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.

  • All residents within the gray area will be eligible for Zone 32 permits and guest permits

  • Permits are currently $65 per vehicle for a two-year cycle (discounted permits are available for income eligible households)

  • Zone 32 signs will limit parking for vehicles without Zone 32 permits to 2 hours Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

  • Zone 32 signs will not be installed adjacent to commercial properties or ground floor retail

Meanwhile, SDOT has backed off a plan to change the rules for RPZ 15 to the north of the new zone to drop non-permitted street parking limits from the existing four-hour restrictions to a more limiting two-hour allowance. SDOT attributed the decision to “resident feedback.”

In May, SDOT finalized the expansion of RPZ 2 inspired by a resident’s request to make more street parking available for people who live in the area around the super green Bullitt Centeroffice building and the Seattle Academy school. At the time, officials said areas around Summit Ave and an area near St. Mark’s were also being considered for expansion.

SDOT positioned these latest changes as part of an assessment of the area with Sound Transit looking at commuter patterns in the area with the opening of Capitol Hill Station in March but the RPZ 32 blocks also represent the last area in central Capitol Hill not under the parking program’s framework.

A typical residential RPZ permit costs $65 and are good for “a 2-year cycle.” Guest permits cost $30. Here’s where you can look up RPZ information by address. The program has been reviewed and modified over the years and zones are sometimes added or extended. Large expansions are required to go through a public comment process. SDOT does not change rates to generate new revenue,” the announcement reads.

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

Now that big hole between I-5, RPZ 15, RPZ 4, and RPZ 21 will be filled in.

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

  1. Sixty-five dollars for two years? That’s a ridiculously cheap price to pay for parking. The city should be charging closer to $100 a month, or $2,400 for two years, for the privilege to park on some of the most valuable, high-demand land it owns. Giving away parking spaces is starving the city of the money it needs to build real mass transit, to address its homeless emergency, and to do all the other crap we’ll need when we lose Federal funding.

    • RPZ stands for Resident Parking Zone. It is meant to reserve multiple hour parking on the streets for RESIDENTS in the neighborhood, and not become a commuter parking lot for others from elsewhere, or storage for cars from other places. This is not a tool for social justice warriors including homeless funding. I live on the hill, fortunately for now on a street that has ample parking and no RPZ. But there is one a block away. Folks show up, park and hop a bus to downtown I have been told. I suspect it is a matter of time before we need/want one on my block. I have had to report rogue vehicles abandoned or parked more than 72 hours on more than one occasion. The rules do not allow anyone to park for more than 72 hours on the street without moving it. With all the microhousing and other apartments without parking, folks who want vehicles for shopping and recreation will be storing them blocks away from home, on streets like mine.

    • Put some ten-hour meters on the block and charge a few bucks an hour. Sell permits for unlimited parking at a comparable rate, much more than $65 per two years. The idea that living in a neighborhood entitles one to park in front of one’s house is incredibly counterproductive. If you want a car, pay for the privileges you expect to get with it as well.

  2. I live in this area and would gladly pay for monthly garage parking, but none is available. I’m also willing to pay more for RPZ parking. Having a car is required for my job, it isn’t simply a luxury for me. I’m very happy that RPZ is coming to this area of the hill. It’s outrageous that the nearby streets around the million dollar SFHs with driveways and garages are all restricted parking, preventing apartment dwellers from parking there while the dense area is unrestricted. This is a welcome correction.

  3. It must be a regional thing, but where I grew up, there were lots of row homes without garages (not so dissimilar to here, where the lot sizes are often too small for a driveway) and it was considered very bad manners to park in front of someone else’s house. It was not actually legal, but also not uncommon to see a chair, cone or other item “holding” a parking space and only newcomers were likely to dare to move them.

    Personally I would favor a rather different system here… It seems silly to block people from parking on the neighborhood streets during the day.. that’s when it’s most likely that the residents won’t be there. So what if commuters park there when you are gone. Make the 2 hr parking evenings and weekends when the homeowners are more apt to need the spots.

    Allow only as many permits per property as there are actually street spaces to park cars – if you have more vehicles than spaces, then you will need to make alternative arrangements. As for those alternative arrangements – allow people who have *more* spaces than vehicles to sublet their permits.

