literally ever been occupied at any one time, yet still struggles financially.  There are many factors that go into how businesses thrive. It is my hope that by charging for parking, the Junction businesses are no longer burdened by myopically catering to automobile enthusiasts by subsidizing their transportation choices at the expense of others. Perhaps now those owners will have the freedom to consider investing those parking subsidies into benefits for all who visit their shops, and not just those who choose to drive. 

      • Auntie January 4, 2021 (8:30 pm)

        Some of us “automobile enthusiasts” don’t have any other way to get around, driving is our only reasonable “transportation choice.” Unless we want to take convoluted, time-consuming bus trips, after we have walked blocks just to get to a bus stop. Get off your high horse and realize that not everyone can walk or bike to get around West Seattle. You can’t blame all of the world’s woes on cars and drivers, which seems to be your tune.

        • Rick January 4, 2021 (9:52 pm)

           Thank you Auntie and  LR.

          • John W January 4, 2021 (10:07 pm)

            Thank you JORT.

        • Ice January 4, 2021 (10:44 pm)

          If you want to drive that is fine, but just don’t expect local businesses to subsidize your choices. Take some responsibility for yourself. If you’ve set up your life in such a way that your only reasonable choice of transportation requires an enormous amount of space to store when you are not using it, then should be responsible for paying for that space.

          • Guy January 5, 2021 (12:06 am)

            “set up your life in such a way”?!? How disconnected are you? You do realize that living on a comfortable bus route costs more? So poorer people set up their lives in such a way? 

        • CAM January 4, 2021 (11:12 pm)

          Auntie, this isn’t a debate about accessibility. There will always be parking or other means of access guaranteed to individuals with disabilities or physical limitations. The idea is not to force everyone to use alternate transport. But, we need to start having a realistic conversation about convincing people in this city/country/world about not using private vehicles for transport when there are methods available to them (which they are able to access without great difficulty) that put less cost on the world as a whole. If people like me who were able to use public transit and other methods of transportation did so more regularly, that would free up space and access for individuals who can’t. We will never achieve those goals while people’s bad habits are still encouraged and subsidized by others. People will continue to shop in the junction no matter what. Note most of the commenters in this thread complaining about losing free parking say they stopped going to the junction already (pre covid) because it was too crowded and they couldn’t find parking. Those same people predict the downfall of the junction due to lack of business which screams of irony (again, excluding covid). 

        • bill January 4, 2021 (11:18 pm)

          In the short term we are stuck with the built environment we have – low-density housing made feasible by widespread car ownership and in turn requiring widespread car ownership. Auntie, like the rest of West Seattle, is starting to grapple with the physical ramifications of the roads being overpopulated with cars. Change is necessary, including for car owners.

        • Foop January 4, 2021 (11:25 pm)

          ‘walking blocks’ to a bus is hardly an outstanding effort. Though west seattle needs a better network. I have to drive to the junction because the only bus that gets me there no longer runs, and when it did run, would only come once and hour and was as true to schedule as most buses, unfortunately.

    • wscommuter January 5, 2021 (12:10 pm)

      I knew when I read this story, the anti-car zealots would show up with the entirely predictable ranting here.  Yawn.  The comments are predictable and unenlightening.  So be it.   

  • Rosey January 4, 2021 (5:44 pm)

    In partnership with Diamond Parking, who has been working with the Junction since 1997, the merchant-funded parking spaces will be upgraded to pay parking on January 15th, 2021.I mean, I totally get it given the circumstances and yes this is the first expense the local businesses should get rid of, but boy that is the loosest use of the term ‘upgraded’ I’ve seen in a written statement in a while.

  • ceejay January 4, 2021 (5:55 pm)

    I don’t buy the survey numbers nor that the money will go entirely to taxes. Diamond Parking has a long history…

    • WSB January 4, 2021 (6:07 pm)

      The announcement does not say the money “will go entirely to taxes.” It says, “100% of the Junction’s portion of the revenue from the paid parking will be applied to the tax burden.” Yes, Diomond charges money to run parking lots. The Junction already has long worked with them to enforce the time limits on the lots.

  • Raven January 4, 2021 (5:56 pm)

    Just curious… no mention of parallel street parking up/down California. Still free? If I’m reading correctly, this announcement is only for the 3 hour free lots in the Junction, correct?

    • WSB January 4, 2021 (6:04 pm)

      That’s not under WSJA’s control, it’s city space, but yes, it’s still free – the city has done reviews twice in the past decade and concluded both times that the street space should remain free. The announcement refers only to the lots.

      P.S. It should be noted, for anyone who hasn’t been to The Junction (or other local business districts) for a while, that some of those street spaces are currently used for restaurant/retail pickup.

  • AMD January 4, 2021 (6:01 pm)

    This is great news for Junction merchants!  There are so many other ways to get to the Junction, no need to make the merchants subsidize your parking.  For those who usually drive and are just starting to explore other options with the cost increase, you’ll be so excited the first time you spend a day shopping there and realize you have time to stop and have dinner too, without the 3-hour limit.  :)

    • Trickycoolj January 4, 2021 (10:34 pm)

      I was already going to Southcenter more often anyway since so many junction businesses close before I can get home from work.  Sorry.

      • Colonel Mustard's Wrench January 5, 2021 (6:22 pm)

        As free parking has disappeared in different business districts around the city over the decades, business districts have languished.  And yes, many have chosen to drive to Southcenter for the free parking. 
        We are watching the beginning of the death of the Alaska Junction.

  • AD January 4, 2021 (6:02 pm)

    This is sad but understandable. However, Lara Radford’s comment is ridiculous: “We live in a world where the definition of transportation has changed since the 1970s. People have the power to get around West Seattle in different ways,” says Lora Radford, West Seattle Junction Association Executive Director. As other commenters have mentioned, it is not easy to use transit unless you are on a major bus route, not to mention that during a pandemic, the bus is not an ideal option. Lara doesn’t talk about those who are not physically able to walk or ride a bike up and down hills to reach the junction in all weather conditions nor those who will not be able to afford parking. I truly hope that those who can afford to pay for parking will continue to frequent the vibrant local businesses of the  Alaska Junction. Perhaps Lara and the WS Junction Association can consider helping those who cannot.   

