West Seattle Junction RPZ: What’s about to happen to make it official

Almost three months ago, SDOT announced a Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) would be created in the West Seattle Junction area, as the result of the second community request in a decade. This means that parking in the RPZ area will have time limits except for residents with permits (which cost $65 for two years unless you qualify as low-income, in which case it’s $10), as explained in this FAQ (PDF). Today, we’ve received an SDOT update on the two next steps toward the RPZ officially taking effect:

This week, we’re mailing letters to all residents within Zone 35 with information on how to purchase permits. Residents within Zone 35 can begin applying for permits per the instructions in the letter. Zone 35 signs will be installed during the first two weeks of November.

The permits do not guarantee parking in the RPZ; they only exempt the permitholder from the time limits. Lots more info is on the project website. Paid street parking was ruled out, but as announced, and shown on the map above, the three main mostly-business blocks of California SW in The Junction will now have parking time limits until 8 pm most days, instead of the current 6 pm, and a few other blocks will have new limits too.

48 Replies to "West Seattle Junction RPZ: What's about to happen to make it official"

  • John September 16, 2019 (3:53 pm)

    A bad policy that West Seattleites will live to regret.It is unfair in its two tier implementation and creates new problems without addressing the real issue of parking in the ROW.Nobody disputes that monetizing all on-street parking could level the playing field and guarantee  available parking for all, yet nobody has the political courage to propose the obvious and only solutionRPZs are simply a wrong tool to address our parking problems.

    • Jon Wright September 16, 2019 (5:11 pm)

      RPZ is a giveaway of public resources that could be monetized for the greater good and it also undermines the city’s policy of discouraging car ownership in areas with frequent transit–no matter if your building doesn’t have on-site parking, the city will now provide it!

    • Dan Keller September 16, 2019 (7:17 pm)

      John.  Just to clarify.  You are for street parking meters?

      • Ice September 16, 2019 (8:03 pm)

        Free and subsidized public parking creates so many externalities and perverse incentives. Just charge everyone market rate for a parking space. No giveaways of public property!

    • JVP September 17, 2019 (8:40 am)

      I actually think Junction businesses and people who need to park there would both benefit from paid parking. Both on the streets and in the lots. Right now it just fills up fast and you can’t park. Paid parking would get more people to walk if they can, take the bus if they can, and then actually be able to find a spot if they need it. Free parking like what we’ve got is weird in a dense city. Are we in a city, or a suburb?

  • skeeter September 16, 2019 (5:23 pm)


    You’re right John. 
    This is ridiculous.  First of all,
    Seattle has this incredibly valuable and limited property that it will let you*
    use for 9 cents per day.  ($65 divided by
    720 days.)  That’s insane.  No wonder there are so many parking problems
    and congestion when the city will charge pennies a day to park your car on city
    owned property.  I guess 9 cents per day
    is better than nothing but I wish I understood why these passes are so cheap
    they are almost free.  The RPZ pass
    should be at least $4 per day, or $2,880 for two years.

    I put an asterisk next to you* because I think it’s
    incredibly unfair and downright illogical the city says “Bob, you live on
    street X so you can buy and RPZ” and also says “Jane, you do not live on street
    X – even though you may work there or visit friends there or like to go to the
    park there – so you may not buy an RPZ.” 
    Can anyone think of another publicly owned asset in which use is
    restricted based on where the person happens to live?  Can you imagine if only people living on
    Fauntleroy were allowed to reserve a picnic shelter at Lincoln Park and
    everyone who didn’t live on Fauntleroy was not allowed to reserve a picnic

    • Dan Keller September 16, 2019 (7:21 pm)

      This type of parking has worked well on Capitol Hill.  They are looking at the same idea for my North Admiral neighborhood, which we need.

      • Joe September 16, 2019 (8:59 pm)

        As a former owner of a Zone 21 permit in Capitol Hill I assure you that an RPZ will do nothing to ensure open parking spots and often does the opposite. The number of permits issued is far greater than the number of available spots. People are incentivized to get a permit because it is priced well under market rate, but also incentivized to not move their vehicles due to the difficulty of finding another spot. If it is a truly popular RPZ then you can’t expect to find a spot between 5 pm and 7 am. You will see cars circling the block waiting for an opening. If you think about the RPZ rules you realize they are designed to incentivize car storage/weekend cars. I find it crazy that the Junction does not have parking meters, I would go there more often if there were available parking spots which is the whole purpose of having meters!!! The idea that $2/hour is going to scare away customers is absurd. They even have parking meters in small towns in Kansas. 

    • Canton September 16, 2019 (8:23 pm)

      Just a theory, seen these go up in other areas around the city. Seems like the 2 hr parking pushes park and ride cars further from core areas, while allowing nearby residents to purchase the same access, for a nominal fee.

