ALSO AT WEDNESDAY’S OPEN HOUSE: City parking policy. Plus, another venue change

As we’ve been discussing, the multi-department city “open house” Wednesday night in West Seattle is offering discussion and comment opportunities on more than the biggest topic, the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda rezoning. (And we have just learned a NEW venue is being added – more on that at the end of this story.)

One of those topics is city parking policy.


We photographed that easel on Saturday at the Bitter Lake Community Center, during the north-end version of the same type of “open house” that’s set to happen here Wednesday night. We went to get an idea of how information will be presented and how comments will be taken. The parking-policy info was on a lone board set up by the Department of Construction and Inspections and is related to this page on the department’s website. It’s been broadened to “residential transportation options,” including this:

We are working with SDOT staff to consider improvements for managing on-street parking. Our effort also includes clarifying the rules that relate to parking and frequent transit service availability in Urban Centers and Urban Villages. …

…Our recommendations will:

Provide integrated and accessible transportation choices that are readily available for Seattle’s growing population – such as ORCA passes, car and bike sharing and shared parking.

Support Comprehensive Plan goals to encourage growth in Urban Centers.

Retain and enhance Seattle neighborhoods’ walkable and livable urban qualities, which are essential and preferable to automobile‐oriented public places and buildings.

Prioritize housing affordability to preserve and enhance the ability of persons of all economic means to be able to live in Seattle. Parking is a significant cost factor for developers.

Help ensure that racial and socio‐economic equity is a key consideration in setting parking policies.

Manage on‐ and off‐street parking most efficiently.

Promote designs for better quality, more secure, and more comfortable bicycle storage facilities.

Achieve local and regional environmental objectives through sound choices to achieve air quality, climate change, and natural environmental protection goals.

It’s been four years now since a city “director’s rule” lessened the requirements for offstreet parking in new apartment projects, and the number of buildings without it has continued to rise citywide, according to a Seattle Times story published this weekend. So if this topic interests you, be ready to offer feedback on Wednesday.

THIRD VENUE: Just as we prepared to publish this, we got word from the city that they are adding a third concurrent venue on Wednesday night – Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. To recap, the city originally set the open house for an 80-capacity space at Shelby’s in The Junction (4752 California SW), despite community advocates warning the city that a bigger venue would be needed. Last week, the city added Uptown Espresso across the street from Shelby’s. And today, comes news they are also adding Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). We’re working to clarify whether all the same initiatives will be showcased at each of these venues during the drop-in “open house” time slot, 5:30-7:30 pm on Wednesday, December 7th – more later! (11:38 AM UPDATE: Now there’s word that Uptown is scratched, and Shelby’s and Youngstown are the official venues.)

P.S. If you missed our earlier reports on other topics that will be included – the best list we have so far is here (with further details on the Fauntleroy Boulevard component here).

35 Replies to "ALSO AT WEDNESDAY'S OPEN HOUSE: City parking policy. Plus, another venue change"

  • old timer December 5, 2016 (10:18 am)

    This is a VERY unserious way to treat very serious subjects.

    What is driving this  –

    Divide and conquer?

    OMG, what shall we do?

    Year end, must fill legal requirements?

    Very unprofessional, very, very sketchy offerings of “participation”.

  • Pixie December 5, 2016 (10:33 am)

    So providing parking is a big expense for contractors. Poor contractors. (Provide sarcasm). When no parking takes away from long time residents, then there should be financial consequences to urge the contractors to provide parking. 

    • WD fundie December 5, 2016 (10:49 am)

      If you think this is a taking of personal property, by all means take this to court citing the Fifth Amendment.  I might argue that onerous parking requirements are also a taking. 

      • Pixie December 5, 2016 (12:49 pm)

        I stated the reply badly, and I apologise. It does need to include that those residents who have alley parking need to use it, too. wheny kids were teens, they each had a car, making 4 vehicles in our driveway – we got cited for too many vehicles on the property. It is a no win. 

    • skeeter December 5, 2016 (1:11 pm)

      Wait a second.  You guys want new construction to have parking spaces?  So more living units and more parking means more vehicles, right?.  Our streets are already clogged at rush hour and you want more cars in West Seattle? 

