City parking woes less pressing at Point Hudson

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 7/24/19

While downtown employees and customers may struggle to find parking during the tourist season, businesses at Point Hudson see many of their customers arrive by boat, parking in a slip instead of on the asphalt.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

City parking woes less pressing at Point Hudson

Posted

While downtown employees and customers may struggle to find parking during the tourist season, businesses at Point Hudson see many of their customers arrive by boat, parking in a slip instead of on the asphalt.

“As far as our customers go, it’s not really a problem,” said Emiliano Marino at the Artful Sailor.

They arrive on foot, either docking a boat at Point Hudson to talk tech, or making a tourist’s discovery when they spot the elaborately-decorated Artful Sailor van in the adjacent 24-hour lot.

Still, he notices parking becomes a problem during big events, which Port Townsend hosts several times per month all summer.

“It’s more difficult because the population’s grown and there are more activities, which to me argues for trying to figure out better ways not to have cars: trolleys, bikes.”

He’d like to see a water taxi hustling people north and south along the shoreline from Point Hudson to Boat Haven.

Helming the front desk at Brion Toss Yacht Riggers, Sue Hanke said their business, also in the Point Hudson retail sheds, has no parking complaints either, which she said amazes her.

Most customers come by boat, and non-customers who park in Toss’ spots pop their head in the door to promise to be quick.

“People are really nice. If they slip into one of our spots, they say ‘I parked here.’ It’s been about the same for the last 10 years,” Hanke said.

But at the east end of Jackson Street, downtown parking is increasingly a problem for Puget Sound Express, said general manager Ashley Lewman.

Downtown’s one pay-to-park lot lies between the tourist draws of the whale watch headquarters and the Northwest Maritime Center

The lot is operated by the Port of Port Townsend, which only started to charge for parking there in January of this year.

From January to June, this parking lot has generated $2,700 in revenue for the port, said deputy director Eric Toews.

“There were no definitive expectations for how much this lot would generate at the time that the commission voted to make it paid parking,” Toews said.

The port does monitor the lot to make sure that people pay the fee, he said, although he added that word on the street says people know the enforcement regime and move their cars before they can get ticketed.

The port also has overflow parking in what is called the “Back 40” lot, which is less than an acre of port property located behind SEA Marine at Point Hudson.

While this property is currently used for parking, Toews said he does not imagine it becoming a paid lot.

“My personal view is that the parking that we have is subordinate and accessory to the uses that Point Hudson currently serves,” he said.

The port is meant to enhance recreation and marine trades in Jefferson County. Providing parking is not one of their primary roles.

If a guest on an all-day whale trip parks in a free spot at the curb in front of the Maritime Center, that can block a dozen people who want to drop by Velocity for a cup of coffee or poke around at the Chandlery.

Lewman said the parking problem seems to have gotten worse in the last five years.

“The first year I worked here, parking didn’t seem to be as much of a challenge,” she said.

But it’s increasingly hard for downtown businesses to diplomatically share space and explain to people that the pay lot doesn’t belong to the whale watch business, but to the port.

“For me, the issue is there is not a plan in place to handle all the parking that is needed. We’ve talked a lot about it being a problem and not logical ways to actually solve it.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment