As promised during our briefing last month with city Transportation Department managers about the upcoming Junction parking review, SDOT is starting to make the rounds of West Seattle meetings to outline what’s ahead and answer questions. One of the first stops: last night’s meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO), whose members have a somewhat different take on area parking issues than people who don’t live in the Junction vicinity – they are interested in possible Residential Parking Zones (RPZs), which are marked with signs like the one shown in the photo at left (from a street near the Fauntleroy ferry dock), and require residents to pay a relatively small fee for a permit exempting them from the restrictions. Here’s a city page with more about RPZs; they’re set up to help neighborhoods besieged with a large amount of non-resident parkers for long periods of time. Right now in the residential areas surrounding The Junction, the challenges are twofold: “Park-and-hiders” — people from other neighborhoods who drive and park there to get closer to major bus routes — and construction workers coming in to work on Capco Plaza (41st/42nd/Alaska) and Mural (behind Petco), a subset of parkers that will only get bigger as other projects are launched, such as Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods) and the California/Alaska buildings that will be presented to the Southwest Design Review Board on April 10. (By the way, the location for that meeting is now set — Chief Sealth High School – and after the California/Alaska project is reviewed at 6:30, the Harbor Properties project at 4550 38th has been added for 8 pm — more on that in our next post.) At JuNO last night, Mary Catherine Snyder from SDOT outlined the process for the Junction Parking Review and answered questions about where RPZ consideration might fit in:
First, Snyder had a tidbit of news — the city’s RPZ policy in general is being reviewed right now, and one of the SDOT colleagues who’s working on that policy review attended last night’s JuNO meeting too. Snyder says the policy hasn’t been reviewed since the early ’90s.
In her general presentation, Snyder stressed the same points from the original briefing on the Junction parking review — no decisions have been made, pay stations are by no means a fait accompli, the official review process will start in late summer and will include parking surveys and neighborhood walking tours, as well as a formal process leading to recommendations that would be put into place in the summer of 2009.
JuNO president Erica Karlovits stressed that “to put in paid parking on California with no RPZs in our neighborhood will be a disaster” — with people jamming the side streets in search of free parking. Snyder noted that could cut both ways — if RPZs are implemented without paid parking in nearby business districts, those streets could be clogged with spillover.
Snyder also reiterated that the boundaries of the area that will be included in the Junction parking review have yet to be determined. The fact that additional construction projects will be on the drawing board at the time of the review was noted; there seems to be no formal formula for how that’s taken into account, but attendees stressed that it would be important to consider what street areas should have restricted parking so it doesn’t block visibility for people coming in and out of alleys and future parking-garage entrances, and Snyder pointed out that any current concerns should always be called to the attention of the SDOT hotline, 684-ROAD.
The Community Parking Program — which includes the forthcoming Junction parking review as well as possible Morgan Junction, Admiral, and Alki reviews in each of the next three years, depending on how the city budget shakes out — has its own website here, with contact info for questions/comments, and also an e-mail list you can sign up for.