      • Chris December 6, 2016 (8:37 am)

        Skeeter gets it. +1 

  • Kris December 5, 2016 (10:53 am)

    I suggest that all concerned go to the city’s website concerning the neighborhood meetings and send an email to the contact person expressing how you feel about the fact that the city hasn’t selected ONE venue for the SW Neighborhoods that will accommodate everyone. They’ve been able to do this for other meetings on city issues.  I have sent my email voicing my concern.

    The link to the website is:

    • WSB December 5, 2016 (11:30 am)

      Just for the record, I now have a note from a city person that suggests the venue list is now Shelby’s and Youngstown, contrary to the other city person who e-mailed earlier this morning. And the city initiatives at the multiple venues apparently will not be the same. So stand by for further clarifications… TR

      • Delridge Resident December 5, 2016 (2:50 pm)

        Thank you for your diligence in providing these updates!

  • South Park Sassy December 5, 2016 (11:29 am)

    Come on… like there’s not enough profit in a $1800/mo + all utilities 500sf ‘open 1-bed’ to provide parking???  Maybe not in their ‘6 yr to recoup costs’ business plan.  How about you provide parking and change your expectations to ‘8 yr to recoup costs’ business plan?  Also by providing very few spaces you do make that space a commodity where they can charge $300-500 per space…which is INSANE!  

     Also, why are all of these buildings rentals?  We should be constructing well-made condos with basic amenities like parking to give people ownership and stabilized living costs instead of the yearly rent hikes from these vultures.   Price gouging apartments do not lead to  ‘affordable housing’.

    • A December 5, 2016 (3:07 pm)

      The reason I’ve heard that all the new buildings are all apartments is due to a liability law which I think is 5 years for new condo buildings. Contractors were being sued by HOAs for every little thing right before the 5-yr warranty period expires. This discourages the contractors as well as their lenders from building condo towers.

      • Carole A Allen December 5, 2016 (5:24 pm)

        Perhaps if condo builders didn’t cut corners they wouldn’t get sued.  Leaky windows not properly flashed, cheap fixtures like plastic shut off valves usually used in mobile homes rather than metal valves, inadequate insulation, decks not properly flashed or installed.  Poor plumbing that causes water to leak from  a neighboring  unit or causes mold.  Buildings that look fine on the surface but have hidden flaws due to poor workmanship and skimping on quality.  

  • zark00 December 5, 2016 (11:53 am)

    “better quality, more secure, and more comfortable bicycle storage facilities”

    Yeah, that’s what’s been missing, places to store bikes more comfortably.  That will surely solve the parking issues.

    3.5% of people commute by bike in Seattle, 3.5% commuted by bike in 2010, 3.5% in 2000 – you get the idea – it doesn’t change.  We’ve had a huge push for bike commuting, and nothing has changed.  Sure, it’s a fine idea, but it’s just that – just an idea that will never be a reality.  We need to get realistic about how to deal with massive growth.

    The deal with parking being so much more expensive for developers is complete garbage btw.

    Doesn’t matter to the developer, it’s 100% about affordable housing that the city needs.  Developers don’t care – 5 units with parking or 7 units without – 6 of One or 1/2 dozen of another – end result is the same for them.

    They need to stop with the bike stuff already- it’s just a pipe dream that’s never going to happen. 

    The people who commute by bike already commute by bike – more storage won’t help anything.

    By all means they should have safe infrastructure for bike commuters, have no problems with lanes, lights, whatever it takes.  But they need to stop pretending they’ll ever get more than 4% of people commuting by bike – they won’t – ever.

    Light rail before 2033 would be a good place to start.


    • Chris December 6, 2016 (8:41 am)

      If the ratio of people commuting by bike has remained steady while we’ve been experiencing massive population growth, then that sounds like an expansion in total bike commuters that’s worthy of acknowledgment and further incentive to keep that ratio going. imagine if those folks were on clogged buses or even more crowded streets.

  • sam-c December 5, 2016 (12:56 pm)

    If they want more people to ride bikes, they need to get rid of families who can’t make it to all the things (daycare, preschool, school, groceries, swim lessons) on their bikes, but upzoning SFR will help with that (getting rid of families). 

    • TheKing December 5, 2016 (7:15 pm)

      You hit it on the head. Get rid of those families who are holding them back. Just don’t go that far out of the city, they still want your tax money.