    • John W January 4, 2021 (6:46 pm)

      AD does not mention the many new options for transportation that heretofore did not exist.  Publicly subsidized rides for seniors and disabled as well as commercial ride services like Uber that offer inexpensive and the convenience of door to door.  Many of the disabled currently find the Junction lots too far from their Junction destinations. Lack of enforcement leaves many disabled only street parking spots occupied by selfish motorists. 

    • bill January 4, 2021 (11:20 pm)

      AD: How can a person afford to own and operate a car yet not be able to afford $3 for parking? Get real.

    • Jort January 4, 2021 (11:22 pm)

      Lara’s comment is actually quite appropriate, and not in any way “ridiculous.” A recent report shows that Seattle residents are driving fewer miles, per capita, than ever before. More and more people are taking the bus, biking and walking. People do have the power to get around in different ways, and transportation mindsets have changed since the 1970s. Maybe not for every Internet commentator/automobile enthusiast, but definitely for many! Please, don’t call Lara’s statement “ridiculous.” It’s grounded in facts, not feelings.

  • My two cents ... January 4, 2021 (6:55 pm)

    Well, it was great while it lasted and appreciate the efforts to keep this going as long as feasible.  It’s unfortunate that we are losing out on this neighborhood perk, but will keep supporting my local businesses.

  • Barb January 4, 2021 (7:12 pm)

    I support the business but I hate diamond  parking. I will walk to the junction and support my businesses. 

  • Anon January 4, 2021 (7:17 pm)

    Well this is going to be painful for the residents of the blocks surrounding the junction. People will just migrate their car to the surrounding residential streets and park there. Not everyone is rich or lives on a public transportation arterial.     

    • John W January 4, 2021 (7:31 pm)

      ANON, You just provided the argument for charging for all street parking.

      • LR January 4, 2021 (8:02 pm)

        No Anon is absolutely right. That’s exactly what will happen.  People absolutely hate dealing with Diamond parking and paying them.   Once again this wasn’t thought completely through.  Pay diamond parking or walk a block…gee tough decision.  I think that the way the junction parking was structured was actually working fairly well.  A rarity in Seattle. 

        • John W January 4, 2021 (10:15 pm)

          Pay diamond parking or walk a block…gee tough decision.”
          LR, the decision would be Pay Diamond or Pay the City to park on California Ave close to your destination?

          Either way monetizing ALL STREET parking could obviate the dreaded block walk since there would be no reason to park a block away and still be required to pay.

        • Ice January 4, 2021 (10:59 pm)

          If the neighbors are so concerned about the parking in front of their house, how about we have them cover the cost to keep these lots free? Free parking is basically the equivalent of Soviet breadlines. If you give something away for free, it will be abused and cause shortages. 

      • Chris January 4, 2021 (8:06 pm)

        Thanks John, you must work for the city.  “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street; if you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat; if you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat; if you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet”. – George HarrisonBTW, the city already collects taxes on the streets.

        • John W January 4, 2021 (10:33 pm)

          Yes Chris, the Beatles and the Stones decamped from England to avoid parking fees,  not to avoid taxes on hundreds of millions of Pounds  they made.
          Could that have led to the tragedy of John Lennon?  Back in the day street parking was also “free” in NYC. 
          NYC was ahead of Seattle with street cleaning.  In school I had to get up early to find a spot on the other side of the street in Greenwich Village for street cleaning days.
          Most of us don’t have the options of super rich rock stars.
          Notable and despite their famous musical attack on taxing the wealthy, the last time I was in London, personal cars were not even allowed in the city center.

    • Frog January 4, 2021 (8:15 pm)

      Oh well, no free parking in Manhattan, so why should you expect it in Seahattan? The only place I personally ever went is NW Art and Frame, balancing their higher prices against the gas and time it takes to get to JoAnn or Michael’s in South Center.   Now throw parking in the mix, and the calculus shifts in favor of South Center.  (Or Amazon, which doesn’t charge for parking.  Just need to think ahead.  Junction businesses fall to “emergency or last resort” on the option list.)  Oh, and twice I parked in the lots to go to the farmers’ market, but that’s over.  Whatever, you can’t stop progress.  Some junction businesses won’t be viable without car traffic, and there will be gradual turnover in favor of whatever can survive on foot traffic or destination business for the wealthy for whom the process of paying matters more than the actual money.  Don’t even talk about public transport.  Last I heard, that’s not free either.  Unless you have a monthly pass, a round trip costs more than parking for a short errand.  Mostly this will reinforce the gradual change in character of West Seattle, and will intensify pressure to build apartment blocks on those lots and end parking altogether.  When West Seattle looks like the set of ‘Blade Runner’, you will know that Jort is truly happy.

      • John W January 4, 2021 (10:45 pm)

        The cost of driving a car is far more than the cost of gas.  The AAA  figure is $0.38 – 0.66 per mile which is close to the feds allowance.  So,  driving to South Center roundtrip actually costs an hour of your time as well as $12 to $25, all to  support non-local business?

        • zark00` January 5, 2021 (10:04 am)

          @ John W – you think it costs $12 – $25 to drive to Southcenter? And you actually believe that people calculate ‘wear and tear on the vehicle’ as a ‘real cost’?  I have this bridge I’d like to show you, low miles, you can have it for a song!

          • John W January 5, 2021 (10:40 am)

            Zarkoo, I don’t believe people actually realize much less calculate the real cost of driving a single occupancy car because we have been subjected to a century of marketing of the great American reliance on automobiles – so much so that we have come to view this myth  as a sacrosanct birth right. 

