Two-hour parking going unused on Charleston Beach Road

The in basket: Elizabeth Clark of Navy Yard City says, “On the east end of Charleston Beach Road in Navy Yard City, there are a few dozen parking spaces that are listed as two hours only.

“It’s clear that they don’t want shipyard workers parking here but it seems like a major waste of space since I very rarely see any cars parked there and the local businesses seem to have ample spaces of there own.  Why so many usable spaces sitting empty when there is such a parking shortage on base?

The out basket: As Brynn Grimley of the paper’s reporting staff wrote a year ago, the county restricted the parking after some business owners complained that customers had trouble finding a place for their cars because shipyard workers were using them all day.

It’s a familiar story in Bremerton, where shipyard employees (and college students) are always on the lookout for free all-day parking and the city tries to craft parking limits that leave spaces available for businesses and home owners.

But Charleston Beach Road is just outside the city limits, so the county has the say there.

And it may be asked to make some changes, because the two-hour spaces at one end of the road aren’t getting much use and the unlimited spaces at the other end are getting too much.

Rick Cordova at Westbay Auto Parts says it appears the word has spread about the availability of the free parking at their end of Charleston Beach Road. Increasingly their employees have to park on site, cutting into customer parking.

Jim Civilla, higher up in the Westbay hierarchy, made some inquiries just last week about whatever became of assurances he felt they got from Bremerton officials when the city’s Gateway project eliminated all parking along the highway that they would still have on-street parking for their employes on the county road.

And Chris Miller of Miller Sheet Metal next door agrees, saying the city should stay interested and involved in the issue, as it was the city project that made all the changes..

But it was all the two-hour parking at the other end of the road that  Elizabeth asked about .

Bryan Schoening of Cliff’s Cycle Center, the closest business to the two-hour spaces, says he’d like to see them retained, at least during business hours.

His business lost multiple spaces in front to the highway project and the public two-hour spaces take some of the sting out of that.

It wasn’t simply a matter of shipyard workers filling the spaces all day, he said. Many vehicles stayed in the same spot for days or weeks, and trash accumulated near them.

In two visits to the road, I found only one vehicle in any of the 50 or so two-hour spaces at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, confirming what Elizabeth says she sees.

If those Charleston Beach businesses being impacted by shipyard parking seek some redress from the county, I’m sure the distribution and number of two-hour spaces will be an issue.

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