FOLLOWUP: City gives district two options in Alki Elementary no-parking appeal

(WSB photo)

As of tonight, the old Alki Elementary is almost completely demolished, but a matter that must be settled before the new one is built is still in question. More than two weeks have now passed since a city hearing examiner ruled in favor of neighbors challenging the city decision to allow a zoning exception so the replacement school – with a higher capacity – can be built without parking. We’ve been asking both the city Department of Construction and Inspections and Seattle Public Schools what they plan to do to respond to the ruling. We finally got an answer today from SDCI; spokesperson Wendy Shark tells WSB, “SDCI has communicated to the district to revise the project proposal to include the required parking or provide additional information to supplement a revised decision. A revised decision would be appealable to the Hearing Examiner. Timing of these actions is dependent on the district.” The required parking, per city code, is 48 spaces. The district has one other option – they could appeal the hearing examiner’s decision in King County Superior Court; so far court records show no indication they’re doing that. What they do plan to do, we don’t know yet, as we asked again as soon as we heard from SDCI this morning, but we hadn’t received a district response by day’s end. The building permit can’t be finalized until the issue is settled. The new school is supposed to be ready in two years.

35 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: City gives district two options in Alki Elementary no-parking appeal"

  • Alki resident August 25, 2023 (10:39 pm)

    Can’t even believe this is an issue. There’s zero parking available around the neighborhood as is and to not have parking available for teachers and parents is incredible. And then to think this will be completed in two years when there’s still parking debates? Welcome to Seattle Public Schools where nothing ever can be done accordingly. 

    • JJ August 26, 2023 (8:04 am)

      There is ALWAYS parking available along 58th and 59th on weekdays. 

      • Anne August 26, 2023 (12:08 pm)

        No there is not ALWAYS parking there. Teachers should be able to park on campus. 

      • High School Teacher August 26, 2023 (5:40 pm)

        Odd that Google maps didn’t capture that abundance. Looking at Google street view, I can see three available parking spaces on 58th and 59th.  So, if that is your parking plan, 50 cars circle up 58th and down 59th, and then they try somewhere else… 

        • Tired WS Mom August 26, 2023 (8:21 pm)

          That’s Google street view that’s not a live view haha

          • High School Teacher August 27, 2023 (9:03 am)

            Yes, Google street view is simply a snapshot of a random day.

      • Alki resident August 26, 2023 (8:19 pm)

        No there’s not. It’s first come first serve And  you’re very fortunate to get one later in the day. Definitely not enough to satisfy a schools needs. 

    • Mike Hodges August 26, 2023 (9:21 am)

      You could make the entire area’s PUBLIC ( so not yours or mine) $1 an hour 8-5 every day and the “parking problems” would vanish.Is no one aware of the tragedy of the commons so we must continue down this silly path?  The free public, but limited, parking is the problem. People cram their cars everywhere, they don’t consider any other travel options, and they drive around the neighborhood looking for parking….not other people. 

  • Brooke August 25, 2023 (11:12 pm)

    I can tell you that my eldest boy attended Alki from Kinder through 5th (his entire Elementary School years) and parking/drop off’s were a challenge. Both he and my middle son also attended Summer Camp at Alki Community Center. The District should have definitely taken parking into consideration.

  • Reed August 26, 2023 (7:40 am)

    I support the district appealing it. Time to start breaking the habit of being so car dependent in an urban environment. 

    • Chemist August 26, 2023 (11:08 am)

      The school will also be rebuilt with fewer than the code-minimum bike parking spots, so is the hope that the teachers are mostly going to walk or use the bus routes (which aren’t exactly plentiful in the NW alki area)?

      • WSB August 27, 2023 (9:05 pm)

        This was explained during the appeal hearing; they believe they will end up with adequate bike parking but had to technically request the code departure. Sorry I don’t have more specifics, but the Hearing Examiner’s website has audio recordings of the entire hearing if you’re interested.

