Another Alki parking crunch may worsen, for safety’s sake


People returning home tonight from work to the Alki neighborhood along and around SW Stevens and 59th/60th environs will notice many new markings like that (as well as the word “locate”) on the curbs near driveways and corners, thanks to a city Transportation Department worker who was out there, wielding a can of white spray paint, this morning.


This is a busy parking street about to get busier, with the sign in the photo above heralding a teardown we’ve mentioned before, five units going up in its place, directly across 59th from Alki Elementary/Playground/Playfield. But the city marking project — delineating the areas around driveways/corners that must be kept clear — is the first step toward getting cars out of some illegal spaces on the street, for safety’s sake:

We found out about the SDOT worker’s presence there today thanks to a WSB’er who called to tell us, talked with us in person, and sent this note explaining that signs will go up to clearly mark where vehicles can and can’t park:

For those of you who have driven the streets (Stevens etc.), you know how difficult it is to see past cars who have parked too close to alley openings and intersections. According to SDOT, these signs will be marking No Parking North, South, East and West.

Again, this move stemmed from Proposal #3008596 on lot 2771 59th Ave SW, where a single family home is scheduled for tear down to be replaced with three, three-story structures for a total of five units. Concerned neighbors in the area have sent comments to Department of Planning and Development regarding size and bulk of this proposal and how it will affect sight lines to the alley and already congested intersection of 59th Ave and SW Stevens – especially since it is the corner lot.

As Alki Elementary, Alki Playfield/Playground and the Alki Community Center are directly across from this lot, there is a lot of traffic – 360 children at Alki Elementary alone. We are just trying to make sure the sidewalks, alleys and streets don’t become more dangerous with visibility impairments. Another neighbor’s concern is the height of the structures and how they will shadow the Playfield. Everyone in Seattle knows how warm and beautiful the sun is and how cold it gets when it hides behind buildings. Even the City knows as there is a code specifically for Shadows on Open Spaces, SMC 25.05.675 Q.

SDOT is amazing – once they were aware of the existing street parking and congestion issues, they started working on a solution.

The solution won’t just affect residents, though – this is a popular street for everyone from Alki Elementary families who don’t live within walking distance, to weekend beach visitors. And while we were out there taking pictures this morning, another resident showed us what he says is another factor contributing to the street parking crunch — townhouses where the driveways and garages are legal-sized but not necessarily convenient to use:



On the west side of that same building, the neighbor who talked with us pointed out cars parked on townhouse buildings’ alley-facing mini-lawns, like this one:


This is all unfolding near the alley where 10 mph signs went up recently (WSB coverage here), and just a couple blocks east of more development (recent teardown reported here). So more signs, and fewer parking spaces, are in the works; we have a message out to SDOT to try to find out more about the scope of the work.

14 Replies to "Another Alki parking crunch may worsen, for safety's sake"

  • Eddie April 18, 2008 (7:52 pm)

    In a lot of areas of West Seattle, there is the ongoing “improvement” program adding wheelchair-style cutouts at many intersections. As you can see in the first photo in this posting, the sidewalk and curbing don’t meet the current standards for access. Some agency (SDOT?) has been out doing a ton of marking, (and the required utilities locating – “call before you dig”), busting up concrete and installation on nice, new, accessible and compliant corners.

  • PSPS April 18, 2008 (9:26 pm)

    That Corvette and the tire-rutted “lawn” sure is a nice addition to the shrubbery, isn’t it?

  • BORN &RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE April 18, 2008 (10:06 pm)

    This is very sad for me and everybody who knows “naynay” that house rocked for over 15 years!! That house was a beautiful old craftsman and it could have been restored and had a nice family living there!! I guess it will have a few more people living there with no yard, like the dude with the vet!!TOO BAD!!Oh well that’s West Seattle now and $$.Rock on naynay WE still love ya!!

  • Todd April 18, 2008 (10:12 pm)

    I think someone made a point about these “garages” and “driveways” the other day. It does seem like these common traits of townhomes can problematic.. I mean, for one, if a home had two cars and now the home that has been cleared has 2 or more units on the same plat, that means even more cars trying to park on an already crowded street. People giving up cars is not likely. Unless condo dwellers are required to give up their cars, I don’t see how this density thing makes sense. I was tolerant of density/development for the last few years but this shows no sign of slowing down and there are going to be problems. Looks like a lot of others feel the same way which is nice. I am involved but there doesn’t appear to be much we can do to stop this .. the whole can’t fight city hall thing.

  • Todd April 18, 2008 (10:16 pm)

    And another thing .. I’m sorry but parking on a lawn in no way maintains or improves the class or value or integrity of a neighborhood.

