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Friday, June 19, 2015

When something used to be free, but now there's a charge

So, how do you deal with this? When you've grown accustomed to having or using something, that had always been available, free of charge, and now it's no longer free.

Our favorite beach, the one with a lighthouse, lovely park and near a fish and chips place, plus a couple of ice cream stands, is now charging for parking.

Because of the nature of it's location (on the other side of train tracks), there is no convenient street parking near the main parking lot and beach front. You drive over a bridge to cross the train tracks, to get to the beach.

Anyway, starting June 1, there is now a $2 per hour charge for parking. That's just too steep for me, when I just want to spend some time in my thinking spot. I'm really sad about this, so much so I was awake for a bit the other night pondering my options.

There is a local bus, but the fare is $2.25 each way. The nearest street parking, over the bridge, would be quite a hike, but possibly do-able. However, I am very sure that I wouldn't be the only person considering this as a possibility, and free street parking is extremely limited in this small community (some streets require permits). And then there's the possibility of changing favorite beaches.

Maybe I should look on this as an opportunity to explore other possibilities. I think I need some chocolate.

Have you ever been faced with a similar dilemma, something that used to be available for free, now has a charge? How did you handle that situation?

On another note, I want to say a big thanks to all of you who suggested that I freeze homemade flour tortillas. I began doing this about a month ago, and they thawed perfectly. Then, yesterday afternoon, I went to make tortillas for burritos, and I was somewhat absent-minded and accidentally added 2 cups of flour, instead of one (and I'd already added the salt when I figured this out).  And then, I remembered I could freeze the extra tortillas. Great! So, half of the tortillas were used last night, and the other half frozen for another day. Thank you!!!


  1. Hi Lili,
    Sorry to hear about the new parking charges. Wow $2 per hour is a lot, if it were a $2 flat fee no matter how long you stayed that would not be so bad. I don't really have any suggestions other than to explore the finding another beach idea. Do you guys have bikes? If so maybe riding there would be a possibility if it is not too far.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I'm hoping that the city council revisits this parking charge after this summer. It is expensive! The Seattle area is quickly acquiring the reputation for expensive parking, sadly.

      Bikes -- I've thought about that for myself. My disabled husband couldn't bike that distance, but for just myself, when I get my bike fixed or replaced, that will probably be what I do, if I REALLY want to visit that beach. Meanwhile, I'm venturing out and finding other beaches to visit.

    2. Not sure if this would work... depends on your vehicle, but maybe you could put your bike in the car and then bike from someplace relatively close that has free parking? Probably only an option for when it's just you...

  2. Parking fees are so expensive in our is just another means for the city to raise revenues. If not from parking fees, the city would raise fees and taxes elsewhere. So far our city's garbage collection is free, but maybe not for long. Sewer fees (another city run service) based on water usage has gone up a lot these past several years, it is our most expensive utility bill every month (since we've capped our electric bill to about $15 every month with PV).

    Still it doesn't ease the sadness when something that has been free to use suddenly becomes expensive. I try every day to find ways to live as lightly on earth, that the cost of maintaining my existence is as low as I can make it, but I guess the city (and other governments) costs are ever expanding as it serves an increasingly expanding population.


    1. Hi YHF,
      I know, cities don't seem to be nearly as responsible with money as some of its citizens. Our water rates are combined water ad sewer and they sky-rocketed a couple of years ago. Water/sewer is right behind heating our house, in monthly cost. For our area, the cost increase came with the building of a couple of new state of the art water treatment facilities. So, that's good, I guess. Less pollution going out to the Puget Sound.

  3. Wow, that IS expensive parking, especially if you want to spend several hours at the beach. I can't think of any suggestions except for Rhonda's, above. Sometimes I force myself to see a negative situation as an opportunity--it doesn't come naturally to me to think that way, but it does help to change my mindset. You may find a beach you never knew existed because you've been forced out of your comfort zone.

    Will your city consider a yearly parking sticker on your car? Our state parks have either a daily parking fee (I think it's $5) or you can buy a $10 parking sticker for your car which is good for a year. I'm sure you can guess which option we choose! I don't have any experience in presenting anything to a city council, but it might be something you could suggest. One of my bosses once told me "If you never ask, the answer is always 'no' ".

    1. Hi Kris,
      Guess what I did today? I went and found a new favorite beach!! It's a further drive from home, but has free parking, is near a great small downtown area (nice for walking), and has a long stretch of beach to walk along. It doesn't have the lighthouse or nicely landscaped grounds, but it was a nice morning. And there's even an ice cream shop just up the hill. I do need to find a table of tide activity, though. I got there at very low tide and it was stinksville at first. It does have a nice rock jetty with path to walk down. I brought my thermos of coffee, sketchbook/pencils and had a nice hour.

      So, sometimes these disappointments have the effect of forcing me to change things up a bit. And change can be good!

    2. See, that's what I like about blogs--realizing how different things are in different areas. There are tides on the Great Lakes, but the tides are so small that the wind and wave activity masks them and they are practically unnoticeable. I didn't even think about tides when you wrote about this! :)

      L&L has a point about the cost of gas vs. the cost of parking fees!

  4. I live in a different area than the rest of the commenters because $2/hour sounds like cheap parking to me. If you really like this beach, maybe paying for parking is something you put into the budget because everyone needs to take time to recharge themselves sometimes. You need this especially for how incredibly hard you work making a good life for your family despite financial limitations. Maybe you could alternate between beaches.

    And being that you figure everything out down to the penny, I'm sure you've taken into account the cost for the extra gas to drive to the other beach.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I guess part of why it doesn't sound cheap to me is that I can't think of any other paid parking for a public park or beach nearby us. Oh well, I hope the town gets what they're after with this. I'm already pleased as punch to be visiting a new beach. And I have another one on my list to try that is closer.

  5. I feel soooo fortunate to be able to ride my bike to so many beautiful places. Every time we're at one of the major parks I realize that all the people who are there in cars paid for the privilege, while I get to enjoy it for free.

    Hopefully your new beach will work for you. I have similar issues whenever I need to go downtown. Pay for parking, or pay just as much (or more) to take the bus. I usually end up paying for parking since the cost is pretty much the same and I'd rather not wait for an hour if I miss a bus! There MUST be a better way!!!!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Driving mostly there, then biking would be a good option, once I get my bike fixed. And I do have a spot where I could park for free. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. $2 seems reasonable to me. To park at a beach near me it is $16 whether you stay 10 minutes or 10 hours. It is too bad that you have to pay though.

    1. $16 to park at the beach, oh WOW! I sure hope that wages are higher where you are, or the cost of other goods/services is much lower than here. $16 sounds too high, for a public area. There are many families who don't have the finances to take a summer vacation, and day trips to the park or beach are it for them. Charging that much sounds outrageous.

      I'm adjusting and finding new places to visit. I hate that I have to change what I do, because the town changes its policy. But such is life.

  7. $16 is insane but the beach is absolutely jam packed every day (people from the Toronto flock there). I refuse to pay $16 so we never go.


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