Seattle cuts parking requirements near transit, ‘unbundles’ costs for carless tenants in new buildings

The City Council approved legislation Monday that will give developers fewer reasons to create large parking structures below streets already choked with traffic, providing a new avenue for the ongoing march toward affordability in Seattle.

“It’s unfair for us to have a city where parking is abundant and free and housing is scarce and expensive,” council member and lead on the parking reform bill Rob Johnson said prior to Monday’s 7-1 vote. Continue reading

Capitol Hill and Central District high school population boom has Garfield looking for extra classroom space

Garfield, the Seattle public high school serving Capitol Hill and Central District area students, is growing so fast it will need portable classrooms to make space for its students.

The City of Seattle is looking for citizens to join advisory committees that will help determine recommendations for possible zoning changes to allow the 23rd Ave high school and a set of other Seattle Public Schools campuses to “provide less than required on-site parking” so they have space to add portable-style classrooms. Continue reading

A look at public comment on the Holy Names parking project — UPDATE: Extended

As you can see in the comments on this CHS Community Post in opposition to the project, there is a solid split on the proposal to build a five-level parking garage beneath North Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy and a new surface parking lot to the girls private high school’s north. As we reported in January, supporters and families at the school say that street parking in the neighborhood is overwhelmed. Those in opposition — mostly neighbors of the 110-year-old campus — say the massive project is not necessary, decry the loss of the school’s north lawn, and say the permitting should not proceed without further environmental review.

Land Use Application to allow a new 2-story gymnasium with below grade parking for 246 vehicles (Holy Names Academy). An additional 32 parking spaces to be provided in a new surface parking lot, 12 existing spaces to be removed for a total of 307 parking spaces. Review includes partial demolition of existing gymnasium.

With public comment on the key Master Use portion of the process to permit the construction project slated to end today, Wednesday, February 28th, here is a look at some of the comments submitted on both sides of the proposal. UPDATE 2:57 PM: The city tells us the comment period has, indeed, been extended to March 14th.

Of the 67 public comments submitted, supporters who support the project moving out without a costly environmental review outweigh those in opposition by around seven to three. Many in support have students among the 700 young women who attend the academy. Most in opposition live nearby. Continue reading

Unbundling, flexibility, ‘frequent transit service’ — What’s in Seattle’s ‘Neighborhood Parking Reform’ proposals

The City Council’s planning committee Wednesday morning is scheduled to continue its work reshaping Seattle’s parking policies in an effort to reduce building costs and, hopefully, help address the city’s growing affordability crisis.

CHS wrote here in January about Seattle’s so-called “Neighborhood Parking Reform” process and the hope of reducing requirements, “unbundling” costs, and opening up the city to “shared parking” for motor vehicles and bikes. Here’s a rundown of the elements in the latest version of the legislation under discussion Wednesday from a City Hall staff memo on the proposals:

  • Unbundling” of parking: requiring that renting or leasing of parking be covered by a separate agreement from rental agreements and leases,
  • Calling non-required or public parking “flexible use parking” and broadening the locations where flexible use parking is permitted and how it can be used, Continue reading

Seattle’s ‘Neighborhood Parking Reform’ — reduced requirements, ‘unbundling’ of costs, shared parking

Proposed Areas With Parking Flexibility Map (Image: City of Seattle)

Legislation hoped to help reduce housing costs in Seattle by allowing so-called “shared parking,” giving developers fewer reasons to create large parking structures, and opening more buildings to offer parking on the open market will be taken up by the Seattle City Council’s planning and land use committee starting Wednesday morning.

CHS wrote about the legislation from the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess in November and its potential for helping renters. Parking costs “make up 10-20% of typical construction projects,” according to the city.

The legislation package — hopefully titled Neighborhood Parking Reform — would require the “unbundling of parking space rental from multi-family dwelling unit rental and lease agreements in new and existing structures 10 dwelling units or greater in size, and new commercial lease agreements in new and existing structures 10,000 square feet or greater in size.” Continue reading

How Seattle ‘shared parking’ proposal could help renters — even if you don’t drive

Rendering of the future parking garage entrance to 11th Ave’s under-construction Kelly Springfield building

With a push from Capitol Hill and the neighborhood’s seemingly insatiable appetite for parking, Seattle is moving forward with a plan that could create pools of shared parking in buildings across the city, reducing the need for developers to create large parking structures, and allowing more buildings to offer parking on the open market.

