Westbay parking lot will be missed

Anyone who’s ever spent their Fourth of July along the Port Orchard waterfront knows what a charming, wholesome, small-town America celebration it is.

Unfortunately, they also also know a little about cardiovascular workouts, too, if they’ve had to park somewhere up the hill and hike up Sidney Avenue after the fireworks in order to retrieve their vehicle.

That particular incovenience figures to be even more so this year with the announcement that the owner of Westbay Shopping Center is roping off its lot on the Fourth, taking several hundred waterfront parking spaces out of commission for the day.

The lot, of course, is private property, and its owner has every right to keep it off limits if he chooses to. And one can certainly sympathize with his complaint that revelers move into the lot and shoot off unauthorized fireworks, creating liability and cleanup problems. It’s also true that a parking lot full of cars is a burden for the rent-paying tenants of Westbay, some of whom expect to be open for business on the Fourth and need a place for them to park.

Still, it’s frustrating some sort of compromise couldn’t be worked out with the city, perhaps exchanging additional police protection in return for keeping at least a portion of the lot open. Those parking spaces are going to be missed, as will the excellent vantage point Westbay provided for the fireworks.

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