    • hj September 17, 2019 (1:56 pm)

      $4 per day ($120/month) is wildly exaggerated compared to equivalent market costs for non-secure parking in the area. For example, the Jefferson Square garage is $75/month. Plus the RPZ isn’t even a guarantee to have a parking space available, reducing its monetizable value even further.Also, you asked what other public assets are restricted based on where you live… schools come to mind.

  • Mj September 16, 2019 (6:00 pm)

    Monetizing the street parking is a good answer.  Skeeter good analogy with the Picnic shelters.

  • Adam September 16, 2019 (7:07 pm)


  • Brandon September 16, 2019 (7:22 pm)

    The sports bars and their fans won’t be happy. 

    • Solidpoint September 16, 2019 (8:06 pm)

      Perfect- they will now have to use ride share or public transit instead of drinking and driving.  Love it!  Im in.

  • WS Guy September 16, 2019 (8:13 pm)

    Nice.  This is great.  It will help the residents and also open up more space for Junction shoppers. 

  • chemist September 16, 2019 (9:05 pm)

    Calm down folks, it’s a 2 hr limit from 7-6PM on Mon-Saturday without the RPZ.  It shouldn’t be a problem for sports bars except for daytime sports during the week/Saturday.  The whole thing was targeted at daytime park-and-hide behaviors, mostly related to rapid ride transit, because they did their surveys for “residency” based on if the plates were observed parked overnight to determine resident, not based on address where the car is registered.

    • John September 16, 2019 (10:11 pm)

      I am calmly responding that we should speak up when we see bad policy being enacted  that does not address the real issue  which is free ROW  parking availability and the inequity of RPZs. If the goal is to deter park-and-hide, it should not deter “daytime sports during the week/Saturday” or anything else but the park-and-hides.  Two hours is not too off limit for my perusal of Easy Street records followed by a  beverage of my choice and perhaps dinner.   Why should I suddenly become clock conscious?Undoubtedly there will be some misuse and cheating with the RPZs, as there always is.

  • Cbj September 16, 2019 (10:38 pm)

    If you have a permit will the requirement that a car not be in the same spot for over 72 hours still be valid

    • John September 16, 2019 (10:56 pm)

      Yes the 72 hour limit applies unless you have a Disability Permit.  The 72 hour limit is un-enforceable because the violation needs to be called in,  then Parking Enforcement must respond, mark or note the car, then wait an additional 72 hours.  After the 72 hours Parking Enforcement can place a warning on the car, after which the owner has 72 hours to move the vehicle.  And then this Seattle Process starts all over again, ad infinitum.

      • Sue H September 17, 2019 (8:58 am)

        The 72 hour rule still applies using a disability placard, FYI.

        • John September 17, 2019 (10:26 am)

          SUE H,If you have a designated disability parking sign in front of your house there is no 72 hour enforcement.  I learned this when a neighbor stored their car unused for years with disability plates and a sign in planting strip.

          • KBear September 17, 2019 (2:31 pm)

            John, the 72-hour rule applies to disabled permit holders as well. Although you can request a disabled spot in front of your residence, it’s not “your” spot. ANYONE with a disabled permit can park there, but not for longer than 72 hours. Street parking is intended to be temporary, whether disabled or not. Perhaps enforcement is lacking, but that is the law.

  • westsea September 17, 2019 (8:57 am)

    Agh, this is why I love my West Seattle peeps and I agree with (I think) all of you!  Love the picnic analogy!   I have long said this is an absolutely schizophrenic policy/program of so-called progressive Seattle.  With the Green New Deal and climate change at the forefront of people’s minds we MUST start thinking differently about how we encourage, or preferably discourage, private vehicle ownership, and how we use our valuable public space (the right-of-way) not to mention resources.  Perhaps charging fair market value for starters (similar to variable parking rates!).  I strongly encourage you to write Lisa Herbolt, the Mayor, and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe to share these thoughts.  If we do not engage with government to hold them accountable, they will continue with status quo.  Believe me, there are some very vocal supporters of RPZs, so let’s give them the counterpoint.  Lisa.Herbold@seattle.govJenny.Durkan@seattle.govSam.Zimbabwe@seattle.gov  

    • chemist September 17, 2019 (10:15 am)

      I’d suggest we reform the RPZ program so that a 1 bedroom studio apartment isn’t eligible for the same number of RPZ passes as a 4 bedroom house (4, iirc) so it provides a meaningful discouragement for apartment/condo residents as well.

      • John September 17, 2019 (1:36 pm)

        CHEMIST,Why discriminate?  If you live in the RPZ  and qualify  who cares how cars?

