Ferry Tales: Between A Rock And A Parking Space

No matter what the calendar says it it Summer on Guemes. Summer brings many more people to our Island.  Because of the “peak” fares and the recently implemented new ferry surcharge many more people are parking their cars and walking aboard. Therein lies the problem. Where to park? Long ferry lines and no parking availability was usually a weekend or holiday issue. Well, now the issue has spilled over onto weekdays. Tuesday afternoons finds us scrounging Guemes’ upper and lower lots looking for parking spaces.

I reached out to Forrest Jones with Skagit County Public Works to make sure they were aware. His response:

“As for the lack of parking in the Guemes Parking Lot. We are looking at ways to increase the overall parking area. As for derelict vehicles, I will notify our Sheriff’s Department and request a review of both the Guemes and Anacortes Parking Lots for illegal or derelict vehicles.”  Illegal and derelict vehicles beware! There is a 72 hour limit on parking.

Imagine the surprise of many at seeing the boulders on the South Shore shoulder. That area was often used for overflow parking when there was no space in the lot.

Forrest’s response to the boulders:

“We are aware of the boulders that were placed along South Shore Road by the [Guemes Island Store] property owners and are working with them to have them removed [the boulders are sitting on Skagit County's right of way].  Nonetheless, this area along South Shore Road is marked no parking, and yet seems to be ignored by some of the residents and/or visitors of Guemes Island. As you can see from the attached picture, many cars are parked within the road way causing traffic to take the opposite lane of travel.  We have also had reports of small children darting out from between the parked cars from the beach, which is a major concern of the County.”

 BTW: I am shocked that Guemes Islanders ignore “no parking” signs! 

The ongoing discussion and search for funding about a bigger faster ferry leads me to wonder how the parking crisis will be resolved. Do five more spaces on the ferry equate to five more spaces in the lots? Does all the money spend on a new ferry mean that much less to expand parking?

- Commentary by MJ Andrak


The store owners offered this rationale: "Friends, you will notice there are large boulders that now reside on the edge of the beach along South Shore road, across from our fence. We have put those large boulders there on the advice of the county so that cars do not park. This section of South Shore Drive from the ferry east to the S-Curves is eroding. Because it is part of our property we want to proactively protect the road and the beach from further erosion. Additionally, cars parking along the road cause traffic flow issues which can be dangerous to pedestrians, especially children. By placing these boulders, cars will no longer be able to park along the road, alleviating both issues. There were several options proposed by the county - permanent fencing, plastic pylons - but we felt these natural features provided a positive solution, giving people a place to sit. We hope you understand and support our decision."

Tags: ferry