Ken's View: Parking is an issue; Space in the paper is at a premium too

By Ken Robinson

The Junction parking story
The story by Patrick Robinson about the free parking lots in the West Seattle Junction is long. But it is emblematic of a city-wide problem that has been looming for years: parking.

The social engineering at play with the Seattle City Council that would have us all ride the bus or bike to do our shopping means an undercurrent of interest in getting us to eschew the automobile. Like smoking cigarettes, people will quit when they really want to do so. Still, this city and others have successfully limited where you can smoke. And they are doing that with where you can park.

One of the great off-putting reasons to stay on our side of the bridge is the dearth of parking to be found in Seattle, that other big town east of ‘Wesseattle’. Ballard is bad already and getting worse for parking. Burien has lots of free or time-limited parking but Diamond lots are creeping in.

The impending change in parking in The Junction is really out of the control of the public. Shoppers have enjoyed free parking there for many years and like any privilege to which one has become accustomed, if it were taken away, you would squawk.

Smart merchants years ago knew that if they wanted to make it easy for shoppers to trade with them, those shoppers needed parking. (Disclaimer: this newspaper is one of the original owners of the free parking lots in West Seattle. Patrick’s story outlines all ownership).

About the news hole

The ‘news hole’ is the space available after advertising is placed on the pages before printing. When something you hope to read is not there, it is usually because the paper changes page count from issue to issue depending on how many ads there are. Sometimes, we have to leave out of print things like a favorite column (e.g. Pat Cashman, Sarah Cecil, Amanda Knox) and other feature stories about people, development and news items. With the advent of the internet, we can post those things on our website. In about a month, we will re-launch our website under the name WestsideSeattle.com and it will contain most of the things in the print edition and other things that don’t fit in print.

The audience for print is different from those who prefer online. But like old habits, some people want to hold and feel the paper and be able to bend it, write on it, tear it and use it swat flies. You could ruin a good laptop swatting flies. A caller might say “I didn’t get MY paper.” This is followed by someone from the circulation department getting them a replacement copy. But it is the sense of ‘ownership’ of the paper, their particular copy, even though it is nearly identical to many other copies, that rings right.

No one ever says “I didn’t get my electronic version of the news”. And there is no one to call about it.

This might seem like a simple matter, but when my five brothers and I were indentured servants to our father in the fifties and sixties and the paper was delivered by carriers, if Mrs. Frisbee called and said she didn’t get her paper, we took it to their house.

It was always a little surprising when someone complained about a 25-cent paper that was not on the porch when they expected it.

What that meant and still means is that they consider it important to stay informed.

We have been fortunate to be the shepherds of community newspapers that notice the lives of our communities for so many years. Ballard News-Tribune dates to 1895. The West Seattle Herald began chronicling the area in 1923 and the Highline Times in 1946.

We have the history that details the growth and change of the areas we still cover.

Last week, a man called to comment on our recent story on the gentrification White Center. We wrote about the Epicure Restaurant on 16th S.W. He said that place once was a feed store!

We thank him for his memory and for his long readership of the paper.

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