  • H December 5, 2016 (1:12 pm)

    I too am disappointed with the two venue choice. There are spaces here to fit people. I am particularly opposed to different information at locations that are only within driving distance. It’s SW Neighborhoods, plural.

  • H December 5, 2016 (1:27 pm)

    Thank you for the link Kris. I emailed Jessica Brand:  “requesting that one venue, able to accommodate 100+ attendees, be chosen for our public meeting. West Seattle considers itself one neighborhood and my fear is that 2 venues, only reachable by car (Shelbys and Youngstown community center) will either decrease information dissemination or split the neighborhoods based on a long standing preconceived income divide. For example, is Westwood Urban Village what will be discussed at the Delridge Youngstown venue? As a home owner I need to be able to participate in a meeting that presents all of the three urban villages in my neighborhood. Trust me when I tell you that I actively live-in and patronize each of those “zones” on almost a daily basis.”

  • Delridge Resident December 5, 2016 (2:47 pm)

    Thanks to those who provided the event link and sample emails. Here is mine, and I encourage everyone else to send a note as well!!

    “Dear Jesseca,

    Thank you for helping to organize the HALA public meetings. I am writing to voice my concern over the multiple venues and potential differences in content between the locations. I request on behalf of myself, my husband, and neighbors, that the meeting be held in a single venue large enough to accommodate everyone who wishes to voice their opinions on this very important matter. If you are not the correct person for this message, can you please forward it to the organizers?

    We are one neighborhood, a collection of homeowners and renters, who would like fair opportunity for our opinions to be heard and incorporated into the city’s plans.  My suggestion would be to have a town-hall style meetings with large screens, so everyone hears the same presentation. Then, breakout discussions could occur to get feedback on a smaller scale and encourage more participation.

    It feels like the city is making this intentionally difficult to share feedback on very important topics. I am concerned about how things are developing and the difficulty to communicate with my city officials. Changes are being made just 2 days prior to the event, and I am only reading about this through the West Seattle Blog. Were there other forms of communication about these meetings in the mail? A pamphlet like our voter guides? A flyer? Or something else? For something this important, I find the venue choice and marketing methods (or lack thereof) completely unacceptable.

    I can be reached at this email, or at xxx-xxx-xxxx anytime. Please let me know if you or someone else at the city is available to discuss ways to collect the entire community’s feedback before decisions are made at the city level.


    Delridge Resident

    [Address Line 1]

    [Address Line 2]

  • Anonymous Coward December 5, 2016 (3:04 pm)

    If we can make housing a little more affordable by relaxing the parking requirements, just think of how much more affordable we can make housing if we relax the plumbing and electrical codes a little… 

    • flimflam December 5, 2016 (5:29 pm)

      lol, seriously!

  • Diane December 5, 2016 (6:08 pm)

    completely agree with comments re absurdity of multiple smaller locations with different information that are miles apart, requiring driving to both; who the heck is in charge of this new “engagement”  process?  in past years, we’ve had many city show/tell meetings at large venues like the Senior Center, Madison MS, WSHS, community centers, HP Neighborhood House; and with the locations changing and changing and changing just couple days prior; jeez

  • JayDee December 5, 2016 (6:08 pm)

    Building apartments/flophouses/condos without parking penalizes the neighbors, the people who pay rent there, etc. Saying that Avalon is close to transit is correct if the transit buses weren’t SRO going to work in the morning. Soon the same will be said of the Junction unless 2-3 times more buses were put on the routes. Ditto for the reverse commute. Talk about a scrum for any Junction bound bus.

    Giving the developers permission to not include parking spots, but not requiring anything else of them is a windfall for them and a loss for the neighborhood.  The tragedy of the commons.

    • Chris December 6, 2016 (8:45 am)

      Well, ST3 funding puts more buses on those routes. So, win!

      As a neighbor, I say building too much parking penalizes all of us because it puts more cars on the road, clogging traffic and increasing pollution. 

      • anon December 6, 2016 (2:25 pm)

        The reality is that Seattle (Washington in general) if full of people that also want to enjoy the activities offered in all of WA so most people are always going to have at least one car. The bus isn’t going to get me to the hiking trails in the Olympics, Cascades, Mt. Rainier etc.., it’s not going to get me to the ski areas, it’s not going to take me to campsites or hold a kayak, bikes etc. People have boats and trailers, the list goes on and on.