        • Frog January 5, 2021 (12:55 pm)

          Most of the expense of owning a car is fixed.  You can do the math, and calculate a total cost per mile, but don’t get fooled by your math skills.  Insurance, taxes, and some of the maintenance are fixed costs not created by driving extra miles.  Social engineers like to think of people as all being the same, because it simplifies their logic and enhances their sense of control.  But individual circumstances vary enormously, in ways that individuals can easily manage for themselves but which clog the head of the social engineer.  For example, when I drive my evil car to QFC to park in their lovely FREE garage while shopping for groceries, I could make a pre-stop in a junction parking lot to pick up something from a shop there.  Or I could skip that, and put the item on my list until I have enough to justify a trip to Southcenter or qualify for free shipping from Amazon or Walmart.  $2 for parking would definitely affect that decision.  Or while out driving for some other necessary task, I could stop in the Junction on the way home, vs. making a side trip to some nefarious big box store elsewhere that has a parking lot wasteland for free storage of my evil car.  Etc.

        • zark00` January 5, 2021 (2:22 pm)

          @ John W – America IS reliant on automobiles, it has nothing to do with ‘evil evil marketing’ it is quite literally the infrastructure we have to work with.  You can hope, wish and dream that it was different, but that won’t make it so.  We have no rail system, our public transportation is woefully inadequate, our cities are not built to accommodate other means of travel.  Trying to convince people that they are morally deficient because they drive cars is about as self aggrandizing as it gets.  Hopefully you do not own any cars and never ride in them or benefit from them in any way; otherwise you’d be a total hypocrite. 

          • Jon Wright January 6, 2021 (1:33 pm)

            I disagree with Frog’s post: significant cost of owning a car IS related to amount driven. Regular preventative maintenance is generally on a mileage schedule. Insurance rates differ depending upon how much you drive. Fuel use depends on mileage. And the value of your vehicle depends on how many miles it has been driven. As for the hypocrisy, I own a car and drive it plenty. But I also recognize that there are lots of externalized costs associated with driving and believe that my fellow vehicle owners and I–and not the public at large–should bear those costs. I disagree with the notion that there should be any obligation by any entity to provide free private property storage (aka parking).

      • Jort January 4, 2021 (11:12 pm)

        It’s so true, frog. Paying a reasonable fee to store your private vehicle on somebody’s private land is just one more definitive step on the way to a science-fiction-like dystopian hellscape of 7,000 story mega-towers. One day it’s the Farmer’s Market, then before you know it, it’s a squalid gutter of filth, grime and lawlessness, all because they charged people to store their cars for a couple hours. Paying a few bucks is so harmful to the sometimes fragile psyche of drivers, I suppose, that they will actually pay more in gas and vehicle wear-and-tear and take more time to drive even farther away to crappier big-box, non-local stores. This paradox is truly worth psychological study.

  • CarDriver January 4, 2021 (7:45 pm)

    WSB. Will quick in/out(10min or less)visit’s to the bank/store be required to pay? 

    • WSB January 4, 2021 (7:50 pm)

      I’ll ask.

    • Mel January 5, 2021 (9:59 am)

      My question as well. I only go to the junction to pickup takeout or go to Chase. Guess I’ll be going to a different bank with free parking. And as someone with young kids who often just runs into Husky or bakery nouveau to pick up food to go, I’ll be thinking twice before I head up there. Not because I don’t support our local businesses, but I’m not going to pay for parking to run into Husky for ice cream with my 2 year old and newborn. That’s a stop that takes 15min or less.

      • WSB January 5, 2021 (10:09 am)

        I don’t believe Chase’s own spaces behind the bank (and Verity next to it) are affected. Will check on that too.

      • Wsdad January 5, 2021 (6:41 pm)

        If you car so much about continuing to patronize local businesses, you can always park for free on the street, or is that below you?

        • Mel January 5, 2021 (7:08 pm)

          Wow why so snarky? It is extremely hard at times to find street parking up there. And again, with a 2 year old and a newborn I won’t be walking blocks in the rain. Thanks for being such an empathetic neighbor.

      • Rick January 7, 2021 (10:34 am)

        That’s part of the price you pay for having babies. Not to be borne by others.

  • Zoë Freeman January 4, 2021 (7:54 pm)

    I am happy to pay the parking fee in order to shop in our Junction and support our Merchants.  Creating and maintaining community is very important to me.

  • Too bad January 4, 2021 (8:07 pm)

    This added step, not the money to pay, will definitely prevent me from shopping locally as often. I often stop in to pick up a quick loaf of bread, or sandwich fixings, a cup of coffee, etc. managing two children and paying for parking will make these stops less convenient and so less likely for me. I know we’ve been spoiled with the free parking, but it also encourages us to shop with these merchants rather than big grocery stores or drive through food. Something like a prepaid junction parking sticker would be awesome and help keep things easy. 

    • K January 5, 2021 (9:41 am)

      I second this.  I’d be happy to pay an annual fee in order to avoid the hassle of going through the payment process every time I visit.  Many of my visits are quick trips. 

      • WSdad January 5, 2021 (9:57 am)

        Cool, less people in the way, makes it easier for me and my three kids.

    • ACG January 5, 2021 (4:21 pm)

      I also like the idea of a prepaid sticker. 

    • Highland Park neighbor January 6, 2021 (2:15 pm)

      I think a prepaid sticker or placard would be a great idea. I would buy an annual pass and I can’t bike or take my 85 yr old mother on a bus, but we love the businesses in the Junction.

  • Tony January 4, 2021 (8:21 pm)

    But somehow, University Village manages to have free parking both in their lots and 3 story garages. 

    • jack January 4, 2021 (9:13 pm)

      Tony, don’t talk of such blasphemy!