        • chemist September 17, 2019 (4:19 pm)

          I live just outside the RPZ area, but I think the program needs some tweaking if it can be used such that more permits for parked vehicle sq ft can be issued than a person actually has in their residence.  I also have a problem with unrented parking garage spaces in apartments that are eligible for RPZ permits, but that’s the program we have now.

          • CAM September 17, 2019 (8:15 pm)

            Chemist, I’m sorry but unless you are also going to inspect how every single family home uses all of their designated (or possible) vehicle storage space what you are speaking of smacks of discrimination based on housing status. Let’s stop trying to make this about how much homeowners think apartment renters are ruining their lives. You don’t need to try to take something away from someone else to get your needs met. 

  • Marty2 September 17, 2019 (9:11 am)

    It appears the majority of RPZ streets shown on the map (as a bold brown line) currently do not have any time restrictions (other than the 72 hour limit) and are in mostly residential areas.  The main business parking areas on California Avenue, etc. already have time restrictions and are not part of the RPZ, so even if you have a RPZ permit the time limits on these streets will still apply.  In my experience, I’ve rarely been able to find a parking space on the designated RPZ streets anyway, so I don’t think there will be any significant changes other than the fee for the RPZ permit.

    • Marlys September 17, 2019 (12:19 pm)

      In my experience, I’ve rarely been able to find a parking space on the designated RPZ streets anyway, so I don’t think there will be any significant changes other than the fee for the RPZ permit.     You may want to enable the Logic-check on you device. 

      • Marty2 September 17, 2019 (2:22 pm)

        Marlys, I was referring to finding parking if you intend to visit businesses at the Junction.  Sorry for the confusion.

  • pjmanley September 17, 2019 (12:23 pm)

    Fastest way to screw up the market?  Get government involved and let them pick the winners and losers. What could go wrong?

  • Afrances September 17, 2019 (1:34 pm)

    You’re taking away from me keeping my spending local. I’ll drive to Southcenter, park for however long I need to be there…for free,  and get a lot more done. Fortunately for them, Tukwila will get my money. It’s a shame that the junction will be losing my financial support. West Seattle is getting away from a community feeling. I didn’t move downtown, I moved to a West Seattle because it wasn’t downtown. 

    • KBear September 18, 2019 (9:09 am)

      AFrances, West Seattle has been a part of the big city of Seattle for more than a century. It was a big city when you moved here, and it will continue to grow. Traffic in Tukwila isn’t getting any  better, so I’m not sure why you think shopping in Southcenter is preferable to the Junction. Sounds like you’re just being spiteful.

  • BJG September 17, 2019 (1:42 pm)

    If you are looking for parking on streets surrounding the Junction between 9AM and 7PM,  you’ll be lucky to find any. These are the commuter and local employee’s parking hours. These parked cars are left all day every weekday. Saturdays are also storage days for Junction workers. Come back after 9PM and the streets will be empty except for the cars of local apartment dwellers and bar patrons. Our neighbors have off-street parking and use it. This is why the RPZ was approved. You’ll find more midday two hour street parking when RPZs go into effect and the park-and-hides are gone. Speaking for myself, I paid dearly for First Hill garage parking (no employee freebies) in my career.  I needed the car at work for patient and other clinic visits. It was a huge budget hit. I suggest it is possible to charge “market value” in lots around here.  The city street is taxed and supported by us all. You should see my property taxes for this year. I physically maintain my part of the sidewalk, curbing and two adjacent streets as required and pick up the garbage, cans, butts, and broken glass the commuters and others kindly leave me . Do you?  We have been running the de facto parking lot of West Seattle for the benefit of the few. Let others have a chance to park now. We’ll just keep cleaning up the place.

    • CAM September 17, 2019 (3:44 pm)

      If it’s true that all your neighbors have off street parking and don’t fill up the streets with their cars then what is the purpose of the RPZ? To stop commuters from blocking other commuters from parking there? As for all the talk of not being able to find parking in the Junction, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been unable to find a parking spot within a few minutes or a block of where I’m going. Most times that it takes me longer is because I’m being lazy and pass up spots that are farther away from my destination in hopes of finding something better. Things are not as extreme as all this. 

      • chemist September 17, 2019 (6:39 pm)

        I think the RPZ helps turn-over non-resident parkers (and SDOTs data suggested ~60% at 10am and 2pm were non-residents during the weekday) so there’s a higher likelihood of residents being able to find an open parking spot closer to their house.  It’s a turnover thing with significantly longer time limits for residents, kind of like how parking meters function in many business districts.  It’s one thing to walk a few extra minutes if you’re just visiting every so often but I can see how that’d be pretty annoying if you live somewhere.

