We had six members at the outreach meeting with about the same number of merchants from the 9600 block of 16th Ave SW in White Center just south of Roxbury where Proletariat Pizza and Cafe Delia would like to have a bike corral for customers. Parking for a dozen customers arriving by bike instead of two arriving by car, and a welcome sign of a vibrant and friendly business district.
Good discussion. Ambiguous process.
Thank you to Fatima at Luso Food and Wine for being such a gracious and generous host, opening this evening especially for this meeting. Visit soon for some special Portuguese food and wine!
Theresa Beaulieu of WSBC has successfully obtained grant funding for the rack. Costs to be fronted by the grant recipients, then reimbursed by the County. Approval of merchants first, but no clear definition of how much approval, and no real association to speak for them. Concerns of merchants: loss of car parking. Facts revealed: zero enforcement of 2 hr parking time limit by King County Sheriff has led to all-day car parking by park ‘n ride non-customers and by some shop owners and employees. No wonder there is a perceived parking problem! Most shop owners want enforcement but have no hope of that after years of asking. Some do not yet see that people on bikes are parking on this block to spend money at their businesses, not for recreation. Some do not yet realize that use of bikes for transportation leads people to shop locally in places like White Center instead of skipping past them to auto-friendly malls.
Next: door-to-door outreach to merchants who did not respond to the invitation to this meeting. Request to County for clarity on how much process and approval is enough before just two of many dozens of parking spaces can be dedicated to bike parking for customers instead of car parking, saving the narrow sidewalks for walking and wheelchairs and strollers.
Painfully slow and difficult cultural change from car addiction. Vy Nguyen, staff member from White Center Community Development Association who has been the interface with King County and the business community for this, just lost her job at WCCDA, due to funding cuts, but was with us tonight anyway donating her time. She wants to see this through for the community. Thank you so much to Vy and all who have put so much effort into this!