      • New Paradigm January 4, 2021 (10:45 pm)

        Funny, because University Village was developed by the same company as Westwood Village in West Seattle. Yet today, U Village is an altogether much nicer experience. Goes to show how different management strategies, good ownership, and neighborhood demographics result in vastly different outcomes. Unlike the Junction, however, U Village and Westwood are both privately owned and can offer free parking. I hope the tide will turn for our run-down little Westwood Village. Suffice to say, I’m not a Ross shopper…

        • Derek January 4, 2021 (11:35 pm)

          I’m guessing you haven’t been to UVillage in awhile? Have had two friends get their car broken into there and one had a hit and run. It’s crap. 

          • Mel January 5, 2021 (10:02 am)

            Yes there’s crime there but at least they have good stores that draw a decent clientele. A Marshall’s and a Ross? Really? Uvillage has lululemon, din tai dung, pottery barn and many others.

          • CAM January 5, 2021 (11:21 am)

            Sorry, I consider myself decent clientele and have shopped frequently at Marshalls and Ross. I also shop at higher end stores when I wish to. Maybe you could consider the privilege and inherent racism of your comment?

          • Mel January 5, 2021 (2:15 pm)

            Racism? Seriously? What about me saying “clientele” is racist? It has nothing to do with the color of ones skin. You’d know that if you knew that I am BIPOC. Stop trying to create an issue where there isn’t.

          • Derek January 5, 2021 (10:57 am)

            How rich do you think we are over here?

    • AMD January 4, 2021 (9:32 pm)

      UVillage has a lot more large national retailers that can shoulder the burden of subsidizing parking.  It’s more akin to Westwood Village.  The Junction is almost entirely small, locally owned businesses.

    • wscommuter January 5, 2021 (12:17 pm)

      @Cam … seriously?  “inherent racism”?  Perhaps I’m not sufficiently woke, but I think Mel’s point is just that U Village is a thriving retail mall – whereas Westwood Village isn’t.   A fair reading of Mel’s comment is about economic traffic, not human worth.  Try being a bit less sensitive.  It’s just a fact that Westwood Village is slowly dying from what it might have been.  I shop at both – Westwood and U Village.  I wish very much that Westwood could sustain a greater diversity of retail options – but it can’t/doesn’t.   So I trek to U Village (happily) for the things I can’t get at Westwood.  

      • CAM January 6, 2021 (12:02 am)

        Let’s discuss it. Let’s discuss the use of the phrase “decent clientele” (not solely the word clientele) and it’s attachment to two different groups of businesses. One of those groups of businesses are discount retailers that traditionally cater to lower income populations, which also tend to be more likely to be BIPOC. The other businesses sell $100 leggings, upscale asian food, and overpriced shabby chic cottage inspired home decor. I think on most days you’d find very different populations patronizing these two groups of businesses. Maybe Mel’s choice of words was merely inartful but language matters. Based on how you’ve described your prior profession in historical posts I would assume that you agree that how you present your argument impacts it’s reception and interpretation. Maybe choosing different establishments or not referencing the types of patrons attracted to the businesses at all and instead focusing on attracting other businesses the argument would have been more palatable? In conclusion, Marshalls and Ross are fine establishments no matter the shade thrown at them above. My professional friends and I enjoy them immensely and they helped a lot of us make it through graduate school and the early years of our professional careers. They aren’t a detriment to any mall. 

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench January 5, 2021 (6:34 pm)

      Yes, U Village will be the shopping destination worth the drive.

  • WestOfBridges January 4, 2021 (8:54 pm)

    You think that’s bad just wait for the city council to realize how much revenue can be generated with meters the entire length of California AVE….

    • WSB January 4, 2021 (9:11 pm)

      As noted in the story, the city rejected metered parking here again two years ago. That was nine years after the previous review. Next one isn’t likely to be any time soon.

    • jissy January 4, 2021 (10:13 pm)

      Westofbridges…. I’m not even 50 yet (but close) and actually remember when the entire 2 blocks of the Junction did have coin meters.   MIWS, where are you to back me up?    Think it was 0.15/hr in the early to mid 1980’s when Windermere was still JCPenney.  

      • Peter S. January 6, 2021 (12:09 pm)

        Not MIWS, but “old” enough to remember when it was metered, now that you reminded me.  Didn’t last long IIRC, due to community opposition.  Go figure.   

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench January 5, 2021 (6:36 pm)

      With the financial hit of the pandemic, the city may revisit metering all of California Avenue sooner than you think.

  • Lost customer January 4, 2021 (9:24 pm)

    Pre-COVID, it was such a hassle to park in the Junction I didn’t bother much. During COVID, I’ve learned I have little reason to go to the Junction and I haven’t and don’t miss it much. Post-COVID, the huge parking hassle will return but now charge me money. No thank you. The hassle of buses is definitely not worth it either. I’ll stick with my hyper-local neighborhood.

  • Matt Hutchins January 4, 2021 (9:36 pm)

    We’ve been to date shielded from the high price of free parking—it only makes sense that publicly available parking spaces, whether on the street or on a private lot, have a value which should be borne by the user, rather than subsidized by either the City (i.e. everyone) or the merchants (again, passed thru to every customer whether you arrived by car or not).

  • Nwem January 4, 2021 (9:55 pm)

    Hopefully this diamond parking will be easier to use than others. The pay systems I’ve seen from diamond are not user friendly. And you don’t want a ticket from diamond…

  • Joe Z January 4, 2021 (9:58 pm)

    Charging $ for parking makes it easier to find parking. It’s a win-win. 

  • StopCuttingDownTrees January 4, 2021 (10:03 pm)

    Along with the danger of rising violent crime in the Junction, all-pay parking will simply make me avoid Junction stores without provided parking. I’ll still shop at Jefferson Square and Trader Joe’s, but since we live in Arbor Heights, we have all the stores we need in Westwood Village, Roxbury, White Center,  and North Burien. It’s great that lots of people live within walking distance of the Junction. But I doubt many of them would walk, bike, or bus their way 3 miles south if Westwood Village charged for parking.

