Junction parking review update: “Kickoff” under way

January 13, 2009 at 11:46 pm | In Junction parking review, Transportation, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

If you’re concerned about the prospect of pay-station parking in The Junction, you missed a chance tonight to talk with the people running the review that will determine whether it happens or not. Junction Neighborhood Organization president Erica Karlovits got the reps from SDOT’s Community Parking Program — which recently decreed pay stations for Fremont, despite community opposition — to come to tonight’s JuNO meeting, and that constituted part of the review’s “kickoff.” Read on for more on what else is next, and when:

It’s been almost a year since we went to SDOT headquarters downtown for a briefing announcing the plan to review Junction-area parking; here’s what we wrote last February — when the city expected the review to start as soon as midsummer. Now, it’s running about a half-year later than that, and as a result, SDOT’s Mary Catherine Snyder said there’s a possibility the West Seattle neighborhoods slated for future years may be delayed too – a decision on that won’t come till later this year.

So back to The Junction. One of the next steps following tonight’s JuNO meeting is a postcard mailing that’ll land in your mailbox if you’re within the current version of the study area, Dakota to Brandon, 47th to 39th, plus the Triangle area.

Then – program managers will be looking for people interested in taking “walking tours” of the area, to look at and discuss unique characters of the local parking situation, particularly if there are, as Taylor put it, “areas that might need a focus on specific parking management tools.” They’ll also be looking for people willing to be part of a committee that’ll meet monthly during the review.

As you might imagine, given the wide-ranging borders of the study area, the review isn’t just about commercial-area parking; neighborhoods will be examined too, including an evaluation of whether RPZs (residential parking zones) are needed anywhere, to potentially crack down on non-residents’ “park and hide” practices, driving to The Junction to catch buses downtown, and leaving their cars on neighborhood streets all day. (Seattle already has 27 RPZ’s, it was noted tonight; in West Seattle, there are restrictions on many streets near the Fauntleroy ferry dock.)

If RPZs do go into effect as part of this, obtaining a permit will be easier than it is now — SDOT says they’ll be selling RPZ permits online as of sometime next year; right now it’s all done by mail, telephone, even in-person at city offices downtown.

Here’s the official city webpage for the project; it includes the e-mail address you can use to send questions or concerns — JunctionParking@seattle.gov — or to express interest in the upcoming walking tours and committee formation.

15 Comments

  1. It’s so nice of the city to think up ways like this to help local merchants during an economic downturn. I can’t think of anything more comforting than knowing you’ll be paying a $35 tax if you spend too much time with the friendly and talkative proprietor and spending money there.
    ~
    Do Southcenter and Northgate secretly underwrite these hairbrained schemes?

    Comment by PSPS — 12:11 am January 14, 2009 #

  2. “Do Southcenter and Northgate secretly underwrite these hairbrained schemes?”

    Nice try, but it’s just our friendly elected government trying to find as many ways as possible to feed and grow itself.
    We could try to change things/administration, but my guess is that we will not.
    Pay parking may be deferred, but it will come.

    Comment by old timer — 7:21 am January 14, 2009 #

  3. I agree, the ball is rolling and we cannot stop it unfortunately. Pay parking is coming.

    Comment by KT — 8:25 am January 14, 2009 #

  4. Let me get this straight…I could potentially have to pay to park in front of my house (on 47th) if it’s determined to be a RPZ? I do have a garage but can’t park in it because of my undrivable potholed unpaved alley (and that is a different rant). ARGH.

    Comment by yumpears — 9:05 am January 14, 2009 #

  5. Is the city at least admitting that this is just a way to make more money? Some of the places that they’re talking about in other parts of Seattle can be a pain when you want to find parking but I’ve never had an issue with finding a spot in the Junction. And is parking the residential areas around there really a problem. When I’ve visited people that live in area mentioned there has always been plenty of street parking in front of their house.

    Comment by D — 9:37 am January 14, 2009 #

  6. Probably not N-Gate or S-Center, but maybe Westwood Village :)
    Surely Lincoln Park won’t be far behind, and why not West Crest? Then Delridge Community Center, Libraries, etc. Jefferson Sq. should be hiring parking secruity guards soon, too. Won’t WF and QFC have parking garages too? The City must be jealous of all those pay lots west of Calif. in the Junction.

    Comment by Brandon — 11:14 am January 14, 2009 #

  7. Despite the general increase in traffic in the Junction, parking is not so bad, due in part to the free lots that the Junction merchants maintain (The Farmer’s market lot, the Husky Deli/NW Art and Frame lot, and the liquor store lot). When street parking is pay for play, I wonder how long these free lots can last?
    -
    Unfortunately the City has discovered that these pay stations are efficient revenue generators, hence the drive to install them everywhere, while forcing the taxpayer to pass special levies for park maintenance, etc., that should come out of the taxes already collected (in addition to these new taxes…I mean “parking fees”).

