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Residents protest Navy gate cab stand

Since Sept. 11, tighter security has reduced parking and access to Naval Station Bremerton, and residents near the Naval Avenue gate have seen a dramatic change.

Restricted entry into the base means more people waiting outside the gates for taxis or rides. According to residents, not all the visitors have been pleasant.

At a community meeting hosted Aug. 27 by the city and the Navy to discuss a proposed taxi stand on First Street, about 20 citizens expressed their anger about how their neighborhood has been transformed. Trash has accumulated along the roads and in their yards. Alcohol containers, cigarette butts and condoms are scattered daily, they say.

Gregory Way resident Richard Foxworth said loud voices and music rouse him every night. He said he moved his bedroom from a front room to a back room to avoid the racket. Foxworth has also spotted people urinating in the streets and in yards.

“Starting at ten o’clock it’s waterworks time out here,” Foxworth said.

Jack Moser, a Gregory Way resident, was hit in the head with a bottle and beaten up by a man and woman after he confronted them about their loud car stereo. He is fed up with the noise, trash and oil slick from the waiting cars, he said.

“They really have no morals at all,” Moser said.

The Navy has proposed a pedestrian shelter on First Street adjacent to the Naval Avenue gate, where people can wait for taxis or rides. The shelter would be constructed on the inside edge of Navy property, and the security fence would be placed around the shelter. First Street would remain one-way westbound, but the inside (southern) lane would be used for waiting taxis and vehicles. The city supports the proposal, said Luke Korpi, City of Bremerton managing engineer.

In a notice to residents, the city said the goal of the project is to discourage use of the current informal taxi drop at Gregory Street near Naval, about a block away from the proposed site. Korpi contends that providing a shelter closer to the guarded gate will provide more security for waiting pedestrians.

Neighbors, however, are not so supportive.

“This is a quick fix to satisfy the residents on Gregory Way and move it to our neighborhood,” said Dell Knauss, an Olympic Avenue resident.

Foxworth said a taxi stand does not belong in a residential area, and suggested that a drop-off/pick-up zone be established at either the Arco AM/PM on Sixth Street and Naval Avenue, where some taxis already wait, or at the Farragut Avenue gate near Callow.

Shufang Newman bought her First Street home near the gate because she thought it would be safe for her family. But now she fears for her children’s safety because of the increased activity outside the gate.

“We want to be a good neighbor to the military and we want them to be a good neighbor to us,” Newman said.

Residents were miffed the city didn’t notify them sooner, and feared their efforts would be too late to stop construction of the stand.

The proposal was submitted two weeks prior, Korpi said. The Navy has already purchased materials.

“It was clear the residents had significant concerns about the proposal, we think there is a need to step back and evaluate,” Korpi said. “The proposal presently may not meet our needs.”

Korpi said the city plans to work with the Navy and possibly develop something completely different.

If constructed, the Navy would build the stand and the city would provide signs and street markings.

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