The truth about parking: West Seattle Transportation Coalition seeking it, via your survey answers

So what’s the truth about parking in our area – how do you use it, if you do? Do we need more? Less? And why? The West Seattle Transportation Coalition is trying to shine a little light on many aspects of that hot topic by inviting you to take a quick survey – just launched; start here. It’ll be open for one week (until March 26th), and then WSTC expects to publish results within a few weeks.

23 Replies to "The truth about parking: West Seattle Transportation Coalition seeking it, via your survey answers"

  • Wakeflood March 19, 2015 (10:37 am)

    This is good stuff. Just filled it out, only took a couple of minutes, less than 5 total.

    There doesn’t appear to be much real data on this important topic. Please help our decision makers work from a place of real knowledge as opposed to guesses!

  • miws March 19, 2015 (11:06 am)

    Very well written survey.


    Each question basically “covers all bases”, that I could see, allowing that a particular question may not not apply, due to being a non-car owner, and/or being a renter, as opposed to homeowner, etc.


    So many surveys seem to not take various scenarios into consideration, and, many of those don’t really allow as to “What best describes….”.



  • h March 19, 2015 (11:57 am)

    Done. I would like to add that I wasn’t sure how to classify a rented mother-in-law as it’s not high density. I just chose the homeowner selection and included all vehicles but technically I’m a homeowner (live on property) with a rental on the same property. (Since you’re studying density)

  • skeeter March 19, 2015 (12:17 pm)

    Good survey and I’ll be happy to see the results.
    I’m curious about the RPZ questions, though. There seems to be general confusion. People think RPZs will decrease parking congestion. That’s not my understanding. RPZs work at places like Universities or ferry terminals where people come from away and create parking congestion. So the RPZ restricts people from parking in a neighborhood in which they do not live. An RPZ wouldn’t help West Seattle, though, because our parking problems are simply residents having more cars than parking spaces.

    Say you’ve got a 100 unit apartment complex with 125 cars and only 50 off-street parking spaces. So 75 cars park on the street creating congestion. Solution: RPZ, right? No. Everyone in the apartment would qualify for an RPZ. They’d each buy one for what? Less than $100 per year. You’d still have 75 cars parking on the street. Again – RPZs only work when you restrict who can buy an RPZ – say you won’t allow someone from Bellevue to purchase an RPZ pass to park at UW. You can’t restrict residents from buying an RPZ, though. So we’d get no decreased congestion from an RPZ.

    Am I just completely confused or is everyone else?

  • Sue March 19, 2015 (12:43 pm)

    skeeter, I wondered about that too. My building charges $70/month to park in our garage. It looks as if a RPZ pass costs $65 for 2 years. That’s a much better deal, if one could find parking and ignore the 2 hour restrictions because they have a RPZ pass. It would be a nightmare in terms of parking availability for residents as well as shoppers in the Junction.

  • wakeflood March 19, 2015 (1:30 pm)

    As you suggest, RPZ’s aren’t necessarily about congestion, nor is the survey about solving any particular issue. The survey is simply to get some real data on what’s going on out there.

    But you aren’t confused, Skeeter, RPZ’s essentially function as you describe.

    They’re part of the survey because people ARE confused about them and how they could or couldn’t function with respect to apartment/condo’s parking options and what choices people are making about their vehicle use/storage.

  • stb March 19, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    I read that RPZ question as more about preventing people from using say, The Junction, as their daily park-and-ride. But I’m guessing that is a tiny problem compared to apartment renters with no parking space.

  • Mike P March 19, 2015 (2:10 pm)

    Good stuff. Ha! Though somehow I think I wanted more parking restrictions and less enforcement.

  • Peter March 19, 2015 (2:48 pm)

    As a Triangle area resident, I am 100% for RPZ. Get the damn hide-and-riders out of my neighborhood!

  • skeeter March 19, 2015 (3:05 pm)

    Thanks Sue, Wake, stb.

    The reason for my post about RPZs is not directly related to this survey. I like the survey and the results will be interesting.

    My RPZ confusion (or, more accurately other people’s confusion) stems from several discussions I’ve seen and participated in. There is widespread belief that RPZs will solve parking congestion problems in neighborhoods with high density housing. My belief is RPZs will not solve any problems in West Seattle – unless you charge about $800 for the permit instead of $65.

  • JanS March 19, 2015 (3:35 pm)

    RPZ’s would also handle people who like to use certain areas to farm their car. I realize that probably doesn’t happen often. (or does it?)

  • datamuse March 19, 2015 (3:45 pm)

    I lived on Capitol Hill and First Hill before moving to West Seattle. Both neighborhoods had RPZs. Parking was still quite congested (I needed a vehicle because I played in a band at the time, paid for a spot in my building’s garage). What it prevented was the streets being used as a park-and-ride, and cars being left in the same spot for weeks.

  • Devonshire March 19, 2015 (7:09 pm)

    Why didn’t they ask about paid parking in the Junction?

