North-end parking is serious problem

We are all understandably focused on ferry availability and performance, and the UW suggestions reported in last week’s Beachcomber are certainly no surprise (“UW Fauntleroy study includes array of recommendations for Triangle Route”). What’s surprising is that the inaction has gone on for so long. Yet there is another problem developing that does not seem to be receiving the attention it is due: Ferry parking on the north end has become congested and, in some situations, hazardous.

Over the almost 11 years I’ve lived on the north end, I’ve watched the daily struggle for parking that commuters go through, and the number of commuters seeking parking in the area appears to have more than doubled. On any given day, most of lower Cowan Road, all of SW 110th Street and SW 104th Street, and most of SW 112th Street are lined with cars on both sides, those who were too late to get a space in the ferry parking lot. In winter months, I’ve seen people making their way back to their cars in the dark, often being only narrowly missed by another driver who failed to notice them while trying to squeeze through these rather narrow side streets. These residential streets simply weren’t built for roadside parking; the original builders assumed everyone would park in their garages, and at the time the north-end community developed, ferry traffic was nothing like it is now. This burgeoning population of island residents and north-end commuters was never envisioned.

It’s here now, and perhaps this is the right time to begin to investigate potential solutions. I suspect this is going to prove a very tough problem to solve, if it can be solved at all, but it might be better to start developing a project plan now rather than doing so later when the pitch of griping and frustration rises to the point where the community is embroiled in yet another ferry nightmare.

—Antonio Christopher Dittmann