No place to stay

The Travelodge was nothing much to look at. It was a throwback to another day, a film noir set piece in an Indie movie — a slice of America from a bygone age. When it finally met its end by being torn down last week, no one took much notice.

Aesthetically speaking, no one will miss the Travelodge. It was ugly and out of date.

It was easy to sneer at, yet it provided a necessary, albeit, plain-vanilla service.

The Travelodge served its purpose when all that was needed was a clean and safe place to stay — not an experience. It sorely lacked in the amenities that we expect when staying at a hotel these days. There was no day spa, no room service, no free Internet access. It was a relic from an earlier era when weary travelers pulled their cars up front to unload the trunk and the kids for a stop on the way to Grandma’s house or the 1962 World’s Fair. It had gone the way of the street it fronts, the old Sunset Highway, now stripped of use or meaning.

But despite its shabby exterior, the Travelodge over the years was often full. Islanders often needed a place for out of town guests, when the hardwood floors were being refinished or remodeling chased people out of their homes for a night or two.

The Travelodge was a temporary home to many who needed a bed and shower on the Island: construction workers, consultants and even retired Associate Superintendent Mike Ziara stayed there several times each month before he retired, after he and his wife moved to the San Juan Islands.

Oh yes, there are plenty of places to stay in Bellevue and of course Seattle, but with traffic worsening, are they really that close?

It is too bad that we do not have a place for people to stay. It makes Mercer Island seem unfriendly and remote.

One would think that a town that wants to attract and keep a strong and diverse business community should have a place for visitors to stay.

When relatives or business associates stay overnight elsewhere, more is lost than convenience. An Island hotel or motel would help businesses attract clients and shoppers, and create jobs right here. Instead, dollars that could benefit the community are spent elsewhere.

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