        • KM December 6, 2016 (9:38 pm)

          You’ll need a car for those activities in most cases, but you won’t need to OWN a car. Parking is essentially property storage for lightly used items (cars spend most of their lifespan unused), car sharing service can help in these situations. 

          • South Park Sassy December 7, 2016 (11:06 am)

             The company I work for requires that I own a car.  It requires that all 179 people that work for this company own a car.  So to have a job we have to have a car.  Not everyone works downtown.   Rapid rides don’t take you to our multiple jobsites on Yarrow Point, Orcas Island and Enumclaw.   And renting a CarToGo is not an option every day.  Many people have jobs that require them to travel during the day or haul things like tools and supplies. 

  • Kay K December 5, 2016 (6:27 pm)

    Sorry, I’m not understanding this article. Is the city saying there are now two meetings, with separate topics at each meeting, being held simultaneously?

    I’m completely baffled.

    • WSB December 5, 2016 (6:47 pm)

      To summarize:

      -First Shelby’s was the venue (though even before the formal announcement, community advocates who got early word voiced concern to the city)
      -After the city saw the turnout at last week’s community workshop in Highland Park, they realized the community advocates were right, and they added some space at Uptown across from Shelby’s
      -Today, that changed. Uptown was out as a second venue – Youngstown Cultural Arts Center is in.
      -So the meeting will be 5:30-7:30 pm Wednesday at Shelby’s (4752 California SW) and Youngstown (4408 Delridge Way SW)

      Jesseca Brand from the city told us via e-mail the same departments/comment-and-conversation opportunities will be at both:

      We are planning on staffing both venues with the projects we had planned to have at Shelby’s Ice Creamery.

      1. Overall HALA station as well as several stations that are dedicated to MHA and the maps.
      2. SDOT with overall rapid ride, greenways and parking reform (RPZ, Frequent Transit Areas).
      3. SDCI parking reform (Frequent Transit Areas, shared parking).
      4. Parks Department with the Gap Analysis and Greenways programs.

  • KHT December 5, 2016 (9:22 pm)

    So, it’s been four years now since requirements were relaxed  for off street parking in new apartment projects as part of reducing building costs and making Seattle more affordable.  How’s that working out for you?  

    Now they also want to “ensure that racial and socio-economic equity is a key consideration in setting parking policies”.  Huh?  Wow.  

  • 22blades December 6, 2016 (8:20 am)

    What a dysfunctional mess. Higher density housing structures with no increase in transit/road capacity.  Where are the Urban Planners and Architects and is there place in the city government? Are we truly looking at the science? Is  the Department of Construction and Inspections beholden to interests contrary to the people who live here versus entities that benefit our community and send the money elsewhere? Are they even the right entity to be asking the questions?  Commerce should benefit the people. Not the tail wagging the dog.

    • Chris December 6, 2016 (8:46 am)

      ST3 increases transit service.

  • Fairmount Springs Mom December 6, 2016 (12:27 pm)

    1) The site is difficult to use; 2) the City hasn’t notified the 5%-6% of property owners, who the City expects to shoulder the entire burden of this affordable housing agenda, that their property is being changed from SF to multi-family (a colorful mailer inviting people to snacks and discussion about affordable housing at an ice cream parlor is a joke); and 3) they have chosen venues for this “open house” that are too small and in 2 separate locations. 

    • EPanther December 6, 2016 (8:45 pm)

      Good summary. Yes.

  • BJG December 6, 2016 (8:54 pm)

    It would be worth your time to review the Seattle Design Review – West Seattle Junction Guideline before the open house happy talk.  See if the City can make the case that  they “encourage better design to enhance the character of the city and ensure that new development sensitively fits into the community.” See how the City responds to their stated goal “to help reinforce the character of the Junction as known to its residents and business.” Perhaps they’ll need reminding that the “City of Seattle’s Land Use Code prescribes setback requirements for new developments on zone edges between higher and lesser intensive zones.” Look around at the massive featureless monstrosities as you make your way to Shelby’s and have a good chuckle.

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