PARKING: SDOT plans to officially propose RPZ for West Seattle Junction area, two years after community request

(SDOT map of what’s been under consideration, pending January’s official proposal details)

After almost two years of community discussion and more than a year of study, SDOT has decided to officially propose a Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) for some residential areas in the West Seattle Junction. That announcement was made today – but details of the RPZ proposal won’t be out until January. At that time, the announcement says, SDOT “will be asking for feedback on the RPZ proposal via survey, email, phone, and at an RPZ public hearing.” When the details go public, they’ll be sent via postal mail as well as posted here. The RPZ study stemmed from a community request going back almost two years – not the first one, either; a previous study last decade resulted in SDOT deciding not to propose one.

West Seattle currently has just one RPZ area, near the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. As explained here, RPZs are “residential areas around commuter traffic generators – like hospitals or light rail stations – where on-street parking is restricted for those except residents and short-term visitors.” Here’s how they work:

• Signs are installed on the blocks in an RPZ.

• Residents on the blocks within an RPZ can buy a limited number of permits that allow their vehicles to park on street.

• Since curbspace is public, non-permitted vehicles can still park in the area, but must obey the posted time limits.

Current cost of an RPZ permit is $65 for two years, though the city website also notes there’s a $10 hardship price too. There’s more backstory in our July report from when the city launched its most-recent quest for feedback on the RPZ idea. The results of that feedback are in this slide deck now available via the SDOT website:

As clarified in our summer coverage – in case you are wondering – RPZ signs are not installed adjacent to businesses, so this will NOT change business-district parking, and the city has already again ruled out metered parking in The Junction. According to the slide deck, after the proposal details go public in January, the hearing will be in February, and a final decision will be announced in April.

45 Replies to "PARKING: SDOT plans to officially propose RPZ for West Seattle Junction area, two years after community request"

  • Craig October 31, 2018 (11:56 am)

    I drive my car each weekday to park in the residential on street parking near the Junction, and take the  line bus to work. There is no convenient bus service near by house, so I drive to a Rapid Ride hub, and get other errands done coming and going at the Junction shops. I’m sympathetic to the home owners near the Junction that don’t want the cars parked on their street, but not sure where the bus commuters are supposed to park if we’re pushed further away. Reminds me of the water taxi scenario- put transit in, and expect everyone to live in walking distance to where to catch the ride. Cars are a necessary evil to get that final mile covered for commuters. I wish there was a park and ride at the Junction. 

    • Amy October 31, 2018 (12:29 pm)

      What about using the park and ride under the WS Bridge and walk up to the Avalon C line stop?

      • Mike October 31, 2018 (2:22 pm)

        You’ve never taken a c-line have you, you can’t get on the C-line there, it’s already packed.  I actually drive SOUTH on California Ave to get on the C-line at all, even the Junction is insane.  Today I drove to Beacon Hill and took the light rail….because it’s actually faster than taking the c-line and a transfer bus by 10 minutes

        • Amy October 31, 2018 (5:46 pm)

          I take it everyday.

    • KM October 31, 2018 (2:25 pm)

      Craig, I understand where you are coming from for sure (sans Junction P&R). I used to be in big favor of RPZ, but then it takes a public space and prioritizes some residents over others, which doesn’t seem right (despite people thinking they have a right to parking in front of or near their homes). Not sure what the solution is except for continually expanding transit and improving non-automobile modes of transportation. We need to make it easy for non-Junction residents to make it to the main transportation hub in our neighborhood.

  • HW October 31, 2018 (2:21 pm)

    This is good news given the free lots in the Junction are likely going away and people visiting businesses need quick and convenient parking to run errands and participate in community events like the market. I understand that commuters are sad to lose their convenient parking close to the bus stops, but the solution there seems to be better public transport to get you from point A to B or the city final commits to building parking lots for Park & Rides (perhaps near Westwood or Avalon, would help with the light rail too).  That, or the city needs to monitor the streets like a park & ride, complete with more trash cans and lighting and tickets for cars parking for long periods of time. RPZ seems like the easier, faster route.

