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


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

With high demand for late night spaces on Capitol Hill, city eyes extending paid parking hours

img_20150413_133712-614x1024-600x1001In his recently released budget proposal, Mayor Ed Murray included a provision to extend paid parking throughout Capitol Hill from 8 PM to 11 PM by late 2017. It is a response to recent city data that shows finding a paid parking spot on Capitol Hill is still tough well into the night.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has backed the idea, but said no to a parking benefit district, which would have set aside the extra revenue to be invested in Capitol Hill.

It is unclear how much revenue would be generated by extending the hours, but in 2015 Seattle parking revenues totaled $37 million across 12,250 spaces. In District 3, which includes all of Capitol Hill’s paid parking spaces, revenues amounted to $7.26 million — 19% of the citywide total.

SDOT says it plans to hold community discussions on extending hours in late 2016 or early 2017 to determine “whether extending paid parking hours would be the right tool to address neighborhood access needs.” The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce said it did not have a comment on the proposal. Officials say extending hours is meant to manage parking demand, not to just put money in City Hall’s coffers.  Continue reading

$12 million to homelessness, 200 police officers, electric cars, more streetcar: What’s in the mayor’s budget for Capitol Hill

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-2-08-55-pmAfter taking on major initiatives like universal Pre-K and housing affordability, Mayor Ed Murray set a more restrained and “efficient” course for the City of Seattle during his 2017-2018 budget presentation at City Council Monday afternoon. That still didn’t keep dozens of protestors from chanting against the mayor’s police spending priorities just outside the council chambers.

Since the Great Recession, the city has amassed $35 million per year in construction fees, which Murray called out as a precarious financial situation. Projecting the rapid pace of construction will begin to slow in 2017, the mayor said his budget avoids making too many major longterm investments and puts money into the city’s rainy day funds.

“If 2014 was the year of the minimum wage, 2015 the year of housing affordability, and 2016 is the year of education, it is my intention to make 2017 the year of good governance,” he said. Continue reading

SDOT says nope to plan that would push parking $ back to Capitol Hill, yup to possible late night paid parking


Across Broadway and Pike/Pine, Capitol Hill generated some 12% of the city’s parking revenue in 2015 (Source: SDOT)

Department of Transportation officials will argue Tuesday afternoon that the city shouldn’t move forward with a plan to create “parking benefit districts” across Seattle that would give neighborhoods a major slice of the revenue generated by pay meters on their streets.

In a briefing planned to be part of Tuesday’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee session at City Council, SDOT officials lay out their case that there are significant logistical and legal concerns about earmarking any of the more than $30 million in paid parking revenue annually collected in the city for neighborhood-specific budgets: Continue reading

SDOT looks at Restricted Parking Zone 15 expansion across I-5 Shores

caphillrpz8444334030_3d6c40fa08_o-1A new drive has begun to create a major expansion of Restricted Parking Zone 15 to cover most of the densely-packed streets between Broadway and I-5 north of E Olive Way with two-hour parking restrictions for drivers from outside the neighborhood.

“RPZs are intended to improve parking access for residents, while balancing the needs of others to use the public right of way,” SDOT said in its announcement of the newly proposed expansion. “RPZs help neighborhoods deal with parking congestion from traffic generators through signed time limits from which vehicles displaying a valid RPZ permit are exempt.”

Here is how SDOT is explaining the proposal:

  • The gray area on the map is the new RPZ, using E Roy St and Belmont Ave E as the northern boundary.
  • In the gray area, RPZ signs would be installed on the color-lined blocks, limiting vehicles without zone permits to 2-hour parking Monday to Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm.
  • All residents in the gray area would be eligible for permits in the new RPZ.
  • Permits are currently $65 per vehicle for two years. Guest permits are also available.
  • Signs would not be installed next to commercial properties, nor would they replace existing paid or time limited parking.

You can provide feedback on the plan with this SDOT survey or by emailing by September 26. SDOT staff will also be available “to take comments and answer questions” at Top Pot Doughnuts, 609 Summit Ave E on Saturday, September 17, 2016, from 10 AM to 12 PM. Continue reading