  • KK January 4, 2021 (10:25 pm)

    Now? Now is the time to start charging for parking in the Junction? This is insult to injury. The Junction businesses are hanging on by a thread and now people are supposed to swallow the bitter pill of having to pay to patronize the establishments that have managed to stay open in some fashion? Apparently Lora Radford, etal, live close enough to walk. The rest of us? Well way to kill the heart of West Seattle. Shameful. 

    • Jort January 4, 2021 (11:15 pm)

      Do you honestly believe that charging a few bucks for private vehicle storage will “kill the heart of West Seattle?” I guess I think that is a very bleak, sort of sad way of viewing what makes our neighborhood special. I always thought the “heart” of West Seattle was in its vibrant, diverse, passionate people. But maybe you think it’s the parking? I guess we’ll see.

    • Frog January 5, 2021 (12:35 pm)

      No, it won’t kill the junction.  Instead, it will spur further development.  Starting the day after tomorrow, there will be increasing calls to build apartment blocks on the parking lots to increase the number of consumers who can walk to the nearby businesses.  If they will depend on walkers, it’s urgent to increase the number of walkers by building more housing close by.   Also, to increase development on the bus lines that pass through the junction.  Urban village is but a temporary stop on the way to full urban.  Nothing ever stands still.

  • ARPigeonPoint January 4, 2021 (10:29 pm)

    Forgive me if I missed it, but are there hours during which parking will be free? 

  • New Paradigm January 4, 2021 (10:36 pm)

    I used to ride the bus to work everyday and would occasionally take the bus to the Junction. That was pre-COVID. I haven’t set foot on a bus or an Uber or any form of transportation other than my car since March of 2020. I’ve known people who have gotten very sick from COVID and others who have died. Not going to risk health just to shop at a place with very limited offerings, anyway. Paid parking only creates a further disincentive. Just like the bozos on SkyScraperCity who wish to bulldoze all of Seattle for urban density, only the “true believer” commenters on the blog who continually offer up public and alternative transportation still hold out hope for that car-free urban utopia. Have you ever rented a scooter? I haven’t. Hate to burst your bubbles, but COVID has changed everything for generations to come. Amazon, Walmart, Target, Zoom, etc. All hail our new social distance-facilitating overlords, as their ain’t no going back to the old ways now. At the end of the day, when push comes to shove, price and convenience mean more to customers than “maintaining” a neighborhood vibe. 

    • Derek January 4, 2021 (11:39 pm)

      Disagree on almost every point you made. Maintaining a neighborhood vibe is crucial and without it we all sit in our homes all day and that sucks. COVID is over come June 2021. (in the sense that the hospitals won’t be filled to the extent they are to now and should be in Phase 4 or 5 by then) It’s not that far away. 

    • Jort January 5, 2021 (12:42 pm)

      Do you think that the “neighborhood vibe” is reliant on not having to pay a fee to store your private vehicle on a giant private parking lot? That’s weird.

  • S January 4, 2021 (11:28 pm)

    Like many of you, I’m sad to see the end of the free parking era. I find it interesting that no one talks about how this will impact families. Sure, I can take a nice long walk to the junction by myself if I have 3 hours to spare to get there, browse some shops, and head home, but it’s not at all something I could do with 3 young kids. Or without childcare.  I’m sure we’ll still make it there occasionally, but in my view our city is becoming harder to navigate for people with young children. I do hope the lots can try something different for payment, like a good to go pass style of payment. Vehicles could be scanned on entry and exit, and pay according to the time they were parked.  maybe there could be some special areas for bikes, motorcycles, and scooters too. Less of these parked on sidewalks would make it easier for pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, and those pushing strollers. 

  • Chemist January 4, 2021 (11:45 pm)

    On the topic of Junction parking, the Junction RPZ has already expanded to the north by a block and to the south by another block or two (the map has some oddities about streetfaces outside the rpz zone being eligible for rpz permits).  Looks like making folks pay to park in the merchant lots could also lead into modifying the RPZ hours.   

  • Bernie January 4, 2021 (11:46 pm)

    No one mentioned how the junction  association had parking near the junction limited to two hours.  Doesn’t sound very user friendly if one had wanted to shop, have dinner etc.  and be forced to pay for 3 or 4 hours of parking.  Also sounds like it will kill the old folks at the Senior Center, many of whom cannot afford the parking bill and are too sickly to walk.  It also will make me  reevaluate just stopping for 5 minutes and picking up a sandwich or something at Huskies or a car at Northwest art and frame etc. 

  • Seabruce January 4, 2021 (11:59 pm)

    Wow, lots of comments. Would it be better/cheaper for the trustee partners to develop the lots and include parking spaces that they could rent to the association at market rates?I live on Genesee Hill near Schmitz Park so walking back up the hill after shopping is not practical. Would the association look at setting up a shuttle since Metro cancelled Ride2? That would be my preference instead of driving and parking

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench January 5, 2021 (6:43 pm)

      Seabruce, your shuttle idea is the best suggestion yet. 
      WS Junction Association, can you put a free shuttle together ?

  • Stevie J January 5, 2021 (12:34 am)

    Drivers and parkers – you were already paying for parking by shopping at these retailers. However, you were subsidized by those who either didn’t drive or those who drove and didn’t make a purchase. Now you will pay the actual price of parking, and people who don’t drive won’t be subsidizing your transportation. 

    The good news is that there will likely be more spots available, so you can get your shopping done more quickly. 

    Your housing isn’t free, the merchants’ rent isn’t free, and the products aren’t free. Storing your private vehicle on private property is no longer free, either. 

    • Smittytheclown January 5, 2021 (6:46 am)

      Are you saying that prices will decrease as a result? Hardly.  If people are already paying X for an item why on earth would you reduce that price?

  • Doug Leary January 5, 2021 (2:13 am)

    The death of free parking, like the sirens I now hear every f***ing day, will be just one more joy of living in an URBAN VILLAGE instead of a NEIGHBORHOOD. 

