Junction parking discussion at JuNO: RPZs in the ‘hoods?

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.

9 Replies to "Junction parking discussion at JuNO: RPZs in the 'hoods?"

  • eileen March 12, 2008 (9:11 pm)

    If they implement RPZs near the Junction, they also need to reintroduce “feeder” bus lines to get people from other neighborhoods that are a distance from the major buslines. When I first moved to west seattle the 37 busline actually served this purpose.

  • Michael March 13, 2008 (12:00 pm)

    When I’ve been canvassed about an RPZ in the past, I tell the canvasser I will only support it if it means my neighbors won’t park in front of my house either.
    Hell, if I don’t want people from Fauntleroy parking on my street, it makes sense for the guy who lives down at the corner to keep his SUV away from my place too, right?
    Bottom line: no one has the right to park their (usually extra) cars on the street. RPZs should be illegal.

  • Dawson March 13, 2008 (12:32 pm)

    I can understand the permit for certain areas in the city that get excess visitors. However, I’ve never understood why the residents of those neighborhoods have to pay extra for a permit to park in the neighborhood in which they live. It would seem simple that SDOT could cross reference car tabs with physical address and issue permits. Or maybe this is something that could be handled by the neighborhood service centers. Bring your registration(s) in and get your permits.

  • RS March 13, 2008 (12:45 pm)

    Is there definitely a fee involved for these zones in West Seattle? In Capital Hill they are free for residents. When I lived in Boston the fee ranged between $1 and $5 a year. An administrative fee to cover the cost of someone actually doing the cross referencing that Dawson refers to. And Michael- no one has the right to park their cars on the street??? Ever? What are you talking about?

  • swimcat March 13, 2008 (1:31 pm)

    When I lived on Capital Hill, the RPZ I was in was around $35 from what I remember. It was good for more than one year though.

    I don’t get Michael’s comments either; I can only hope that is a joke, since not every house in WS has a driveway or garage.

  • CMP March 13, 2008 (2:21 pm)

    I think that certain neighborhoods in Seattle charge fees for the RPZ permit, such as Eastlake. I believe theirs was restricted overnight, while Capital Hill and Queen Anne are usually a daytime restriction. In addition to having a permanent sticker for your own car, you are usually given a pass for guests. I’ve never had to deal with RPZ’s, but my sister has and it never seemed to bother her or terribly inconvenience her guests. It might be a hassle but if it would help free up parking for those of us that actually live in the area, I’m all for it. From what I’ve seen, people park like idiots around here anyway and wouldn’t pay any attention to the signs so it might not do much good!

  • Miss T March 13, 2008 (2:31 pm)

    I moved from Capitol Hill around a year ago to West Seattle. One of the many things I LOVE about living here is the LACK of parking problems. I imagine those people who have lived in this area for a long time see it becoming more of an issue than it’s been in the past, but realistically, the fact that you can park basically within 1/2 block of ANYWHERE you want to be at nearly anytime of day is amazing for urban living, and I don’t see any reason to implement zoning at all in this area – at least not at this juncture. Also, the zoning we had near my house in Capitol Hill didn’t stop the students from SU from parking there all day long. And yes, we had metered parking too and that didn’t cut down on problems either. It’s more of a scare tactic than anything, but the people who drive are going to drive, whether they can park for only 2 hours or not. It’s just going to make folks irrate more than anything and hurt businesses in the area.

    As far as meters go, if they install them in the Junction, I might as well go downtown to shop where there are more options. Most of the boutiques around the Junction are a little spendy anyway, so paying to park while I shop at them isn’t much of a draw for me. I moved to West Seattle in part to get away from the stress of meters and overly urban lifestyle. I pray that these changes don’t go into effect just because a bunch of greedy investors decided they wanted to build condos here…that’s what it feels like is happening.

  • miws March 13, 2008 (8:24 pm)

    As long as more townhomes and condos/apts are being built, and on-site parking is restricted whether by City mandate, or developer choice, the overflow on the streets is going to be an issue.


    I remember street parking being a problem over 25 years ago on Lower Queen Anne and Capitol Hill, because of the large amount of apartment bldgs that existed then. I can only imagine what it’s like in those locations now.


    I do feel for residents, especially long time ones that have had alot of growth and change happen around them, that have trouble parking in front of their own house, but sadly, there is no legal right to do so. If I still had a car, I’m fortunate that where I live now I have an assigned spot on our bldg’s property, so it would not be an issue for me.


    I don’t think RPZ’s should be illeagal. I believe there is a need for them in such areas as near the Fauntleroy Dock, because alot of ferry commuters used to clog the are overnight with an extra car so that they could walk on and save the addtional cost and other hassles of driving on. Outsiders should not be able to use up residential street parking for great lengths of time, on such a potentially large scale as that.



  • Bob March 29, 2008 (10:02 am)

    I am a commuter who takes the Southworth to Fauntleroy route every weekday morning. I have not, but am thinking about, parking an extra car on the Fauntleroy side. I can only speak for myself, but I think I speak for the commuters who are already doing what you are complaining about. As for me, I wouldn’t be parking on the sreet because of the idea of a free place to park. I’m willing to pay, as long as the cost isn’t too high. I’m also not as concerned about the cost of driving a car on and off the ferry. It’s time that I’m most concerned about.

    I’m amazed that there isn’t a commercial parking lot for overnight parking near the Fauntleroy dock. It would get plenty of customers, and perhaps help alleviate much of the problems homeowners have with parking in front of their homes.

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