‘Neighborhood parking reform’ goes to City Council committee Wednesday

On the second day of 2018 City Council meetings, the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee will take on the “neighborhood parking reform” proposal. We first wrote about it in mid-November, when the proposed changes to parking policy were released by the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess. Wednesday’s 9:30 am committee meeting will bring the first official briefing for, and discussion by, councilmembers, according to the agenda circulated today, which includes this map:

The map (also viewable here, in PDF) shows areas of the city where the proposal would lead to reduction or elimination of parking requirements (see the legend at the bottom of the map, explaining the color coding). The proposal enables this by expanding the definition of “frequent transit service” to cover more areas. You can read a relatively short summary in this agenda attachment, or the long version in the “director’s report” here. Along with the change in parking requirements, it also lays out the rules for “flexible-use” and “shared” parking, intended to increase usage of what the city says is underutilized offstreet parking that already exists, or will be built, and it would require rental properties’ owners to “unbundle” parking so that renters who don’t want it aren’t required to pay for it. There are also some changes in requirements/allowances for car-sharing and bicycle parking, and also a provision to close a loophole that some said was leading to parking stalls that were too small to use – it would “require that non-required parking for residential and live-work uses meet the existing minimum size standards for parking spaces” (currently, the standards only apply to required parking). The full 138-page bill is here.

HOW TO COMMENT: This meeting isn’t scheduled to include a vote. But you can comment on this, or any other, proposed legislation by e-mailing and/or calling councilmembers – this page includes all that information, as well as details of which councilmembers are on which committees – our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold is a member of the PLUZ committee that will start this proposal’s review Wednesday.

13 Replies to "'Neighborhood parking reform' goes to City Council committee Wednesday"

  • Mark December 29, 2017 (9:32 pm)

    Any news on zoned parking for the Junction surrounding neighborhood?

    • WSB December 29, 2017 (10:49 pm)

      No study results announced yet – “early 2018” was the timeline SDOT gave if it planned to propose anything, although timelines for many ongoing/upcoming projects have tended to slip (Fauntleroy Boulevard, 35th SW, for example), so we’ll see …

  • anonyme December 30, 2017 (6:38 am)

    I can’t see how this proposal is anything more (or less) than yet another giveaway to developers while putting an increased burden on neighborhoods.  I can’t help but note that the percentages of cuts to parking requirements are in no way tied to an increase in transit coverage.  The only way this works is if there are rules put in place simultaneously that restrict car ownership, and if there is actual parking enforcement.  In Arbor Heights, there are multiple residences with 8-12 vehicles on site and spilling over on public property (including traffic-blocking boats and wrecked cars). 

    The map is also highly misleading in terms of actual service.   The Arbor Heights stops shown on the map are available only during peak hours in the morning and late afternoon, with a few of them open to an hourly shuttle during the day.  Much as I would like to see car use diminished, this proposal does nothing to address that issue.

  • flimflam December 30, 2017 (8:59 am)

    lol the fact that the city council is involved is a bad sign for the neighborhood….

  • Friend O'Dinghus December 30, 2017 (9:05 am)

    This proposal only helps private paid parking companies. If this passes, expect to see the least profitable structures in any newly affected neighborhood suddenly disappear, then a private paid parking lot appear in its place. is that really the solution we are looking for?

  • Alex December 30, 2017 (10:56 am)

    One of the most interesting bipartisan political agreements of our time. Liberals love making parking harder because it’s green, and conservatives love making it harder because it increases profits for rich developers. It blows my mind they are on the same page.


    Donald Trump (if he were here) and the Seattle City Counsil would be in perfect political agreement on the need to allow mega developers to push into neighborhoods, free of burdensome regulation.

    • It's not always liberals, Alex December 30, 2017 (11:39 am)

      This isn’t a “liberals” or “Donald Trump” or “Seattle City Counsil” thing. The city is optimizing for increased housing construction  for those who can’t afford to move into a full-sized house. Burdening developers with parking requirements is antithetical to accelerating the capacity increase, so the requirements are being loosened. I’m not a fan of what I’m describing, but it’s important to use facts in arguments and avoid aspersions.

  • Chas Redmond December 30, 2017 (1:59 pm)

    ^— it’s also important to point out as a fact, that the housing being built is a far cry from being affordable to those for whom a full-sized house isn’t – in the process of increasing habitable capacity – in “attempting to create affordable housing,” the developers and City of Seattle are creating the reverse.

    • CAM December 30, 2017 (5:21 pm)

      Chas – Part of what makes it impossible to buy a house in this market is the prohibitive amount of money a person needs to save to come up with a down payment. Rent is an awful lot more affordable than buying when you consider that a person not only needs to make enough to pay their current rent and bills but also needs to have money set aside for savings and retirement before they can even think of starting to save for a down payment on a house. That’s what makes all the arguments about promoting “owner-occupied” and “single-family” housing as the gold standard for neighborhood planning so completely ridiculous and uninformed. 

  • MJ December 30, 2017 (6:09 pm)

    Providing zero parking stalls is simply not appropriate.  Neither is foisting too many stalls. 

    King County has a program that provides residential parking needs based transit and other factors.  The City should look into this program “Right Size Parking” that could be a good tool to ascertain parking requirement for each project.

  • TJ December 30, 2017 (8:23 pm)

    Paying rent means means you are losing 100% of your monthly payment to someone else. Paying a mortgage allows you to earn equity in your investment, in part paying yourself with the 12% yearly increases in housing value. I’m not sure of the numbers, but it seems that the vast majority of these boxes being built are apartments. Where are the condos? This city is so screwed up allowing this development. If these people insist on apartments and not condos, how about letting developers know they absolutely will not get any bailouts or bankruptcy protection in any future market collapse, making them pay for infrastructure improvements, and getting rid of the ridiculous mfte? Our city government seems to want as much regional growth as possible to happen here at the expense of existing residents. Sad when local politicians have their ear more to the United Nations then our own federal government.we all pay.

    • justadumbguy December 30, 2017 (10:20 pm)

      TJ there are few condos being built as a result of the Condo laws in Washington State that hold the developer of a Condo to a higher standard than the developer of other types of property.  Since it is more risky and requires more insurance to build Condos than apartments you can see which get built. 

      The laws were implemented in an attempt to fix an earlier issue with Condos that developed the need for expensive repairs after they were built leaving the condo purchasers holding the bill.

      I think the current situation is an unintended (though perhaps foreseeable) result of trying to fix a problem that did require fixing. 

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