    • WSB January 5, 2021 (6:04 am)

      Most sirens are medical calls. (You can check here when you hear something.) Full-code (lights and sirens) police calls are few. As for the “urban village” part, that goes back 30 years. (Interesting to look at the original vision.)

  • Mm January 5, 2021 (4:04 am)

    I would have liked to see restaurants expand outdoor seating out into the sidewalk at the expense of street parking, and keep the free parking in the lots in the back. 

  • DeadEnder January 5, 2021 (5:29 am)

    The WSJA probably won’t do the math on how much business is lost due to paid parking. I am hoping the businesses do, and change their minds on this. I don’t have any problem affording parking, but I know that others do, and find this one of the larger changes that inner Seattle development is forcing on the rest of the neighborhoods. I don’t see this as progress, though I respect the business association has to do what they think best. The false-choice survey cited is their self-justification to decrease expenses, or increase profits, is all they need to sleep through the night, fine. Just don’t expect to find open street parking starting January 16, 2021.  

    • Derek January 5, 2021 (8:08 am)

      No real legit city does free parking. It’s as antiquated as smoking in bars. 

    • Agreed January 5, 2021 (4:33 pm)

      Agreed. I also suspect that by “Junction Merchants” what they mean is the landlords that own the buildings the merchants lease from told them that they had to choose higher rent or give up the free parking. This is totally speculation as I don’t know how many rent vs. own and what the contracts around covering the free lot looked like, but this just doesn’t seem like a decision a small business owner trying to attract business to themselves would make. 

  • CarDriver January 5, 2021 (7:07 am)

    All those saying “NO” to cars  So you get your wish and do away with cars. That means NO car tab money. That means NO gas/sales tax revenue. What do you tell Metro/ST?? Maybe raise fares to make riders pay the actual cost?? Make bike/transit riders pay for road repair/upgrades??.

  • anonyme January 5, 2021 (7:16 am)

    I rely 100% on public transportation and used to visit the Junction several times a week.  Unfortunately, all daytime and weekend bus service to Arbor Heights has been eliminated, so that won’t be happening anymore.   My absence alone will not affect businesses, but I’m sure I’m not the only one to eschew driving to the Junction in favor of other means of transportation, only to find those transportation choices seriously limited, or removed.  West Seattle would benefit from a shopping shuttle.  I’m for paid parking everywhere, btw, but combined with adequate public transport.

  • Mountain Dawg January 5, 2021 (7:38 am)

    I can understand the free parking dilemma, however this action will also mean more residential streets, like mine near the Junction, will need to petition for RPZ status. As it is, our narrow streets are being clogged with day-long, non-resident cars taking spaces in front of our homes and honking their horns as they lock their cars.

  • SOL January 5, 2021 (7:48 am)

    The Diamonds could have waited until the pandemic was over. This is BS. Their business does not need the money right now. They have been fat-cats of the city for a long time. They could have waited until next year. Another case of the rich getting richer and ceasing upon an opportunity when they know that the junction businesses cannot fundraise out of this tight spot.

  • shotinthefoot January 5, 2021 (8:25 am)

    Personally, I’d sooner crawl to the junction on my hands and knees over broken glass than pay one penny to that crooked Diamond Parking. Maybe if the WSJA had someone other than that operating these lots it would sting a lot less. Oh well. Viva White Center! 

  • Aware in WS January 5, 2021 (8:44 am)

    My only regret is that West Seattle is now filling the pockets of Diamond Parking, whose shady business practices have long been under scrutiny.   Many thanks to our generous West Seattle merchants for these lots free for so long.  Shop local – now more than ever!

  • Jeff B January 5, 2021 (9:21 am)

    I am certainly willing to pay for parking, but hoping that it will be a friction-less as possible.  PayByPhone is super easy to use, much more so than those kiosk machines.

  • Al January 5, 2021 (10:09 am)

    This is fantastic, now I don’t have to share my parking lot with poor people! Just like our new toll tunnel through downtown —a magical private road for the rich, it’s so nice! This is truly the future, those with money get privileges over those without, as shared publicly-funded options vanish. …and all the while it’s cheered on by the bicycle crowd. Like Jort says, let the poor ride the bus.

    • WSB January 5, 2021 (10:29 am)

      To be clear: These parking lots are not and have not been public property (unlike the tunnel, which is a public highway). They are on privately owned land, leased to the Junction Association (which is a nonprofit).

      • Al January 5, 2021 (10:34 am)

        Nonetheless… It was a shared expense before, borne by all who used the junction (despite being privately owned), and it will now change to be an individual expense borne only by those who can afford it. That makes this a great time to be one of those who can afford it, and a bad time to be one of those who can’t.  Exactly like the tunnel.

        • John W January 5, 2021 (10:51 am)

          Al appears ignorant of the actual cost of driving on “free” streets.  When one takes into account the time spent idling at stop lights and stuck in traffic to avoid the tunnel, the tunnel becomes a bargain.  Take the tunnel and your car is getting highway mileage.  Take the surface streets and cut that mileage in half.  How can the poor afford the extra gas as well as time not being able to work?

        • Jort January 5, 2021 (12:39 pm)

          Oooo, I think you might want to pull out a dictionary for the definition of “exactly,” as there is a pretty exact difference between tolling a public road and charging for private vehicle storage on private parking lots. Not quite “exactly” the same.

        • aa January 6, 2021 (6:23 am)

          Good thing for Al both have options. there are ways to go through downtown and north without using the tunnel and there are ways to shop in the junction without using those parking lots.  

