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Bremerton Farmers Market goers get more parking — Scores of tickets written before trailer parking opened to market patrons

Following a summer of ticketing Bremerton Farmers Market patrons on Thursday afternoons, the city has opened five trailer parking stalls to cars of market goers.

It equates to ten additional cars spaces, said Julia Zander, Bremerton Farmers Market director.

The market moved from parking lot and into the grass of Evergreen Rotary Park at the beginning of the growing season and opened more than a dozen market day parking spots, but it was not enough. Nearly every  Thursday, market visitors found themselves parking in an area restricted to trucks with boat trailers. They often found a $45 ticket on their windshield as a result.

Zander said conversations, with the parks department and the city, began looking for what could be done additionally  to alleviate parking conflicts, were had off and on over the summer.

Most involved with Bremerton city parks agree that Evergreen Rotary Park is short on parking.  And though the market encouraged visitors and patrons to walk or ride bikes, they still drove into the boat stalls and were ticketed in a weekly cycle.

State agreements that came with funding to build the well-used free public boat ramp required that the 12 spaces sought by market goers be reserved for boat trailers.

There was no mechanism to change the parking designation for one day a week, said Wyn Birkenthal, director of Bremerton Parks and Recreation.

Four weeks ago Parks and Recreation Commission Chairperson John Larson offered a solution that has since turned into an experimental solution. Under city approval, five boat trailer spaces convert to 10 car spaces during the hours of the market operation on Thursdays for the last few weeks of the season.

Unless a boat trailer needs the spot. A market parking spotter will get  cars moved to accommodate a trailer, said Birkenthal.

Boats retain priority under the improvised parking rule.

The idea was to try it, Zander said.

The recent two weeks of market operations have seen customers happy with the extra parking and lack of tickets written.

Zander said the city’s parking enforcement contractor was also pleased with the changes. She called the whole ordeal a positive exercise in finding solutions.

“It’s been great,” Zander said. “It’s a huge advantage in a limited parking environment.”

Birkenthal said the solution, which rests in a “grey area,” helps the city  realize its investment into Evergreen Park. The market’s presence adds to the overall cultural experience of the park, adds  fresh produceto the neighborhood’s food shopping options and adds sales tax to the city coffers.

This summer’s farmers market saw vendors doubled in number over last year, market revenue is up and the number of people shopping at the farms stalls and vendors stands has increased, Zander said.

How the current parking resolution will pan out next year during the peak of the market season remains unknown. Zander said  for now the new rules are working well but that market attendance is highest in July and August when boat access is also at peak use.

Birkenthal said the parks commission would revisit the issue during its January meeting.

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