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Mukilteo officials to meet with island commuters over mainland parking woes

Mukilteo officials will be in Clinton next week to meet with Whidbey commuters who keep cars on the other side of the water and are rapidly losing their parking spaces.

Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine said Thursday that the city is continuing to look for new parking locations.

“There isn’t one perfect solution,” Marine said. “Part of the problem is we don’t have a spot large enough for all of them.”

The meeting will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 at Clinton Community Hall. Attending from Mukilteo will be Marine and city council president Randy Lord.

Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson also is expected to attend.

“We’ll be showing some of the areas we’re looking at for possible commuter parking, and reasons why what is going away is going away,” Marine said. “It’s not that we haven’t considered other options.”

For years, as many as 300 island commuters have kept second vehicles in Mukilteo so they could walk aboard the ferry from Clinton without waiting in long lines. They’ve been paying as much as $100 a month to park in four private lots, but the spaces are starting to vanish.

Some were lost when the state tore down the Buzz Inn Restaurant to create 12 new ferry holding lanes. And the future of overnight Diamond parking lots near the Mukilteo Lighthouse are in doubt because the city has plans to develop the nearby park.

An additional 100 leased overnight Diamond parking spaces at the Rosehill Community Center three-quarters of a mile up the road from the Mukilteo ferry terminal may begin to disappear as early as next month to make way for a new building, officials said.

Meanwhile, the search continues for a park-and-ride lot for commuters that could be reached by shuttle bus, but the best possible choice so far appears to be property along Mukilteo Speedway near Highway 99, more than six miles from the ferry landing.

Some island commuters are upset over comments by Marine in an earlier report, in which he said it wasn’t the responsibility of the city to provide parking for islanders who often are insensitive to the travel needs of city residents.

In response, some commuters have called for a boycott of Mukilteo businesses, saying that if it weren’t for Whidbey residents, there might not be a Mukilteo.

Marine said that contentious sentiments aren’t helpful, and he urged island commuters to work with Mukilteo to try to find a solution to the parking problem.

“It’s a question of how far they’re willing to drive and not drive, and how much they’re willing to spend and not spend,” the mayor said. “We don’t want to be putting money into something they won’t support and won’t use.”

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