Photo by Shane Harms
Can you imagine a time when parking created such frenzy? How about last week?

History Leads: Parking?

A this same time 38 years ago, Jeff Larsen, the once editor of the Ballard News Tribune, griped in an opinion editorial about an impending decision to add parking meters to Market Street.

Can you imagine a time when parking created such frenzy? How about last week?

The French idiom, “the more it changes, the more it is the same,” seems appropriate to write. But how can this be? Here in a progressive, keenly equivocal and sagacious city-village (I mean we have barter events), how can we still be hung up on such a trifling matter as to where to put the autos?

In the same issue of the Ballard News Tribune where Larsen’s column appeared there was another article called, “Citizen group want’s multi-level parking,” where Rosalyn Strand reported that the Ballard Citizens Parking Committee, a group that represented Ballard business and land owners, formally requested from the City of Seattle financial aid to conduct a “feasible study” in order to find out who was parking in the core business area of Ballard.

Their rational at the time was that the City was providing funding for the once “Magic Carpet” (This really was the 70’s) bus service that provided free rides for downtown riders in certain proximity to Pikes Place Market.
Their then proposed future locations for a multi-level parking garage would have been behind where the old Denney’s used to be or on Shilshole Avenue about one and a half blocks south of Market Street.

Meanwhile, the City Engineering Department was already responding to a request to build more angle parking on Russel avenue to Market street and 20th avenue, 22nd avenue to Ballard avenue and Shilshole avenue and Leary way to Market street and 28th NW.

Anyway, did it happen? Well the meters did. Angle parking maybe came and went -- not sure about the multi-level job. Currently, the only one that comes to mind is the Swedish Hospital multi-level parking lot, which is open to the public. But maybe a lack of awareness is the biggest problem.

What’s interesting is that Mike Stewart; Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, recently said that the parking problem is largely a problem of perception. He said that there is parking everywhere in Ballard, it’s just that people do not want to pay for it or are not aware that it exists.

Stewart said there is a study in the works to determine just who, how many and where people are parking in Ballard. The study is apparently in collaboration for the Sound Transit Expansion Study. Yes, this is the study that could potentially bring light rail from downtown to Ballard (But they have been saying that since the 70’s).

I’m picking up on a trend here. It’s feeling circular and convoluted. What can we take away from this apparent recurring furl of time and space? It’s seems like these articles could have happened yesterday. It goes to show we have the same problems as they did in the 70’s just happening to different people.

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