Let’s make the best of what we already have | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

One of the arguments against a new hotel in Winslow is that it will exacerbate downtown parking problems.

Not long ago, these parking problems prompted local merchants to call for construction of a public parking garage, which would have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The issue isn’t one of supplying more parking, however, but of better managing what we already have.

Using Google Maps to estimate building areas and the parking inventory, I calculate that the core blocks of downtown Winslow have an average of 3.0 spaces per 1,000 square feet of non-residential building area. That’s not much less than the shopping center on High School Road. Our downtown parking ratios are also about 40 percent higher than that of other bustling mixed-use main streets like Kirkland, Chico and Palo Alto.

How do those downtown make do with less parking? Sharing that parking between uses, night and day. That creates synergy we don’t have. Too much of our parking is hard to find and too many of those space are designated for the use of just one business.

If downtown merchants and property owners want residents’ business, they are going to have to work together to get more out of the parking they already have.

ROD STEVENS

Bainbridge Island

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