City closes loophole in courthouse parking

The parking situation around the Kitsap County Courthouse Campus is already becoming a problem and Port Orchard officials, as a result, are starting to crack down.

Last week, in response to numerous complaints from Ada Street residents, the Port Orchard City Council unanimously voted to shut down the street to unauthorized parking. Ada is now the 20th street within city limits to have parking restrictions and, like most of the others on the list, the restrictions are there to fend off overflow from the courthouse.

Ada, a narrow dead-end street located just across Sidney Avenue from the jail, never before suffered problems from those who had business at the courthouse. However, when the county plowed up most of its nearby guest parking and all of its carpool parking to make way for the new county administration building, displaced commuters and visitors started to leach into the surrounding community.

Since construction started, the city has received near-daily complaints from Ada residents who said non-residents were crowding their street and blocking access to the neighborhood.

“They were having problems ... to the point they were having trouble getting in and out of their driveways,” said city engineer Larry Curles.

He said there was also evidence emergency vehicles might have trouble navigating the street during business hours, presenting a potentially serious risk to the health and safety of residents.

No Ada residents appeared at last week’s city council meeting, where the matter was discussed. However, Curles said the residents were in favor of having parking on their street limited to two hours during regular business hours. Residents will still be able to park, so long as they first obtain free parking permits from the city.

The decision to make Ada a restricted-parking street has now closed what the city perceives to be the last loophole in courthouse-area parking.

“In essence, there will be no (on-street) employee or all-day parking by the courthouse,” Curles said.

The county has applied for permission to turn several empty lots into new parking to help ease the strain during construction. The council, however, has not yet deliberated on the request.

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