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Harvey wrote:


Since when is having somewhere to park at one's residence considered a "priority"? I'm not sure why you think it's a manipulated reality that people who live in apartments, need somewhere to park. No one is making these citizens up. We used to have a family member who lived downtown.

I will tell you what her life was like when she lived there.

She would get up early in morning and go to the grocery and try to get any other errands done, before 9 AM because that's when the tourists and employees began to arrive downtown. Unfortunately for her, many businesses in Port Townsend did not open until 10 AM. She did not feel comfortable running errands after 9 AM, because she would have to park so far from her home she was not physically able to walk from her car to her apartment with whatever goods she had purchased. Because she was elderly and dealing with physical disabilities, she would also often forget where she parked her car if she wasn't able to park near her home. We would have to come help her find her car while she was in great distress.

Especially in the summertime and during festival season, she often felt trapped in her apartment because she could not leave, knowing that she would have to park blocks away when she got home. She began to go into mental decline from being isolated because she did not feel comfortable leaving her home because of the parking situation.

We did what we could to come and get her and take her to appointments and shopping, but unfortunately when she needed us most, we had to be at work. There were many days when she needed our assistance, and we drove around and around trying to find somewhere to park so we could go help her.

Eventually, she became so weary and frightened of the parking situation, she asked us to sell her car, which we did, and then she began to go into serious mental decline from being stuck in her apartment day after day, week after week, year after year, because of the parking situation downtown. As she had began to decline she had gotten a handicapped license plate, and even then, there was nowhere for her to park. Downtown has a lot of elderly and disabled residences, and nary a handicap parking space for them near their homes.

What we have observed through the years is that the city of Port Townsend whittles away parking space after parking space downtown, creating a tinderbox of bad feelings and frustration. We have observed elected representatives saying that they would like downtown to be a no car zone. Which will never work for the residents of downtown. Residents are never considered when these things are said or planned. You are correct that many decisions are being manipulated by the Main Street foundation and the Chamber of Commerce. The residents of downtown have no voice when decisions are being made that affect their lives profoundly. Neither the main street foundation nor the chamber of commerce seem to care about these citizens who pay their rent rain or shine, tourism or no tourism, Covid or no Covid.

You may think it's all a big joke that residents need parking downtown, but not only do they need parking, their caretakers need somewhere they can park without having to worry about being ticketed or towed, as well. There are people living downtown who have lived downtown over 30 years. These people are not figment of anyone's imagination. They are human beings living with extreme conditions related to the cars they need to get to the doctor, and get food, and they come home and have to drive around in circles for half an hour before they can find somewhere to park. Can you imagine living with that every day? I'm sure if you really thought about it you would realize that these people are just as inconvenienced as you are if not moreso, because you get to go home at night.

It seems clear there are plenty of people downtown who would love for there to be no residents living downtown, and who would love for residents downtown to have nowhere specific they can park without being ticketed or towed. It seems clear no one in Port Townsend is interested in coming up with some kind of system for a mixed-use neighborhood and yet exactly that kind of neighborhood has been suggested for the area up near Goodwill.

If there are going to be mixed-use neighborhoods of retail stores mixed with residences, there needs to be parking for the residents. In your reply you seemed to suggest that areas above the retail shops are being turned into residences and they shouldn't be. What you don't seem to know is they always have been residences. No one is turning areas above retail stores into residences, for fun and profit. The residences have always been there. Please hear that. Please understand that you opened a business in a mixed-use neighborhood, and your attitude and your words right now are creating the very "us versus them" atmosphere you consistently say you are against.

From: What do you love about Port Townsend? | Word on the Street

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