  • ChefJoe March 19, 2015 (8:06 pm)

    Well, considering all the trucks parked along Erskine Way, used by construction workers as I have observed by their 3-4PM exit, I suspect an RPZ would force the construction workers to consider mass transit or carpooling and perhaps require the contractors make arrangements for worker parking.

  • wetone March 19, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    Skeeter, your exactly right. Junction area and surrounding neighborhoods are screwed with what the city has and is allowing happen. For example just the west side of junction (44th & 45th) they are putting close to 200 apodments or what ever there called now (multiple buildings) some having work/live spaces. Total parking for all buildings is less than 25 spots. Remember close to 200 units, how many of those will have more than one person living in them ;)

    • WSB March 19, 2015 (10:15 pm)

      To be specific, 134 units and 5 offstreet parking spaces. That’s 4400 SW Alaska, 4535 44th SW, both of which are under construction, and 4528 44th SW, which just passed the first phase of Design Review tonight. Only 4528 is a microhousing building, with 58 units; the other two have 36 each, and while not giant apartments, they are not micros. – TR

  • G March 19, 2015 (11:12 pm)

    RPZ’s will not solve parking woes in West Seattle. You will simply have a lot of local people with RPZ’s competing for the same, limited street parking.

  • John March 20, 2015 (8:04 am)

    RPGs have encouraged old style frugal West Seattleites to utilize their garages and driveways.
    This can be seen in Fauntleroy, where most residents have skipped the fees and parked on site, with the resulting vacant streets.

    RPGs would help free-up some street parking as pointed out by reducing park-and-ride and car ranching.

    Sue’s evaluation of costs, $70 per month reserved spot in apartment vs. RPZ $65 for two years, ignored the time, costs and inconvenience of searching for parking perhaps blocks away.
    On a rainy day with groceries that $70 per month parking place may be a bargain!

    Of course, no one is arguing that RPZs will “solve” our parking challenges.

    To create parking and solve the problem, we would need to fully commodify parking with reactive rates tuned to maintaining an average of one free space per block. This has been done successfully in other parts of the city.

  • bolo March 20, 2015 (8:52 am)

    I agree with John. Now that the tipping point has been reached by building multi- multi- multi-housing w/ little or no additional parking, the solution is pay for street parking. Means kiosks and stickers, which means additional $$$ for the city.

  • hopey March 20, 2015 (10:16 am)

    I live in the Junction, walking distance to the Alaska Junction transit center. Here is a real conversation I just had while out in my front yard. Guy parks his car in front of the house next to mine. He asks me, “Hey, my car isn’t going to get ticketed or anything if I leave it here more than two hours? I just moved into that apartment building over there and I’ve already gotten two tickets!” I explained to him the 72-hour rule and that he will get a ticket if he doesn’t move his car every three days. He says “I just moved here from California and we’ve got two cars. We have one parking space, but I asked the manager if we could have two and he said there’s no more space!” The guy was really exasperated by this. I suggested that sometimes people in the neighborhood rent their parking spaces or garage space, so maybe he should look on Craigslist to find a spot if they don’t use their second car very much. He hadn’t thought of this and appreciated my suggestion.
    So there you go. I think this is very representative of what is happening in the new high-density areas of West Seattle. New people moving in from places where there was plenty of room for two cars. They bring both cars because they are accustomed to having them. They come from places like California which, by and large, don’t have public transit so they are not in the habit of using it. At least my new neighbor was interested in understanding the parking rules and appreciated my suggestion.
    For myself, I strongly prefer to park in front of my house mostly because it’s more convenient getting my child in and out of my car. But I’m also working on a long term solution for the semi-usable driveway and parking space in my back yard so I can park my car on my property instead.
    The real problem in my neighborhood right now, as noted in one other comment here, is the construction workers. By 9am my street is completely packed full. I leave to take my child to preschool, and when I come back 20 minutes later, that spot is taken. I know it’s construction workers because I see them sitting in their cars at lunchtime and leaving at 4-5pm. So I know some of this congestion will ease once the new buildings are finally complete.
    But there is also the issue of workers in the Junction needing parking. Many of the cars that park on my street later in the day are people who work in the Junction. I know this because their cars are gone by midnight — so that’s people who work in restaurants or stores like Safeway that stay open late. An RPZ would be welcome, as a way to encourage those workers to use public transit to get to their job every day. And if guys like my neighbor choose to buy an RPZ sticker for their second car, that’d be fine with me.

    • WSB March 20, 2015 (10:41 am)

      Thanks, Hopey. Hadn’t thought about it before but we too arrived from California with two cars and rented in a building where we had access to only one space. That was 1991.

  • G March 20, 2015 (12:12 pm)

    One correction: the lack of public transportation in California is largely a myth. LA, for example, leads the nation in accessibility to public transportation, something that will surprise a lot of people. Whether they take it or not, is a different issue.

  • Brianws March 22, 2015 (5:29 pm)

    They come from places like California which, by and large, don’t have public transit so they are not in the habit of using it.

    Except that’s not true at all…..

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