The Port of Port Townsend parking lot on Jackson Street became a paid lot April 1. Point Hudson is experiencing a parking crunch because of increased tourism, new port tenant leases and moorage tenants. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

The Port of Port Townsend parking lot on Jackson Street became a paid lot April 1. Point Hudson is experiencing a parking crunch because of increased tourism, new port tenant leases and moorage tenants. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

Port officials discuss Point Hudson parking

PORT TOWNSEND — The question posed by Sean Rankins of Northwest Sails & Canvas to the Port of Port Townsend commissioners echoed a concern heard from some other boat owners who have slips at Point Hudson.

“Where can I park without taking a taxi to my boat?” Rankins asked Wednesday. “Where do we provision our heavy loads?”

Jim Pivarnik, port interim executive director, told commissioners and those in attendance that parking has always been difficult at and around the popular marina but that there are about 275 spaces available within walking distance.

The parking crunch isn’t just created by tourists. Pivarnik noted that Northwest Maritime Center events impact the area and area businesses draw people who need places to park.

The situation has been compounded by the addition of new port tenant leases signed in the past couple weeks. A lot adjacent to the Cupola House, which was used as moorage parking, is now filled to capacity with vehicles.

“The parking you are looking at is for the 17 Fish and Wildlife employees at its regional headquarters and MSA [Marine Surveys & Assessments] for nine people,” Pivarnik explained. “That parking area by the Cupola House on Jefferson Street is for those tenants.”

Pivarnik explained that the Landfall parking lot across from the Northwest Maritime Center on Jackson Street is now a “pay to park lot” priced at $10 per day.

Port officials agreed earlier this year that from April through September the Landfall parking lot would not be free and made announcements to tenants, although some said they did not get the message.

The port has made $100 so far in revenue from the lot, it was reported.

The lot also is adjacent to Puget Sound Express, Commissioner Pete Hanke’s whale watching tour business. Hanke pays for four dedicated spots alongside his building for his captains.

Hanke, who called in to the meeting by phone, said his passengers are directed to use either the paid lot or the dirt lot, known as “the Back 40” behind SEA Marine. This year, Hanke is running two excursion boats out of Point Hudson, with 78 passengers per vessel.

Pivarnik said the public has been parking along the strip of land between Jefferson and the travel lift. He explained that there is much congestion in the area, especially when motor homes begin to arrive for the season.

“There is no place for people to walk along there, and they have to use the street,” he said. “I made a decision to create a safe pedestrian walkway.”

Pivarnik said he will devise a solution to address moorage tenants’ concerns in the coming weeks.

“I suggest that we have a parking plan that has drop-off areas and loading zones,” Pivarnik said in an interview after the meeting. “I’ll even put a loading zone by the travel lift and work it into the path somehow.

“If you are full-time moorage tenants, we’ll get you a sticker to park,” Pivarnik said.

“We’ll make available 15 dedicated spaces for tenants. They won’t be next to the marina, but close enough, possibly next to Brian Toss Yacht Riggers or Carol Hasse Port Townsend Sails.”

Pivarnik admitted that parking continues to be a challenge at Point Hudson as everything grows.

“Point Hudson is so compressed and so small and is bordered by development all around it,” he said. “It’s not like we can expand.”

“I wish I could tell you it’s going to get better, but it’s not.”

________

Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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