  • Rick October 31, 2018 (2:32 pm)

    But,but,but,everyone will just switch from taking the bus to riding their bikes. Or they could ride their bikes to take the bus. I don’t see the problem here.  

    • Mike October 31, 2018 (5:35 pm)

      I ride to work most of the time.  There’s only two spots for bikes on any given bus. When I do ride my bicycle, I ride the entire 8 miles each way.  The bus is a joke, but some people can’t ride a bike like me, most probably shouldn’t be on a bike near traffic at all… It amazes me how dumb people are around vehicles.  

      • KM October 31, 2018 (10:17 pm)

        Now, just imagine those cyclists you don’t think should be on bikes near traffic behind the wheel of the car. 

        • Azimuth October 31, 2018 (11:27 pm)

          All the more reason for you as a concerned citizen and taxpayer to support continuing to improve safer bicycle infrastructure… sharrows don’t count, nor standard painted bike lanes in my opinion

          • Mike November 1, 2018 (6:17 am)

            Absolutely, the idea that a painted line is some imaginary miracle safety lane is insane.   I’m all on board for a fully dedicated trail system that’s non motorized (or limited speed for electric bikes/scooters) specific.  We need a reasonable way to raise funds for it.  As a rider myself, I’d be happy to license my bicycle and pay $250 a year like I do on each of my cars (still less than the per gallon tax on gas cars also pay).  If the bike counter on the Spokane St. bridge is correct, the money from just those of us commuting across the Spokane St. bridge would bring in $300k if we licensed bike commuters bicycles $250 / year.  A fantastic way to get safer infrastructure.  Considering how much most commuters spend on their bicycles and riding gear, it’s a tiny drop in the bucket.  Average cost to have a tune-up is about $75-$350 depending on which bike and work you’re having done, so $250 is cheap.

          • Ray November 1, 2018 (10:14 pm)

            If you’re that into cycling and a daily commuter I doubt you pay someone to tuneup your bike. Working on a bike is too easy to spend that much for a tuneup. Also, I used to work at a bike shop and no tuneup got anywhere near $350.BTW your proposed $250/year license for a bicycle is absurd and another regressive tax that would keep many from even thinking about the possibility of cycling. 

          • KM November 1, 2018 (8:07 am)

            Everytime I ride in a street with sharrow I figuratively hold my breath :-(

          • Mike November 2, 2018 (5:39 am)

            Ray, I too used to work at a bike shop and I too work on my own bike, but most people don’t and don’t know how to do it safely.  Yes, yes there are bike tune ups that are $350. :)

      • Swede. November 1, 2018 (7:35 am)

        @ Mike. All King County Metro busses have capacity for three (3) bikes in their racks. Not much agreed, but more than most other transit agencies around the country. 

    • Jort October 31, 2018 (7:06 pm)

      Taking a bike to a bus is an easy and fun way to connect from home to transit! Nearly everybody in West Seattle is no more than a mile from a bus stop, and with our amazing e-bikeshare bikes, you could make to a bus stop in a few quick and easy minutes!      Even if your bus stop or home is uphill, e-bikes make the trip as easy as walking down the street! Best of all, it’s great for the environment and helps make a better, more sustainable community!       Thanks for the suggestion, Rick!!!

  • LJ October 31, 2018 (2:45 pm)

    Every action has a reaction so great for the people west of the junction who live on  45th.Now 46th will have  reduced parking availability for people who live there because of this change. Where do you think all of those farmers market vender trucks are now going to park?

    • HW October 31, 2018 (5:21 pm)

      I’m confused. Are you saying that it’s ok for the market trucks to park on 45th but not in front of your house on 46th? That is so NIMBY and counter to the argument that no one owns the street. Either way this seems like a good opportunity for special permitting through the city. They could easily waive the requirements for market vehicles and issue Sunday permits through the coordinators. But that isn’t the point. Our downtown needs parking. Right now all that parking is taken by park and riders, employees and lots that will likely be sold and made into apartments with no parking. I’d love to see a cut of their data that isolates people traveling to the junction for commuting vs community or business needs. 