    That said, in the few months since we’ve had our zoned parking the number of cars on the street has greatly diminished even during the hours it’s not enforced. I do wonder if it’s due a lot to people who are house/apartment sharing or living short term (like college kids) not being able to get a permit. Your car has to be registered at the address to actually get a permit and we used to see a lot more out of state plates around here.

  4. If we’re going to charge for passes, then we should charge what the market will bear. If street parking is so important to people, they should be willing to pony up. There is no unalienable right to street parking in front of your residence.

  5. I live in this new zone and of course welcome the change. This will resolve my biggest gripe which is all the construction workers taking up parking during the day. My neighborhood is not a parking lot for construction sites. Plus the construction jobs put up ‘no parking’ signs for an entire block for months. I don’t expect to be able to park in front of my building but it would be nice to find a spot within a few blocks. As Jason said, this is a welcome correction. Way overdue! I also take great joy in reporting cars parked on the street for more than 72 hours and seeing the subsequent orange tag and maybe even getting to watch it towed away.

  6. The ship has sailed in Seattle with respect to RPZ’s being designed to facilitate locals to park on their street. Nobody is suggesting that a person owns the parking in front of their house, but current policy does support the concept that people from out of the area are not free to park for long periods of time in an RPZ during the day (2-4 hour max I have been told), to discourage commuters and people from out of the area taking up the parking when they are not actually staying or visiting the area. If one chooses to rent an apartment without parking in a dense area, at a price that reflects lack of parking, and someone else chooses to rent or buy where ample street parking is available, is it appropriate or acceptable that the former could park their car a quarter mile away, and create along with others a parking lot in someone else’s neighborhood? As to those who put cones or obstructions in front of their houses, talking New York or some Chicago neighborhoods, this would not fly in this town or my street and the obstruction would promptly be tossed aside. And remember, RPZ or not, that a vehicle must be moved at least every 72 hours or may be reported, tagged and towed by the city. Google reporting abandoned vehicles in Seattle and the handy web form or phone number is displayed. Too cheap to rent or buy a place with parking – don’t freeload off those who have paid up for the privilege.

    • Yeah, but only complete SOB calls in a neighbor for leaving their own car in front of their own house for more than 72 hours…. The law’s spirit is mean to stop people from dumping cars and leaving them there for extended periods of time, not to force people who actually live in the house where they are parked to drive their cars just to move them….

      I don’t know about everyone else, but we bought our house about 20 years ago when there wasn’t nearly the same amount of density as is popping up now and street parking wasn’t even on the radar as an issue. The lot my 100 year old house is on was divided into quarters that long ago, is totally full of house and isn’t large enough to to even think about putting a legal driveway on… I am legally obligated to take care of the parking strip and sidewalk – mow the grass, rake the leaves, shovel snow when it falls, even though I don’t own it, so indeed I do feel like I should have a lot more right to park there than someone who has a 3 vehicle household, but lives in an apartment building that has only allotted them 1 space.

  7. The reality of prolonged parking is that one sees a car they don’t recognize that has not moved in days. Around day 4 or 5 it is reported. Days later a parking person chalks it and puts a sign that it needs to be moved 72 hours hence. Total time is no less than a week and likely 2 weeks for a car not reported as stolen to be towed. Reporting is more a deterrent than a solution. The SOB is the person who would store a car that is not driven, on a street where people want to park.

    • I agree. Just a little correction, though….the parking officer has 4-9 working days to respond to a complaint….at that point, he/she chalks the vehicle, then returns 3 days later to confirm that it hasn’t moved and to affix the orange warning sticker. Sometimes such vehicles are ticketed, eventually, but towing is rare.

    • After my complaints are logged in the Find it Fix it app, I see chalk on the car’s tires within two or three days. 4-9 days may be what they are allowed but as they know themselves, that’s not reasonable. And I agree with your definition of SOB! I can’t wait for this to take affect! And while I’m griping, why are these new buildings allowed to have 3 minute zones and 30 minute unload/load zones in front? It takes up all the parking that’s left in the area! Also, when I inquired about such a zone in front of my building I was told the city didn’t have the manpower currently to review such applications and to apply next year. WTF? At this point however I’m not going to apply to preserve what parking is left in the ‘hood.

  8. We should be charging full market rate for parking everywhere in the city. Anything less is a crazy distortion of supply and demand, and a city subsidy for auto dependance and environmental damage.