They come for flowers and fresh berries, specialty foods, locally made crafts and a festive day in the sun. With a new $2 parking fee Sundays at the Everett Farmers Market, customers will have a little less green to spend.
“I don’t know how often I’ll be coming back,” said Jerry Miller, 66, as he left the market Sunday with a bouquet of blooms and other purchases.
The Everett man’s first thought was “no way” when he saw the $2 Sunday parking sign and a Diamond parking attendant.
Several years ago, the Sunday market moved to the Port of Everett’s Boxcar Park from its longtime home along West Marine View Drive near Lombardi’s restaurant. Work to build the pedestrian bridge from Grand Avenue Park made that move necessary, and more construction on port property has further complicated access.
“Any time you do a fee it’s not very popular,” said Lisa Lefeber, the Port of Everett’s deputy executive director and spokeswoman.
The port now has a $12,000-per-month contract with Diamond Parking Service to collect fees.
Gary Purves, who co-owns and manages the Everett Farmers Market with Karen Erickson, said market employees help direct Sunday traffic. The market won’t get money collected by Diamond on the port’s behalf, he and Lefeber said. “We get the benefits of a more controlled situation,” Purves said.
Lefeber said the Boxcar location, with its gravel and dirt, has meant maintenance costs. “The $2 fee is basically to help reduce the cost borne by the market for parking management, as well as to maintain that area and park all those cars,” she said. “We also encourage people to carpool. It’s a very limited area.”
There are about 400 parking spaces at the market site, Purves said. Some 2,500 cars come on busy Sundays.
The current market site, in the port’s Central Pier area, is meant to be temporary. “For sure, it’s not going to be back at Boxcar Park next year,” Lefeber said. Although a beautiful spot by the water, there are challenges complying with access for people with disabilities. Everett Transit’s Route 6 follows West Marine View Drive, but Boxcar Park is quite a walk from the bus.
The port is talking with market managers about a new location.
Complaints from boaters and port-based businesses are big reasons for the paid parking, Lefeber said. “We get these big events that take up all the parking,” she said. That pushes boat owners with North Marina permits to park in Central Marina spaces. Boaters’ parking permits are color-coded.
Lefeber said that in the past, parking costs have been paid by organizations putting on big events.
The $2 Sunday fee includes parking around Scuttlebutt Brewing’s restaurant, but only during market hours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m., the Everett Farmers Market also has vendors across from Everett Station along Smith Avenue. There’s no cost to park there. But rather than the 100 vendors on Sundays, there are 35 on Wednesdays.
Complicating access was a temporary closure of 13th Street at the port. Lefeber said market customers may now enter and pay for parking at both 10th and 13th streets. That may help what were long waits this past week.
By early July, Lefeber said, the port’s Fisherman’s Harbor area should be open as the new Hotel Indigo nears completion. The area includes the Pacific Rim Plaza, and could possibly be a new site for the market.
As the Waterfront Place development is built out and projects open, Lefeber said paid parking will become part of the plan. And as she said, fees aren’t popular.
“One gentleman said he was not going to come as often,” said Rebecca Hood, who on Sunday was selling at the 3 Generations Jam booth. “You shouldn’t have to pay to park to go get groceries.”
“People haven’t been super happy about it,” said Dylan Svihus, a market worker who was helping with parking Sunday. Svihus thinks fewer shoppers may come on Sundays.
Lefeber isn’t sure about that.
“It’s grown so much. It’s huge,” she said. “Whatever we decide with partners, it will be a better experience next year.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
The Everett Farmers Market is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 6 at the Port of Everett’s Boxcar Park, 615 13th St. (parking $2); and 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 28 across from Everett Station, 2333 32nd St.
Market information: https://everettfarmersmarket.com/
Parking information: www.portofeverett.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=13691