  • JanS April 18, 2008 (10:49 pm)

    I swear, the people who build these things like that have their heads up their collective arses when it comes to design that works. And they’re makin’ the big bucks (probly even have a desk all to themselves) – go figure….

  • nants April 19, 2008 (10:26 am)

    Is parking on the lawn like that even legal? Will the powers that be force them to move that car out of their yard or are they within their rights? It is ridiculous that there will be 3 sets of new townhomes being built….the present new ones aren’t even selling.

  • CO Transplant April 19, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    After a year of living here, this place still cracks me up! West Seattle My Way! It’s like being back in a small town, where everyone knows what’s best for someone else’s property.

  • Alki resident April 20, 2008 (3:40 pm)

    I find it unbelievably hypocritical that WSB would post the picture and make disparaging comments regarding the car parked in the Townhome lawn, but completely ignore the fact that the single family homes DIRECTLY across the alley from this Townhome literally look like junkyards. One in particular today had a camping trailer, a boat covered loosely with a tarp and three run down looking vehicles completely blocking any remnants of that house’s long gone yard.

    Where are the WSB postings calling for single family home owners who neglect their homes to the point where the only option is for a developer to come in and tear down and replace with the only viable option for many looking to become new homeowners?

    When I moved to WS from out of state a little over two years ago I enjoyed reading WSB to get to know my new surroundings better. However, I now find the opinions expressed on this blog (it’s not news anymore, it’s an opinion page) and especially the comments to be so critical of any changes that they don’t personally agree with that I think this site does as much damage as good.

  • WSB April 20, 2008 (3:54 pm)

    Hi, Alki resident, thanks for your comment – but I want to be clear here, the only comments here are those of readers; we have not made any comments on this story, disparaging or otherwise. Anyone is welcome to comment on a WSB story so long as they follow the rules. We reported that neighbors pointed out the townhouse situation and clearly attributed it to them, as would any reporter (they are the ones who called it to our attention; we got a call from one neighbor, went out to the neighborhood to investigate what SDOT was up to, then encountered a few other neighbors along the way); we have not reported any opinion of ours in this story. 95% of news sites have reader-opinion areas following their stories, and that’s what you find here, not our opinions (aside from relatively benign ones such as describing a scenic photo as “great,” or the ones we voiced when this site was a true “blog” in its first year, which can still be found in the archives); however, it is possible to read the site without reading the comments, if you are not interested in them.

  • Alki Resident April 20, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    One could easily argue that frequent postings with a consistent theme (the apparent glut of West Seattle teardowns to Townhomes) is, in effect, expressing an opinion. I have not seen one post commenting on those single family homeowners who have allowed their homes to deteriorate to the point where teardown (or a remodel which would likely leave the new owner way underwater in terms of property value) as the only viable option.

  • baba nulu April 21, 2008 (10:09 am)

    In Seattle, it is illegal to park any vehicle on certain areas of a single family residence including the designated front yard, like that Corvette.
    It is illegal to park a trailer or boat on the street. Also illegal in Seattle, is parking any vehicle over 80″ wide past 11:00 PM on a city street; parking any vehicle on the street for more than 48 hours; & having expired plates while otherwise legally parked.
    My favorite illegal parking rant, somewhat specific to West Seattle, is the common practice first started by trades peoples’ trucks, then adopted by SUVs and now by everyone of “curb humping” or straddling the curb with two wheels on the street and two wheels churning up the planting strip. Some park completely on the planting strip and or sidewalk. Even parking in your driveway-cut through the planting strip is prohibited.
    All of these common practices are prohibited by Seattle Codes. But just try getting them enforced.
    After my legally parked car was sideswiped while “sticking out like a sore thumb” because the other vehicles along the street were “curb humping”, I had a Seattle Parking Enforcement Officer harshly admonish me for calling in a complaint, informing me it was a “waste of her time” and refusing to cite the string of vehicles clearly in violation.

    Lacking support from the SPD, it appears that the Parks Dept. Maintenance Crew is attempting to protect its planting strip at the I-35 Park-and-Ride adjacent to the West Seattle Stadium by placing marker rods and cones near the curb. But to no avail. Cars “hump up” the curb between the obvious barriers. Check it out.

  • WSB April 21, 2008 (10:24 am)

    I’m about to head in that direction to check something else out, so I will!

  • Gary Ogden April 25, 2008 (7:59 am)

    Parking on lawns, at street corners, parking facing the wrong way, on the planting strip and especially on the SIDEWALKS is a common pracice in Alki where the infrastructure is inadequate for the multi use area (park users, business users and employees, residents etc). Many of the residents on the water side along Alki Point park thier vehicles on the sidewalk and force pedestrians to walk in the street. Parking enforcement is not happening.

Sorry, comment time is over.