Parking garage is the answer for downtown | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

Winslow has a parking problem. Winslow will always have a parking problem as long the ferry exists.

I’m not faulting the ferry, as it is the reason I live on Bainbridge Island. It allowed me to work in Seattle and live in small-town Winslow, with its parks, waterfront, restaurants and shops.

I realize that ferry riders trying to save money will always park all over town to avoid the high fees at ferry terminal parking lots. It is also true that workers in Winslow businesses use a third of the available downtown parking spots. This means downtown customers have a hard time finding parking and may choose to shop elsewhere.

The solution to this parking problem is not the one-way streets proposal, with parking, bike lanes and sidewalks filling the space of the vacated lanes on portions of Madison, Parfitt, Grow, Bjune, Lovell, Knetchel, Ericksen and Wood.

I oppose this for a many reasons.

Number one this will not add that many parking spots.

Number two these streets are mostly residential which means there will be a wall of parked cars in front existing homes.

Number three this will result in mass confusion trying to figure out which one way path gets you to your home or destination.

Number four the money for this project could be better spent elsewhere.

That elsewhere is a parking garage behind Winslow Way near BPA and city hall. This area is currently a vast parking area for the gym, city hall, and BPA.

Yes, this will be an expensive project and the money saved by not proceeding with the one-way streets proposal would only be a down payment on a parking garage, but it is the best long range solution. A multi-story garage would provide convenient parking for downtown customers and workers as well as the current city hall, gym and BPA visitors. One floor could be dedicated for city hall parking to make up for the current surface parking spots lost. Gym and BPA patrons should also have special areas or get free parking passes based on BPA tickets or gym memberships.

I realize a parking garage has long been the ideal solution, but has always failed due to financing. Several years ago a proposal for Winslow Way businesses to pay for it went nowhere and propositions to raise taxes to pay for needed improvements seem to get voted down.

I don’t know how to pay for it, but a parking garage is the solution.

GARY PETTERSEN

Bainbridge Island

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