  • Disappointed January 5, 2021 (11:19 am)

    I detest Diamond and don’t want to give them a penny! I will go south to White Center and Burien which is almost as convenient with a car and more shopping options. I am a handicapped senior and walking to the Junction is not an option for me although I have loved supporting the local Junction businesses. Sad

    • WSB January 5, 2021 (11:33 am)

      Good news! Almost every business has online options so you can support local businesses without even leaving home – some offer delivery, some offer curbside pickup.(we listed dozens of links in our Holiday Guide, but they’re year-round … we need to find a permanent home for that list, but The Junction in the meantime has a directory here)

    • Jort January 5, 2021 (12:37 pm)

      If you are unable to walk, you should make a quick call to 206-553-3000 and get in touch with King County Metro’s Accessible Services! They can hook you up with MANY types of transportation options specifically meant for people with disabilities, often at little to NO cost! That way you will be able to keep supporting the local Junction businesses you so love! Not sad.

    • aa January 6, 2021 (6:25 am)

      Burien has more shopping options than the junction?  not in a walkable several block radius. sure there is the old town area but that has nowhere near the variety of stores and services.

  • Louisa Eastman January 5, 2021 (1:38 pm)

    I find this a continued de humanization of the “charm” that the Junction supposedly has…huge apartment buildings with little or no parking, for one thing. Although “progress” may be inevitable, there is one small open space that instead of being a gracious greeting to entering the California/Alaska junction, has often become a refuge for homeless people and not usable for many. This newest “progressive” decision puts an added hardship on Senior Citizens who go to the Senior Center .

    • Stevie J January 5, 2021 (9:05 pm)

      Weird that you consider more humans living near the Junction “dehumanizing”.

  • Don_Brubeck January 5, 2021 (3:08 pm)

    Good decision by the merchants association.  The “free parking” is not free. The cost is passed on to all customers no matter whether they are using the lots or not, by raising prices to cover the charges.  It’s time to stop forcing the majority of customers who walk, bike or take the bus to subsidize those who drive and park in the lots.

  • Matt P January 5, 2021 (3:23 pm)

    Will it at least be easy to pay?  Because paying for Diamond parking in other parts of Seattle in this age or technology is still way too hard.

  • sgs January 5, 2021 (3:39 pm)

    This is a reasonable cost to living in a city, so I’m not speaking against it.   I think it will not be long before the $2-$3/hour rate will be raised to downtown rates and that will be a bummer.  We are not downtown, we are a neighborhood and in that way, it is not an “upgrade.”  We are definitely pro-bike, but being retired and not living anywhere near a bus stop with hills all around, ditching the car for all the things I do (that generate jobs for business and tax revenue for the city), isn’t viable as things stand.Love this new use of the phrase “private vehicle storage” for parking.  Bikes are parked on city property and they are private vehicles, so let’s charge for parking them.   I do understand the subsidy (not charging for bike parking) for encouraging behavior, but really, cars are still a necessary fact of life.

    • reed January 5, 2021 (5:31 pm)

      Here is a visual comparing the footprint of a bike to that of a car; your argument of charging for bike storage is nonsense. And remember, most of us who function day to day primarily by bike also own cars, so if there is any subsidizing occurring, it me subsidizing the person who drives everywhere and “can’t” function without a car. Cars are not a necessity of life in an urban environment, they are a luxury.

      • Auntie January 5, 2021 (6:19 pm)

        Some of us “can’t” function without a car. It is over 3 blocks from my house to the nearest bus stop (downhill going, uphill – steep – returning) and then I would have to take two buses to get from here to the Junction. That would likely take over an hour each way. Not to mention that it would be difficult, at best, for me to walk the 3 blocks uphill or downhill. And doctor appointments on First Hill – probably at least two hours each way with multiple bus transfers. For me, a car is a necessity of life, not a luxury.  

  • Brian January 5, 2021 (4:36 pm)

    Question: will a number of spots be reserved for short-term parking only?  If all spots are available for early bird or 10 hour parking, I see the lots filling up first thing in the morning with commuters and staying full until 6pm.  How will that benefit local businesses?  For example, I visit Beer Junction regularly.  If I can’t find a spot I would go to Safeway or QFC instead… I get that local merchants need this lot revenue, but I’m really concerned it will just become a defacto park and ride situation.

    • sw January 5, 2021 (4:53 pm)

      Precisely.  $5 early bird parking from 6am-6pm?  You’ve created a park-and-ride lot.  I would like to see a cap of 4 hours, which will let the spaces turn over more frequently.  That time span will accommodate most people’s needs.  

  • Greg January 5, 2021 (4:52 pm)

    The wisdom of Jeff Bezos was recognizing that retail customers will always want 1) lower prices 2) wider selection 3) convenience. Increasing the cost of a shopping visit while simultaneously harming the overall convenience inevitably increases customer attrition.  It’s a tale as old as Retail itself; anyone thinking that 100% of customer visits will still happen is delusional.

    • Colonel Mustard's Wrench January 5, 2021 (7:06 pm)

      Yes, and the timing of going to pay lots during the pandemic will be a disaster.

  • WSB January 5, 2021 (5:26 pm)

    I am working on a followup for tonight or tomorrow but in the short run the answers to some of the questions people have asked (mostly the “how will it work” questions) are now added to the Junction’s post:
    Also re: the spaces directly attached to the back of some businesses on the west side of California – Chase, Verity, Next to Nature, for example – those are not affected. – TR

  • CarDriver January 5, 2021 (5:37 pm)

    WSB. What will their enforcement be??

    • WSB January 5, 2021 (5:41 pm)

      Like any other paid parking lot, its manager (Diamond in this case) employs people to check for noncompliance. Which, as I mentioned upthread, they do already anyway.

  • CarDriver January 5, 2021 (5:53 pm)

    Also, will this be enforced 7 day’s a week?

  • Mj January 5, 2021 (6:08 pm)

    Monetizing parking makes sense, when will the City follow suit?  This should be a no brainer for a City hard up for $.

  • LivesInWS January 5, 2021 (8:19 pm)

    ” parking spaces will be upgraded to pay parking”

    Well, that’s an interesting use of “upgrading.”

