Parking in Bremerton is an issue.
It has been an issue for a very long time. Solutions are needed that range from the simple, inexpensive and practical to implement to a more complex set of expensive issues that are slowly oozing forward at a snail’s pace.
A city ad hoc parking group was formed to study the issue. The committee work has been slow in developing but I want to thank all of the participants for persevering and serving in a capacity that has kept this issue on the table despite considerable efforts from the city to minimize it, ignore it or simply just dismiss it all together.
A decision was made to disband the ad hoc parking committee as a council committee. The primary reason given for this was because of the nature of the discussions being put forth by the committee were more administrative than policy centered. This means going forward that decisions, corrections and solutions with regard to parking issues will be under the sole control and discretion of the administration.
Having served on numerous citizen committees that have been both administrative and policy driven, I can understand to a certain degree why this decision was made. Another part of me who is the home owning, taxpaying resident of this city only sees it as more delays and avoidance of a primary issue that is holding our city back for fellow residents and visitors alike.
Here are some of the issues I see. We have a population with residences that solely rely on street parking. Residents not being able to park in front of or even near their own homes because of employees who work downtown taking up all the spaces are a problem.
A mixed bag of confusing fine print parking signs spread out over the downtown area is a problem. Parking sign language and restrictions that change from block-to-block and even at times space-to-space within the same block is more than confusing and beyond frustrating.
Where is the master parking map? Where can visitors go online at the city website or via an easy mobile app to an interactive map where they can type in the address of the business or residence they want to visit, the amount of time they are looking to spend and have recommended streets or parking options pop up for them?
Where is the incentive to get downtown business owners to discuss and/or provide parking options for their employees that keep more spaces open for customers and visitors?
Despite my best efforts and support of my own city, I am averaging about one parking ticket a year. I am willing to keep coming back to certain businesses despite this. How many people is Bremerton losing who aren’t willing to come back?
As elected or appointed city leadership, you can run, but you cannot hide from this issue. For the remainder of the year, you will be subject to direct questioning from your constituency about this issue as you campaign to hold office once again. Generalized lip service will simply not be good enough, and avoidance of the subject by not having your correct contact information publically posted for your constituents to be able to communicate with you is also not acceptable.
Stop kicking the parking issues to the curb and start implementing some solutions.