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Parking woes persistent at Bremerton farmers market — Police say it’s a perennial issue

About a dozen Bremerton Farmers Market patrons found their trip to the city’s fresh food mecca last week cost them an extra $45 when they returned to their cars.

Last Thursday an employee from PimPark, the city’s parking enforcement contractor, wrote and placed tickets on market patron’s cars parked in red colored parking stalls meant for vehicles with boat trailers.

Several market goers complained to Cat MacRae, the ticket writer, that she was unfair in writing tickets while they ran in to the market for a minute or two.  One patron pointed out there were no boaters around to complain.

“Take it up with the city,” is MacRae’s pat response to those who give her grief about the parking ticket she’s left on their window.

As she wrote tickets, cars continued to ignore parking signs explaining the stalls were for boats and parked illegally.

Anyone parking in the red stalls near the boat ramp at Evergreen Park has to have a boat trailer of some kind, MacRae said. The Bremerton Police call whenever the farmers market is going on and “insist” that PimPark to get down to Rotary Park.

“We get a call every single Thursday,” she said.

Bremerton resident Randy Whisenar returned to his car parked in a trailer stall, asked rhetorically after questioning MacRae, “What are you going to do?”

Whisenan said he didn’t like the tickets and compared the situation, to the, city cameras at traffic lights that capture traffic violations.

“A warning would have been nice the first time,” Whisenan said. “They’re just making money cause they’re broke.”

According to the 2011 Bremerton budget, the city expected to take in  $325,000 in parking fines this year. In 2009 the city put  $399,274 into its Parking System Fund from parking violations.

Bremerton Police Capt. Tom Wolfe said people parking in the boat stalls do get a warning from the signage explaining that the marked area is for trailers.

Ticket writing is a perennial issue with the farmers market, said Wolfe. When the police get a complaint, they notify PimPark to get enforcement down there, Wolfe said.  Irate boaters call in just like market goers would if a truck and trailer were taking up six regular stalls, he said.

During the 5 p.m. round of ticket writing in trailer parking area near the market’s east entrance, MacRae said she wrote 12 tickets. A police cruiser circled then and at 6 p.m., she returned to write another batch of tickets for quick-parking market goers. The police returned as well.

The tickets have to be written, she said.

“I don’t like to write them,” she said. “It makes me feel bad.”

The Bremerton Farmers Market Manager was unreachable for comment, but their 2010 blog encourages patrons to go to the evening farmers market on foot or by bike.

“The goal is to make the Bremerton Farmers Market accessible to everyone, which does not include parking tickets, but wholesome foods and the wonderful community meeting place the Market has become,” the website said.

The market boasted more parking when it moved from the parking lot onto the grass near the boat parking this year.

According to Wolfe, on several occasions the market has asked police for special consideration on parking issues.

That’s for the city council to decide, he said.

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