    Comment by JayDee — 12:28 pm January 14, 2009 #

  8. “When street parking is pay for play, I wonder how long these free lots can last?”
    .
    I’ll put my wager in that they’re gone in a year or so. Just look at that huge apartment building that fit so nicely in the Petco parking lot.

    Comment by rjb — 12:52 pm January 14, 2009 #

  9. The Petco lot was private property – originally sold to the monorail project, then resold when that was killed. The Junction parking lots are held in trust and managed by the Junction Association. Not to say that could never change, but it is a slightly more complicated situation.

    Comment by WSB — 12:57 pm January 14, 2009 #

  10. We live on 44th in the “zone”. We are a typical two car family meaning we have to park one on the street. Too often, daily actually, I have to time coming home from work to coincide with the end of the shopping day to park anywhere near my home.

    We enjoy living in an urban environment. We shop daily at local merchants in the Junction (Note to Junction business owners, who would you rather see suffer: local residents who spend money daily or some suburbanite who drives in from Belleview once every six months?)

    People complain about traffic congestion yet will not support measures to limit driving. When we shop downtown, we take the bus. Why? Because we don’t want to pay for parking. To ask suburbanites to pay $1.25/hr to shop in the Junction isn’t asking much. For those living in West Seattle, take a bus, or better yet, walk to the Junction. To those of us living in the “zone”, give us a RPZ so we can carry in groceries, etc. I don’t mind paying the $35.00.

    Comment by David — 3:10 pm January 14, 2009 #

  11. I drive to the Junction often – for a huge variety of merchants, multiple times a week. If I drive from down the hill (Alki) does that make me a suburbanite who should pay? I have walked to the Junction on occasion, but unfortunately, I don’t have that much extra time in my day multiple times a week, so, yes, I do drive. Bus? Hmm, you think a nice person would offer to carry my 40 lb bag of dog food home? I hate to say this, but I can get what I need at Westwood, Southcenter or even online – all with free parking.

    Comment by AlkiResident — 4:35 pm January 14, 2009 #

  12. Besides the cost of pay parking…it’s a hassle to have to go to the machine, get the sticker, and then go back to the car to put the sticker in the window (especially when it’s raining). There have been times when I drove downtown to pick up something from a shop and spent more time paying for the parking then I spent actually parked.

    If there are some 15-minute free spots or something for people who just need to run in for something quick, then that would be better.

    This definitely seems to be just a way for the city to collect more $$$. If the city really wanted to make parking more available, then time-limits would probably be more effective and would prevent all-day bus-parkers from using those spots.

    As for myself, if pay parking is initiated, then I’ll just do my shopping at the larger shopping centers that have free parking and skip the Junction shops. :( Would save time and money.

    Comment by alki_2008 — 12:19 pm January 15, 2009 #

  13. Free parking at Westwood, Southcenter? Is it really free when considering gas prices and extra drive time? Free parking online? Really? Do you get free shipping with every purchase? You state you don’t have much extra time but you’d rather drive an extra 15 minutes to Westwood Village or 30 minutes to Southcenter, rather than paying a couple bucks in meter fees? And how many bags of 40lb dog food do you buy each week? Must be a pretty big dog.

    Your justification for not paying meter fees is pretty slim. Yea, we’d rather pay no fees, but come on, it’s not that big of a deal and frankly I’m a big fan and will support parking fees to get an RPZ. Somehow, I don’t think I can get one without the other. If it can be done, I’ll change my position.

    Comment by David — 12:25 pm January 15, 2009 #

  14. The shopping centers may be more expensive for you, since you live within walking distance of the Junction. Personally, I go to the shopping centers regularly anyway (for household goods and groceries) – so if there’s something that I might instead buy at a small Junction shop (candles, gifts, etc), then I’ll just wait and buy it at one of the shops in the free-parking shopping center instead.

    Online shopping may not always offer free shipping, but in some cases it can be the same or cheaper than gas + parking fees.

    I wouldn’t mind RPZ’s if residents weren’t charged for them – and if they could be placards instead of decals.

    How does it work if your car (with the RPZ decal on it) is in the shop and you get a rental car? Can the decals be easily removed and put onto another car? Does that mean everyone should buy a guess pass and not have more than ONE carload of people over to visit?

    Comment by alki_2008 — 2:45 pm January 15, 2009 #

  15. We live in the “zone” in a mixed use building across the street from Rocksport on Alaska. Both my boyfriend and I have cars we leave parked outside our apartment during the day while we carpool/bus to work in downtown Seattle & Bellevue.

    I would NOT mind paying $35 for a RZP – however if they do not offer this we will have to move. I refuse to begin driving daily again and I do not wish to find a rental parking space for FAR more money in the area. We frequent many of our Junction businesses and it would be very sad to lose the joy of living in such a vibrant environment because we can’t park our cars during the day.

    FYI – I did email the committee and did receive a QUICK response thanking me and requesting I participate in the planning process for my input. If enough people actually participate we could at least make sure that the zoning permits could be an option offered to us.

    Comment by Courtney — 8:32 pm January 15, 2009 #

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