  • ataribear January 5, 2021 (9:41 pm)

    Let’s see:  No free parking at the Junction + No route 22 bus service from Arbor Heights = Time to start shopping elsewhere.  Its about the same distance from Arbor Heights to Burien as it is to the Junction…

  • Sue January 6, 2021 (8:51 am)

    I don’t consider a $2 to $3 charge per hour to be “moderate,” especially when shifting from $0 per hour and in the middle of a pandemic/recession. I think a majority of people who park in those lots are parking for 2-3 hours – dinner, shopping, theater – and that could now add almost $10 to the cost of that trip. I get that times have changed, prices have gone up, and they need to consider charging for parking.  Might have been nice if they eased into it with much lower amounts to begin with. 

  • Rick January 6, 2021 (9:02 am)

    Soon the “state” will own all formerly privately owned vehicles and charge you accordingly for their use if you don’t use their bloated transportation system. And they will make your decisions for you too. Since you are unable to make the correct ones. I’m going to read 1984 for the twelfth time.

    • Jort January 6, 2021 (8:43 pm)

      Yes, because in every other society in the developed world that has better functioning transportation systems, this is exactly what happens. In Paris and London, for example, they take you car and tell you everything you have to do with your entire life. It is truly 1984 over there, and it all started because they started to charge for parking OMG!!!!

  • Phil Sweetland January 6, 2021 (12:09 pm)

    My trips to the Junction are usually short term.  I will not pay $2.00 for a quick stop at Northwest Frame, Huskies, Starbucks or any other store without parking.  Other places on the peninsula are available without a parking fee.

  • skeeter January 6, 2021 (1:24 pm)

    Just to be clear — I refuse to pay for parking.  And I’m not going to drive around and around looking for a free parking space on the street.  I’m gonna stick it to the man and ride my bike from now on.  When the weather is horrible I’ll get a ride from my wife.  She can circle the block while I get my Chipotle on.

  • Alki Kraken January 6, 2021 (2:45 pm)

    Count me out! Will definitely have to alter shopping habits for those trips to NW frame or grab a quick take out. Fumbling with the payment process with Diamond is miserable. Another hit to the once lovely and enjoyable WS. 

    • WSB January 6, 2021 (2:58 pm)

      Every restaurant in The Junction has reserved spots out front for “quick takeout.” That will not change.

  • Meyer January 6, 2021 (7:21 pm)

    Anyone know if there will be free parking at night? Like Seattle street parking is?

    • WSB January 6, 2021 (7:44 pm)

      I am still awaiting that answer from WSJA.

  • bob January 13, 2021 (7:13 am)

    When I lived in the junction many years ago, there was talk of putting up tall parking garages.  They dont have to be in the junction but off a block or two.  Northpark in San Diego has a similar vibe to WSJ there is a tall parking structure behind businesses. It was safe, resolved all parking issues and allowed people to walk to shops on main drag. There was still street parking but nothing behind the businesses. It would certainly provide space going up  not using valuable land and it was not an eyesore. Something to think about. 

  • another commuter January 14, 2021 (1:32 pm)

    Thanks for screwing employees more! It’s bad enough we already have to move our vehicles 1-2 times per shift but why stop there, now we get to move them 2-3 times or pay to park. After commuting in which takes over an hour since the bridge is down, our employers are trying to survive to stay open, now we get to pay for our own parking to bring business to your city?!

  • Skye January 21, 2021 (3:50 pm)

    Dear Westies,I have lived in our gorgeous neighborhood since 1999. I was a retail expert consulting national, regional & local retailers for over 25 years. It’s scientifically proven that women are the primary shopper of households (70+%).   Those women will decrease their shopping if the visibility of retail is more than 100 feet and they are very conscious about the cost of parking, the product purchase & the safety of the children they may have in tow.  Every shopping center you park for free in the Greater Puget Sound, every retailer pays their pro-rata share of the real estate taxes, maintenance & repair of that property.  As you know, these are income generating properties, so their real estate taxes & fees could be significantly higher or the same as West Seattle vacant lots.  But the retailer know to have consistent frequency of shoppers to build their own income, they need free parking.  Kemper Freeman, owner of Bellevue Square talks about this at every public industry speech – he knows free parking is his greatest asset & that property grosses the highest sales per square foot in the State of Washington.  Of all the times, during a pandemic when many are tightening their pocket books, merchants need the frequency of shoppers, people are afraid to even stroll far from their car/home during the pandemic and when it’s scientifically proven free parking increases the frequency of shopping, my question is WHY NOW?   The statement from our mayor that we have public transportation is ridiculous, when every/most bus stops through our West Seattle community is closed.  Uber prices are out of control – the same ride in the most progressively growing Austin, Texas for a handicap or Mom with kids cost three times more in West Seattle.  In essence, West Seattle is treated pushed aside as a self reliant suburban but yet is an urban culture that had ample bus service in 1999 – but not now.  In addition,  why isn’t the City of Seattle giving us tax credits for that parking so our retailers can thrive & survive.  They give tax credits to many other businesses, why not West Seattle, especially when they have shut down our bridge.  My question to you all is…..why isn’t City Council offering more services, discounts & investment into our community of West Seattle when we need it more than ever?  The EArly Bird parking fee is to benefit commuters that travel out of West Seattle, not shoppers or even merchants. Most of our merchants don’t open between 6-9 a.m. – so where will there be parking by turning the Free Lots into a Park & Ride?  We support our retailers by asking for more from City Council.  We support our retailers by acknowledging they took away our once ample bus service through our neighborhood,  We are an UrBAN sUBURB – not downtown Seattle, connected Capitol Hill who has a thriving public transportation system .  Look at the top of Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and even downtown Seattle – parking is a big deal.  The retail has been declining for a decade with parking being taken away, crazy pricing increases & notice downtown parking is only 50 cents an hour – not the pricing on our once free lots.  Let’s reconsider what we are doing – love Skye 

    • heartless January 21, 2021 (4:24 pm)


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