        • CAM September 17, 2019 (11:30 pm)

          I did live there and still to some degree do by a difference of 4 blocks. I’d still occasionally end up looking for parking for various reasons even though I paid for private parking. It is also not atypical to have to park farther away from your home when you live in a dense urban neighborhood. In the past when I could not afford parking I have walked multiple blocks with groceries and laundry, etc. That’s life in a city. If you want to park in front of your house 24 hours a day there are suburbs that can offer that kind of amenity. Because that’s what it is, a bonus or perk, not a right. 

        • Ice September 18, 2019 (7:44 am)

          Making sure you have a short walk to a public parking space from your house is absolutely not the government’s responsibility. That’s why people have garages and parking spaces on their own property. I firmly believe that people should pay for what they use, and parking is no exception. An RPZ is just a subsidized giveaway to a few locals at the tax payers expense. Just charge the park-and-riders for their usage of the space instead of trying to outlaw them.

      • Michael Ross September 23, 2019 (3:42 pm)

        I agree with your comments, especially about how this is not as dire as some are saying. I did want to weigh in on the comment that you referred to about, “neighbors have off street parking and don’t fill up the streets with their cars then what is the purpose of the RPZ? To stop commuters from blocking other commuters from parking there?”We don’t have off-street parking. My wife and I bought our house in the RPZ zone after visiting it over the course of a couple of weekends (when we weren’t working) and found it to be a great home and community and the parking situation didn’t seem too bad. Wow were we in for a surprise when that first Monday morning came along after we moved in. We realized that during the week we live in a park-and-ride parking lot. We routinely have to park blocks away and lug our 2 year old, groceries, etc. back to our house. It’s like that all day long Mon-Fri and then after 6pm when the commuters leave, we pick trash left behind. I think it’s worth really paying attention to the fact that this is not Junction shoppers were talking about. It really is parking for commuters.

  • Newsflash September 17, 2019 (1:55 pm)

    In case you haven’t heard- Seattle sucks now. It’s almost officially recognized. Anyone that’s been here for over 5 years should hate it. 

    • WSB September 17, 2019 (3:22 pm)

      Hope you’re being sarcastic. Been here 28 years. Love it.

    • Ken September 17, 2019 (3:35 pm)

      @ Newsflash: Absolutely spot on.  Seattle is just awful.  I can’t wait to get out of here.  Only reason I’m here now is to assist with care for an elderly relative.  I’ve been in West Seattle since the mid-sixties and it’s truly a shame what this city and specifically, West Seattle has become.  Granted, change is very much  inevitable, but the changes going on in this city for the past several years are certainly for the worse.  And I would venture to guess nobody is better off because of those changes.   

    • Peter September 17, 2019 (4:57 pm)

      Newsflash, in four days I’ll have lived here 28 years and I love it. Question for you Newsflash, why don’t you move away if Seattle so horrible? Personally I’m sick to death of the incessant whining from you Seattle haters. You don’t have to live here. If it’s that bad please move away and leave the rest of us to enjoy the city we love. 

  • I love WS September 17, 2019 (9:17 pm)

    I wish we could have a better way to get to the Junctions.  It would be awesome if there was a old school trolley that just went up and down California Ave like the old days. Then all the paid parking wouldnt even matter. How awesome would that be?!  Will somebody please figure that out please?

    • WSB September 17, 2019 (9:35 pm)

      California Streetcar … and it could also get people to the future light-rail station. Oh, the shortsightedness of the people who allowed the dismantling of the streetcar system last century … https://www.historylink.org/File/2707 (From that recap, this bit of trivia: “The honor of being the nation’s first city to own a street railway belongs to West Seattle, which purchased a private line in 1902 and operated it briefly before annexing to Seattle in 1907.”)

  • Susan September 18, 2019 (3:40 pm)

    I have never had a problem finding street or lot parking in this area. I’ve lived in West Seattle since 1993.

    • hj September 18, 2019 (4:06 pm)

      There really isn’t a problem, it’s just that people don’t want to pay. The SDOT study that the paid parking lots in the area were rarely above 60% average usage. This matches my (anecdotal) experience: from my window I can see the lot at 42nd and Edmunds and it is almost never full. I used to rent a space in the garage under Jefferson Square and it was never full. 

  • Marc September 19, 2019 (7:37 am)

    I am just curious about the number of bedrooms AND parking spaces in this zone? So, instead of paying for my landlord’s parking $pace$,w/ a proper address I can pay $65 for 2 years (per car) and never move our 2nd car. Sweet deal, if I can walk to all the amenities I need….Not a fan, but I can see how there is no alternativeonce we allowed building zero parking space units.

Sorry, comment time is over.