“If a building has unused parking stalls, we shouldn’t block them from renting those spaces out to someone who needs a place to keep their vehicle,” Mayor Tim Burgess said in the announcement of the legislation his office has sent to the City Council for consideration. “I hear complaints about the on-street parking crunch in our densest neighborhoods, and I’ve experienced it myself. It’s the reason I’m advancing this comprehensive package of parking options, ranging from making car share parking more available to changing parking requirements for income-restricted housing.”

Here are the details of the new proposal: Continue reading

10 PM paid parking is coming to Capitol Hill

Starting in late October, paid parking hours on streets in Capitol Hill’s commercial core will be extended into the late night hours, from the current cutoff hour of 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. It’s not all bad news, parker. Rates in some areas will come down. Of course, they’ll jump in others.

The policy shift comes as evidence shows that demand for evening parking shows no loss of appetite on Capitol Hill. Since 2010, SDOT has conducted studies of parking trends and behavior along Broadway and the Pike/Pine nightlife blocks. The most recent study from May 2017 showed that parking in these areas was at capacity between 7:00 and 10:00 PM. Data from the 2016 study illustrated a similar trend: there was no parking available between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM.

“For the past several years it’s consistently shown that parking is very full until late in the evening which makes reliable access for customers and visitors very challenging,” said Mike Estey, SDOT’s Manager of Parking Programs. “Charging for paid parking until 10:00 PM should allow access on the block[s].” Continue reading

ReachNow car service has solved parking in Pike/Pine on a Friday night (for now)

(Image: ReachNow)

(Image: ReachNow)

While it and others like Car2Go bridge the gap to a future of self-driving cars shuttling us between millionaire-tax supported government farming communes and our favorite Capitol Hill craft cocktail bars, ReachNow has also figured out a stopgap solution for its  customers wanting to park its BMWs and Minis in Pike/Pine on a Friday night. The true test? St. Patrick’s Day on a Friday. Here is marketing director Laura Gonia:

We’re live tonight from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. We’ll have music, water and Rancho Bravo tacos for all members who swing through (if you sign up tonight, we’ll give you a taco, too). We’re expecting tonight to be a little busier since more people will be out for St. Paddy’s Day but our team will be moving cars so there’s always a spot.

For now, the ReachNow “dropzone” will only take over Rancho Bravo’s lot on Friday nights through March but Gonia said a longer term solution is “definitely something we’re exploring.” “If it continues to pick up and our members love it, we’ll definitely continue it,” Gonia said.

The BMW-operated service charges $0.41/minute (“reduced from $0.49 for a limited time only”) for driving, and it will cost your $0.30/minute if you just want to sit in your car and “park.” The service also offers flat-rate pricing. ReachNow launched in Seattle with a party on Capitol Hill and has continued to focus its marketing on the neighborhood. Car2Go’s fleet from Daimler AG rolled out in 2012. Both have become a ubiquitous part of the neighborhood’s transit solution — though, for some, the services are not ubiquitous enough with a clear ring of emptiness emerging around the Capitol Hill core around during key commute times. Drivers can park in any legal street parking space, including metered spaces and residential zones. The so-called “car share” companies pay the city permit fees to utilize resources including street parking.

New parking rates coming to Capitol Hill in 2017 — but no late night paid parking… yet

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In 2017, Capitol Hill and First Hill streets will join the busy avenues of downtown, and Pioneer Square as the first areas in Seattle where nighttime on-street paid parking will hit $4.50 an hour. Nighttime visitors — and neighbors who play the increasingly challenging shell game of keeping their parked automobiles one step ahead of the Parking Enforcement Officer — will be happy to hear that there is no specific plan for rolling out paid parking beyond 8 PM… yet.

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced the planned increases last week as part of its ongoing “data-driven” optimization across its 12,000 on-street paid parking spaces as demand for some Capitol Hill-area parking continues to hover well beyond 100% during peak hours — seemingly no matter how high rates climb. Continue reading

In 2017, RPZ 32 will fill in Capitol Hill ‘restricted parking zone’ puzzle

The last major swath of Capitol Hill where curbsides are not protected for area residents with a “restricted parking zone” is coming into the the City of Seattle’s fold.

RPZ 32 will be rolled out by mid-2017 covering the blocks between Belmont and E Olive Way below Broadway to the edges of the I-5 Shores. The Seattle Department of Transportation announced the decision earlier this month following a public feedback process this fall:

Zone 32 signs will be installed on the green blocks in mid-2017. Residents in the gray area will receive a letter with instructions for obtaining a Zone 32 permit. The pink blocks will move from Zone 15 to Zone 32. Residents on these blocks will receive further communication about this change. Continue reading