    • Gaslit August 26, 2023 (4:41 pm)

      Yeah! Agreed, people should be taking the train everywhere from West Seattle. Oh wait, that doesn’t exist. There is a bus system with a 1980’s infrastructure that I’m sure passes right by the school a dozen times a day. Oh wait, don’t have that either….hmm. It’s almost like there isn’t a real option outside of driving for the majority of people. Senseless and insensitive comments on blogs are plentiful though Reed 

    • Jim August 26, 2023 (6:28 pm)

      It’s a school there needs to be some degree of parking and expecting parents and kids to just take the bus to and from picking their kids up or expecting teachers to take the bus everywhere is ridiculous

      • Bus August 27, 2023 (9:43 pm)

        Why are so many parents driving their kids to and from school when we have tax-funded school buses?  Are you guys really demanding taxpayers pay for the school bus AND also accommodate all the parents who drive their kids anyway because little Timmy is just too precious to ride the big cheese with everyone else?

    • Alki resident August 26, 2023 (8:22 pm)

      Tell me you don’t have children without telling me you don’t have children. 

      • Reed August 26, 2023 (10:25 pm)

        I have two elementary-age kids, both who walk to school everyday. Nice try though.

  • Engineer August 26, 2023 (8:32 am)

    It’s kind of shocking to me that they went ahead with the demolition before the had permits in hand to build the new school. Demolition is quick, they aren’t saving much time by doing it now. Crews will now be more or less idle while the parking issue works its way through the system.On the other hand, already being down a school means west seattle is unlikely to suffer any school consolidations (sorry, “well resourced schools”) in the 24-25 school year 

    • WSB August 26, 2023 (9:43 am)

      In one of our previous followups, we quoted the district as saying they also had a permit to do some other site work such as grading.

  • Jon Mathison August 26, 2023 (10:05 am)

    Requiring schools to have parking is absolutely absurd. Our public schools are doing exactly the right thing by eliminating parking at elementary schools and all schools. Let’s teach our children how not to be car dependent, DCI is on the wrong path and needs correction.  The real problem is a terrible hearings examiner, insane parking minimums, the NIMBY neighbors, and the car dependent people who can’t connect the dots that their car dependency directly harms our children. With every click of the starter you poison your children with harmful pollutants, pollute the water runoff, pollute the air, and cause global warming. Surely many children will be able to walk to school… oops, now it’s too dangerous to let children walk or bike because of your cars and you’re terrible driving. Places that are walkable see even kindergarteners walking alone to school, oh but you can’t allow that…  Yep, think you are set to harm Alki Elementary students as most you can for the long term.  

    • High School Teacher August 26, 2023 (12:06 pm)

      @Jon: (1)Your post assumes that the teachers, non-teaching staff, families, and students who might attend Alki are some fixed commodity, who will come to the school in sufficient numbers using whatever transportation mode is available.  Some will, but over time, working professionals have opportunities to change careers or worksites. Over time, families have opportunities to change neighborhoods or schools to an over-all more workable lifestyle (such as choosing to be within walking distance to frequent mass transit). There is a current shortage of certain workers, and difficulty getting to the job site is not a useful recruiting tool. (2) The existence of zoning rules protects us all. As more transit/bus/walking options are developed, I expect zoning rules to change to not require parking, as has been done for apartments near frequent bus service. If you believe the time has come to change those zoning rules, go lobby for that, rather than have a zoning system that doesn’t apply to the most powerful.

    • Anne August 26, 2023 (12:11 pm)

      Teachers should be able to park on campus. 

  • Ani August 26, 2023 (11:07 am)

    As a teacher at a school that only has 5/6 parking spots for visitors it is a pain to not have a reliable parking spot.  Some folks are commenting on not being car dependant but that school doesn’t have super great public transportation and then having to carry stuff as teachers often do.  I mean we don’t pay them enough, at least make their lives a little easier.  

  • Admiral-2009 August 26, 2023 (11:47 am)

    For the people supporting no parking, Alki ES is not located off an Arterial street, has limited transit service and is not conducive to zero parking.  The HE finally called out the SD for the fact zero is not a reasonable value.

