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Poulsbo Place ponders parking
POULSBO — Julie Krucek has watched her business suffer for three years while a debate over the parking in Poulsbo Place II rages on.
“It’s really getting frustrating, because I’m trying to build my business here and I have a good clientele but they can’t get here,” said Krucek, owner of Jak’s Cafe and Espresso on Jensen Way.
Parking spots are a rare commodity directly in front of the businesses and parking is only allowed on one side of the street. Available spaces are often occupied by tenants who live above the shops or even shoppers who can’t find parking in the immediate downtown area, Krucek said.
Complaints about parking in the neighborhood that abuts downtown Poulsbo are commonplace, said David Rice, who serves on the parking committee for Poulsbo Place II. He was the president of the Poulsbo Place II Homeowners Association until February.
“We’ve had people park where there’s not tandem parking and it’s a no-parking area designated by the city,” Rice said. “People park where they think they can park.”
He hasn’t heard of any immediate or new issues regarding parking in that area and hopes if businesses are having issues with their assigned parking, they will contact their landlords.
To alleviate some of the parking pressure, Krucek has suggested allowing parking on both sides of the street, as is permitted further down Jensen Way toward City Hall.
“We can’t park across the street because there’s not enough room, and the sidewalk is out too far,” she said. “Because I buy everything for the café, I don’t have any deliveries. I park my car across the street and by the time I unload everything there are three or four cars parked behind me.”
Poulsbo Police Chief Dennis Swiney is aware of Krucek’s concerns.
“The reality is, right now we’re just going to try and do some improvements to the signage there,” he said. Krucek was able to get the Poulsbo Department of Public Works to install two-hour parking signs for the stalls that line hers and other businesses on Jensen Way.
Even with the addition of the two-hour parking signs, when Krucek tries to get into her business after hours, she still cannot find a place to park, she said.
She’d like to see one more sign installed to fully illustrate the area of two-hour parking, which begins at the intersection of Sunset Street and Jensen Way.
“So the first thing they see is that restricted parking sign,” Swiney said.
While Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson has not talked personally to Krucek about her parking situation, she’s quite familiar with downtown’s parking issues.
“We are looking at parking right now. It is an issue that we want to address,” Erickson said. There is concern with the parking in Poulsbo Place II among other places and “whether or not we should move forward with enforcement. We definitely need to address it and we are working on it,” she said.
Krucek doesn’t like seeing empty seats in her café because would-be customers might be deterred by parking issues. She’s also developed roots in the community and has no desire to move her business from Poulsbo. Krucek was born and raised in North Kitsap and moved Poulsbo when she was a sophomore in high school.
“This is my home. I love the smaller communities, I am not a big city person at all,” Krucek said. “I’m very comfortable here in this area and I watched it grow and I want to be part of that.”
She also thinks downtown Poulsbo is the ideal place for a business but would like more cooperation from the city to solve the parking situation.
Her next step is to present a complaint to Poulsbo City Council during a meeting. She’s considering creating a petition to gather signatures from other small business owners who also are frustrated at their loss of business because of parking.
“The economy is really tough and I don’t understand why (the city) is not working with us. We’re small businesses and if anybody needs help, we do,” she said. “My business has definitely felt it. (My customers) say they drive around for a long time and they can’t find any spaces, so they go. This is what I’m hearing from the other owners too, the same thing and it’s really starting to become a huge problem now.”