    • Mr J October 31, 2018 (5:25 pm)

      It doesn’t apply to Sunday’s.

  • CAM October 31, 2018 (3:08 pm)

    So just looking at that map and the blocks they have marked that will be allowed to get a permit there’s already a major problem. Blocks that have 2 hour parking limits will not be converted to an RPZ thus the addresses on those blocks will not be allowed to get an RPZ permit. That’s fine and dandy if those blocks were only residential parking for single family homes. At least one of those blocks identified will soon have two large apartment complexes and the residents of those buildings will not have access to RPZ parking. So what happens when they get home from work and all the parking on their block is taken and all the surrounding blocks are now restricted to permit only? The only way I can make sense of this is that the city (and the Junction residents that requested this) value the needs of some residents more than the needs of others. 

    • chemist October 31, 2018 (6:09 pm)

      I once thought the same thing, but earlier posts have shown maps of addresses eligible for the RPZ and they included everyone inside the outer boundaries.  You can live in one of the mega-projects in the middle of the junction, surrounded by time-limited parking, and will be eligible for several RPZ permits (to be used at the rpz donut around you).  I wish it wasn’t that way, actually. 

      • CAM October 31, 2018 (7:26 pm)

        I want to make sure I’m understanding you properly. Are you saying that you think it would be best if people who lived in apartment complexes in areas with restricted parking zones were NOT allowed to get a permit?Also, unless SDOT provides a different description than the map above, it does not appear that those individuals (or the single family home owners on the same block) would be eligible for a permit. They may have said something different before but this is what they are putting forward as a formal proposal. 

        • chemist October 31, 2018 (8:42 pm)

          Once upon a time, in slides 11 and 12 it looked like the commercial core wasn’t going to be eligible, based on the highlighted “potential rpz proposed” and the commercial area being un-shaded.  I think I hear what you’re saying now, which isn’t about the extended 2 hr addition but is referring to the 2 hr areas near 40th, edmunds, etc.  I’ve been seeing how Erskine fills up for blocks in the evenings and think a lot of it is spill-over from new developments that don’t build sufficient parking/residents not wanting to pay steep prices. Personally, I’m still grumpy about how SDOT studied parking utilization, seemingly focused on a day RPZ, and just used “was present at 2 AM count once” to count residents (heard in one of WSB’s videos).  I think that’s going to dramatically underestimate non-resident overnight parking vs license-plate lookup of registered address.

        • Benja November 2, 2018 (3:46 pm)

          I know you didn’t ask me, but I DON”T think the apartments should get the permits.  they are right next to the bus stop.  or, they can build underground parking.  

  • Jon Wright October 31, 2018 (4:40 pm)

    Charge market prices and monetize this public resource. Two years of parking for $65 is NOT market price, it is a total giveaway. As others have mentioned, an RPZ is just an unwarranted prioritization of one group over another.

  • Mr j October 31, 2018 (5:30 pm)

    To be clear this isn’t zone parking, there will not be permits. The RPZ are the 2hr etc. limits that they’re expanding to adjacent streets in the junction. This is beneficial to businesses  and residents. Sorry to construction workers and commuters. 

    • WSB October 31, 2018 (6:45 pm)

      As linked, yes, an RPZ means there ARE permits IF you are a resident and interested in parking for more than the time limit that will be put in place. The permit does not entitle you to a parking space, however. It doesn’t take an RPZ to expand time-limited parking, which has been done already in some places – including The Junction – here for example is our coverage from what followed the decade-ago decisions NOT to create an RPZ and NOT to have metered (pay station) business-district parking.

  • MJ October 31, 2018 (6:09 pm)

    Street parking is public and everyone should have equal right to use it.  All taxpayers pay for transit and light rail and many are not well served by either.  Those not well served need options including the ability to drive to transit!