    • Why August 26, 2023 (3:25 pm)

      Good point.  Alki School is also located within the Alki Parking Overlay (SMC 23.54.015) which, although it doesn’t apply specifically to schools, is the city’s acknowledgement that this neighborhood lacks parking.  Private homes are required to have more than minimum parking required in other neighborhoods. It is within two blocks of the only major public park (and tourist draw) in the city without public parking.  The decision to divert Schmitz Park Boulevard to Admiral Way, many many years ago, also separated the garages from a number of houses on Admiral Way, leaving them without parking spaces.                    The thought that “mass” transit (which Seattle does NOT have) is sufficient for parents, students and employees is laughable, frankly.  No city in the USA, except minimally NYC and Chicago, have anything even approaching a transit system that can serve the majority of the public.   We could have, but profit has dictated public policy to date.  And the school district lacks any kind of effective and efficient management, sadly.  It’s in the hands of volunteers.

  • Kyle August 26, 2023 (1:20 pm)

    Hoping the district and neighbors can compromise on some reasonable number between 0-48. That would be the best outcome.

  • MacJ August 26, 2023 (2:57 pm)

    48 spaces is nuts. Genesee Hill is under a mile away and has a huge parking lot that is barely ever 1/3 full. They should run a shuttle instead of wasting more money on car storage.

    • Mike August 27, 2023 (9:41 am)

      Genesee Hill Elementary parent here.  What you said is 100% not true during a school day.  Thanks for playing.

  • alki_2008 August 26, 2023 (6:32 pm)

    Some people need to consider the elevation around the Alki area. I’m sure there are parent and/or grandparent caregivers that WOULD walk or bike with kids to school instead of drive if it was a FLAT course, but the uphill/downhill can make Alki locations too challenging for people that are not able-bodied enough to do it. Think about people that aren’t in the same physical condition as you.

  • Darlene August 27, 2023 (5:58 am)

    I feel like I need to turn my backyard in the Alki beach neighborhood into a parking lot.   I am a handicapped individual who has a very hard time parking anywhere near my home if I leave.   Public transportation over here with all the closed routes still sucks.   Let’s work on real parking,  not street parking where even every corner and crosswalk has cars parked in them.

  • Dom Goodwin September 8, 2023 (1:42 pm)

    I have a Home on Walnut Ave SW close to West Seattle High School and Hiawatha Park. During School Days there are severe parking issues, on Walnut Ave SW. My concerns after trying to work with Seattle Public School, the Seattle Neighborhood Group, the Seattle City Council and the Mayors Team, I realized they don’t care about the Neighborhood near West Seattle High School and Hiawatha Park and thier lack the ethics and lack of wanting to be inclusive with the community.  The Seattle Public School and the Seattle Neighborhood Group in March of 2023 said they would have a Public Meeting with our Neighborhood Community. Then they would never meet with us. I asked multiple times for them to meet with the Neighborhood Community,  and they refused. I certainly understand that decisions can go either way. But there is NO reason not to meet with and be inclusive with the Community and the Citizens who are paying taxes. On School Days there is no parking available on Walnut Ave SW between Hanford and Lander. I and other Neighbors sent multiple pictures and e-mails to the Seattle Public School, the Seattle Neighborhood Group, the Seattle City Council and the Mayors Team, and they did not care about our parking challenges.  In our Community we have Senior Citizens who’s Friends no longer come to visit due to the parking challenges during School Days.  People are struggling to unload groceries, especially if they have children in their car. I found that Seattle Public School, the Seattle Neighborhood Group, the Seattle City Council and the Mayors Team, just don’t care about the tax paying Citizens in our Neighborhood Community. I personally have worked on and been responsible for large, and expensive projects.  I always included all of the Stakeholders when I found there were more Stakeholders than I originally knew before the project, these  Stakeholders were included in the process. I wanted all StakeHolder to be included and that I valued thier input. Inclusion is a major part of any successful project.  I have included a  few of the pictures I sent to Seattle Public School, the Seattle Neighborhood Group, the Seattle City Council and the Mayors Team.Don Goodwin, West Seattle Resident and concerned citizen.

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