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Port of Bremerton, Port Orchard trade marina parking spaces

The City of Port Orchard and the Port of Bremerton have entered into a tentative agreement that exchanges control of waterfront parking spaces.

“This is good all around,” said Brian Sauer, who manages the Port Orchard Marina for the Port of Bremerton. “It will get rid of a lot of the confusion.” 

There is still one potential obstacle. In the draft memorandum of understanding, the port requires the city to maintain eight spaces of four-hour, free parking adjacent to the Mary Ann Huntington Children’s Park. The Port Orchard City Council approved the memo while striking that item.

Sauer said he would need to take the item back to the port commissioners for final approval, and would not predict how they would vote.

“It is important to the port commissioners to provide public access to the park,” he said.

Later, Sauer speculated that the council resisted the suggestion “because no one likes to be told what to do with their own property.”

The waterfront parking extends from the observation platform on the west to the gazebo on the east. Parking spaces fall into five categories: port controlled; city paid parking; city-owned, four-hour free parking; city-owned and allocated to merchants and privately owned.

The city is in charge of parking enforcement for all areas.

The biggest change is exchanging 31 spaces on the far east side of the lot to the west. According to Sauer, this move will increase convenience for all concerned.

These spaces are primarily used for boaters who are gone for weeks at a time. By moving these spaces west they are closer to the boats, and do not require the boaters to drive through the crowd if they return during the weekend farmer’s market.

By moving these spaces into the city’s auspices, the farmer’s market will then be able to move to the edge of the park. This will either create free parking directly adjacent to the market or allow the market to expand.

The port gains one space in the exchange. For this, it has agreed to landscape the shoreline area between the observation platform and the traffic circle.

Visitors to the lots will need to differentiate between four types of spaces: Free, paid, belonging to the Port or controlled by the merchant where they intend to shop. To alleviate the confusion, the Port is charged with developing signage that will designate the difference.

Currently, the difference is indicated by blue paint. Sauer said this color could be changed “so it isn’t confused with handicapped spaces.”

The matter will be addressed at the next Port of Bremerton Board of Commissioners’ meeting on March 23. If approved, the changes would take effect immediately.

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