ISSUE: Parking in Downtown


Neither in spokane nor in Tacoma have centrally located parking garages worked to vitalize the downtown area. In fact, recent suggestions for the Tacoma garage have been to just tear it down.


My opponent thought the parking issue was a myth is 2002. In a recent poll, only 19% of the respondent cited parking problems as the thing they disliked most about downtown. 49% cited homeless, panhandlers and antisocial behaviour. Let’s build a drop-in center with our precious money and address the real downtown issues, instead.


The parking garage is directly connected to the development of the BID.

– is it a good idea for Olympia to abdicate public space to what will become in essence an private mall in downtown?

– the creation of a BID is being tied to the parking garage, this is a way of distracting the public. the BID will remove a section of downtown from direct control by the citizens and the city council, and could turn part of Downtown into a privately controlled mall. If downtown is such a wonderful public resource, and I agree that it is, then why give it away?

– the BID is in an area of downtown that will see the greatest traffic increases. doesn’t it make sense to improve an area that actually needs help more in order to grow?

– the BID will raise the cost of doing business in Downtown. can Olympia afford to make it HARDER for small businesses to survive?


Does this make sense? In order to make Downtown more friendly, we are going to have to increase the cost of parking and make parking tickets even more expensive.

– the parking garage will only make shopping downtown MORE annoying, by increasing the nuisance fees

– increased parking fees to generate revenue is a vicious cycle; the higher the fee, the more careful people will be, and that means less revenue. In order to keep that revenue coming in, parking enforcement will have to become increasingly vicious. Further, the garage itself would likely reduce the opportunity for revenue from on the street parking

– the garage is a publicly funded source of profit for private business. isn’t that why the convention center was a bad idea? In fact, the proposal is to use money from the failed convention center, and that money may not even be available. We could be stuck with a BID, and no garage.

– increased parking fees and ticket fines will only make the parking conflicts in areas like South Capitol Hill more vicious and would encourage the lobbyist that own property there to sue the city. We could lose all parking revenue if we increase fines and fees.


I am the only candidate for position 7 that can even take part in discussions about the parking garage or the BID. My opponent is materially connected to the issue, and will have to ethically recuse himself from the discussions. My opponent stands to gain directly and indirectly from the parking garage because it is connected directly with the Olympia Downtown Association, in which my opponent was president. Further, my opponent has two businesses located within the proposed Business Improvement District.

Even more troubling is that, on my opponent’s watch, the Olympia City Council has already made ethically questionable decisions when the ODA is involved. Can Olympia afford to elect my opponent? Not if a rational discussion, that ethically weighs the issue, is the goal. My opponent was a proponent of the parking garage when he was president of the ODA, and cannot now ethically vote on the issue if elected. Why elect someone that can’t take part in the discussion and decision?

John Griogair Bell is the only candidate for position 7 that can take part in the decision making process on these issues.