The Woodland Park Zoo wants the city of Seattle to pony up $2 million for more parking. But some neighbors say it's a waste of money, arguing that much of the cost has nothing to do with parking.
Visit Woodland Park Zoo during busy times and you know parking can be a zoo - not just in the lots but in the neighborhood. But not everyone minds. Ted Holden lives right across the street.
"It's not a big deal, it's not a big deal," he said.
What is a big deal to Holden and the Phinney Ridge Community Council are zoo plans for more paid parking spots. To make space, the zoo has to move adminstrative portable buildings some place else. And that, says Holden, isn't cheap, isn't necessary, and isn't a good use of public money.
"They're asking the city to move portable office buildings that will probably eventually go away anyway. It just seems like a waste of money," said Holden.
The Seattle City Council heard from both sides before voting unanimously to approve the additional parking at the zoo.
The parking issue at the zoo is hardly new. In 2001 the zoo wanted to build a parking garage with 750 spots. It was eventually scrapped. This new plan creates 165 spots. The zoo believes it's a fair compromise.
"This is about demand. And one thing the PRCC doesn't take into account is the fact that this is a regional asset, this is a regional entity," said Laura Lockard, director of communications and public affairs for the Woodland Park Zoo. "We want to make sure we're reducing the impact on the neighborhood."
Holden believes adding parking is more about adding revenue: "First of all, it's a zoo. It's not supposed to be a money-making amusement park. It's a zoo."
Wherever people park, the zoo says it's only trying to meet demand with a plan they insist benefits everyone.