• Businesses in Ballard saving public parking for private use

    By: David Ham


    SEATTLE - KIRO 7 found at least seven businesses in Shilshole Avenue NW off of 24th Avenue Northwest in Ballard are reserving parking spots in the public right-of-way for their customers.

    Bryan Northrop owns one of those businesses. He's reserved three spots along the right.

    "With the crush of cars out here we're trying to reserve a modicum of parking because customers are coming or going," said Northrop.

    Drivers said it's not easy to find parking along the stretch.

    "When I get lucky I can find a parking spot here on Shilshole but usually I end up having to pay to park, which is a huge bummer," said Spencer Hodge, who works nearby.

    We told him about the public spots being reserved for private use.

    "I didn't know they were public spots. That makes things not very awesome. for sure," said Hodge.

    Seattle Department of Transportation said it didn't know about the issue until we contacted them.

    "We will follow up to investigate where there may be signs that indicate private reservation of the public right-of-way.  We will contact those property owners to let them know they need to remove those signs," said Marybeth Turner, spokeswoman for SDOT.

    Outside Stewart Marine Engine & Machine Works the business has signs up that threaten to tow if the public parks in those spaces.

    We showed the owner a city map saying that the street is an "unrestricted parking zone" and he did not agree with it.

    "I have a bunch of liberals coming down here trying to put me out of business is what it boils down to," said owner Larry Stewart.

    Stewart said he will continue to keep his signs up.

    SDOT said it is aware of the concerns businesses have about customer access.

    "We have tools available like time-limited parking and signs that may help ensure more reliable customer access if so desired, but the public right of way cannot be reserved for the sole us of a private property owner," said Turner.

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