(PAID) PARKING ISN'T EVERYTHING
by Kirby Lindsay
Most discussions about paid street parking hosted by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce have turned contentious and emotional, but the most recent, held at the Chamber Board of Directors meeting on October 28, remained comparatively calm.
Parking Pay Stations and RPZ
Mary Catherine Snyder, of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), attended the meeting accompanied by Mike Estey and Lawrence Eichhorn. In fall of 2008 SDOT implemented changes to on-street parking in Fremont including Restricted Parking Zones (RPZ) on east or south sides of some residential streets. Also, they converted several more block faces into 2-hour parking zones, and 73 spaces into pay parking, using pay station kiosks. Snyder gave a short Powerpoint presentation that included results from a parking survey done in September.
“Paid parking is working well to create turnover and access,” Snyder reported. The survey found improvements in compliance to time limits, and an increase in ‘unique vehicles.’ These are vehicles found, as surveyors collect license plate numbers from parked cars, to have parked once, as opposed to those that appear repeatedly throughout the survey period.
Raymond Glandon, manager of the Fremont PCC Natural Market, questioned the metrics used to determine parking improvement and concluded, “Your ideas of success are not my ideas of success.” Sue Sanem, owner of Portage Bay Goods, explained that, “it seems like the neighborhood needs two-hour restrictions,” and rather than pay stations, SDOT could have increased two-hour restrictions in the neighborhood, “I would have preferred to see that first.”
Marko Tubic, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, reported a decrease in his appointment count of clients who come to his office. “That means clients are not coming to Fremont,” and not shopping or eating here, and Tubic must go out to see them. Tubic ride his bike here most days, but when he drives he admitted he must do, “the all-day parking dance,” and shift his vehicle every two hours.
Tubic also described the pay station kiosks as “graffiti magnets.” Jessica Vets, Executive Director for the Fremont Chamber, directly requested SDOT relocate a few kiosks that provide hazards to pedestrian traffic.
Far Beyond Parking
Other business was conducted at the meeting, including voting Pat Carr, of PqHost Internet Services, into a previously vacant slot on the Board. Vets presented a request from Moisture Festival organizers, and approved by the Chamber finance committee, for sponsorship of a limited-run book of photos from six years of colorful vaudeville (and burlesque) shows – and the Board agreed. Also, they decided on Chamber award recipients for 2009 but to find out who won, the curious must attend the Chamber Holiday Party and Awards Presentation on December 2 at Fremont Studios.
Finally, the Board continued discussion about the future of the Fremont Street Fair. At the September Chamber Board meeting, they approved a letter to Virginia Swanson, of the City of Seattle Special Events Committee regarding their concerns which range over management of the event, lack of communications, and the relevance of the Fair (and the beneficiary, Solid Ground) to Fremont.
Further discussions on the Fair, board elections, membership, security, guest speakers and, as always, parking are to be expected at the November 25 Fremont Chamber meeting at History House (790 North 36th Street). As always, this meeting will be open to the public – those able to awaken and get there by 8 a.m.!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.