Limited parking at Juanita Village causing problems for employees

A combination of limited parking and time restrictions at Juanita Village has led to conflict as employees struggle to find a place to park without getting ticketed.

While patrons of Juanita Beach Park have complained to the city of Kirkland that Juanita Village employees are parking in the park’s parking lot, the employees have argued that not only are the parking spots in Juanita Village restricted to two hours, but they are intended for customers. Although there is underground parking, it is only free for two hours.

Kristin Hoeks, a supervisor at the Starbucks in Juanita Village, said people like herself who work there have struggled to find permanent parking for their eight hour work shifts. At first, many workers parked in the Juanita Beach Park parking lot, but she said the city restricted their use to four hours. The city opens up lawn space in the north half of Juanita Beach and employees do park there, she said, but it is only used during the busiest times for the park during the summer.

Also, Hoeks said the time restrictions in Juanita Village means even if they find appropriate parking they still must move it in-between their lunch breaks. The lack of parking also means many customers will choose to go elsewhere if they can’t find parking.

“It’s been a problem since I got here,” she said.

Even then, it’s not always easy or convenient for some employees to move their vehicle. Angela Fackler, a supervisor at Edible Arrangements, said she has received eight tickets since she first started working there a year ago. Because it is a small business, she said, she usually works alone, and therefore would have to close it up temporarily to move her car, something which is not always practical.

When she does move it, she said it can take a long time just to get out of the parking lot and find a new place, especially if traffic is bad.

“It’s several hours of work,” she said.

Online reviewers on Yelp have also discussed the parking issue. Numerous reviews for Urban Coffee Lounge, which currently has a four-and-a-half out of a five-star rating, mentions their frustration finding a parking spot.

Jason Filan, the parks maintenance manager at the city of Kirkland, acknowledged there was a parking shortage, which he said is most apparent during the summer when there are people at both the beach park and Juanita Village at the same time. However, he said this problem occurs temporarily during the summer and is not a year-round problem. While he said he understands the frustration employees have trying to find parking spots, he added that allowing employees to park there deprives the beach users of space.

“We just don’t have much parking for the neighbors across the street, and really that’s not on the parks to provide employee parking,” he said.

Repeated calls to M-M Properties, which owns Juanita Village, seeking comment were not returned.

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