  • Em October 31, 2018 (6:58 pm)

    I have lived in the junction for five years and work from home so I see who is parking here, and it’s construction workers. We’ve been under construction in the block around Oregon and 42nd for the past 5 years. Two sets of condos, the new retirement home, one apartment building then another apartment building and now a new one starting. From 6am-3:30 all the parking is taken around here and at 3:30 it clears out. Construction workers need a place to park but why don’t developers work our a deal with all of the local churches whose lots sit empty all week to have workers part there? Seems like a commons sense solution. So much would be improved if the city could just use some common sense. Instead we are being forced to pay $65 on top of being charged now to drive on 99, pay higher car tab fees and you don’t want to know what your license renewal fees are up to. Seattle is determined to get rid of as many middle class people as it can. Disgusted by this nonsense!

  • TJ October 31, 2018 (9:10 pm)

    Another money grab by the city. Its all adding up. Give it a few years and the city will want to charge anyone, anywhere, to park on a street. I’ll be safe because I park my 3 vehicles in my garage and driveway. But then it’ll be a couple years where they’ll want a fee for that, as it’s too priveledged. And to the comment on investing more transit…the taxpayers in Seattle have contributed exponentially the last few years. The well is dry

  • Kate November 1, 2018 (6:50 am)

    Why is there no permit for the most Northern and Southern portions of 42nd? That seems odd

    • B.W. November 1, 2018 (7:44 am)

      I also own three vehicles. Thinking of adding a fourth as soon as more people bike to the C line or something. 

    • chemist November 1, 2018 (8:36 am)

      Most of 42nd did end up qualifying.  Perhaps you meant 41st where it ends at the church property to the N and doesn’t extend S of Edmunds/on one half below Alaska?  I think that’s partly a result of tuning the study for a daytime RPZ instead of nighttime.  The later slides in the link I posted earlier in this thread give more details about occupancy, even through the area marked off as commercial study (which isn’t really in any RPZ procedural rules I could find).

  • Itsamess November 1, 2018 (9:14 am)

    I’d like to add that there are now a lot of bus riders parking in the retail parking garage of The Whittaker.  1st level parking garage is almost full M-F.

  • PMS November 1, 2018 (12:56 pm)

    Since we are discussing parking, it’s past time to remove the parking spaces in front of the bank on 42nd SW and SW Edmunds. With the added traffic flow through this intersection, these spots unduly constrict 42nd SW, especially for people who are turning west onto SW Edmunds who often times will cross the center line into oncoming traffic headed East on SW Edmunds.Simply an accident waiting to happen…

    • Craig November 1, 2018 (2:56 pm)

      Totally agree. Really not safe at all. 

      • WSB November 1, 2018 (3:09 pm)

        You can contact SDOT about changing the status of a street parking space. I sadly can’t find a story we published when several spaces in our neighborhood were changed to no-parking and I learned that such evaluation is usually done by community request, but you can start with the general SDOT mailbox:

    • chemist November 1, 2018 (5:38 pm)

      I’ll send them an e-mail.  The cars that get parked on the nw corner of that intersection are way too often within 20 ft of the crosswalk.  i know sdot is proposing to greenway 42nd with protected bike lanes and remove the center turn lane.

      • KM November 1, 2018 (8:57 pm)

        You have my support. That intersections is often my car and bike route to and from the Junction and visibility stinks from both perspectives, but of course is much more scary when I’m biking!

    • BJG November 2, 2018 (9:37 am)

      On that theme… rounding the corner eastbound from 45th and Edmunds, drivers are forced into oncoming westbound traffic by parked cars along Edmunds. It’s scary every time with near misses often as traffic gets worse. Neighbors asked SDOT to address the dangerous  situation and were told that parking would stay for the convenience of commuters and the commercial district. Now those spaces will be part of the RPZ. Good luck on your request.

  • Mr E November 1, 2018 (3:38 pm)

    You all have no idea how lucky we are that Seattle hasn’t taken a page from Chicago. There is no such thing as free parking in that city because the former mayor allowed a private company to take ownership of parking management.Come on, Libertarians, where’s your sense of free market enterprise? 

  • Dg November 3, 2018 (9:40 pm)

    If it’s anything like it is in Fauntleroy, the RPZ will never be enforced. They’ll just have signs, and warnings, and zero enforcement. But the city will get their fees.

Sorry, comment time is over.