As mentioned in Thursday’s news roundup and in a recent Publicola article, on Tuesday, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 6001, its supplemental transportation appropriations bill. Among the amendments tacked onto the bill was this strike at Sound Transit, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa:
“(10) As a condition of eligibility to receive grant funds under this section, a regional transit authority must:
(a) Consider the potential impacts of that facility on parking availability for residents nearby;
(b) Provide appropriate parking impact mitigation for residents, as determined by the authority in collaboration with the local government of the area in which the parking impacts occur. Parking impact mitigation may include, but is not limited to, subsidizing zoned residential parking permits in the vicinity of the facility; and
(c) Pay for the costs of the parking permits in the vicinity of the facility, if a local government implements zoned residential parking permits as a direct result of the parking impacts of the facility.”
The language of this amendment is similar to Senate Bill 6489, also sponsored by Sen. Hasegawa. That bill got out of the Senate Transportation Committee, but made it no further.
The amendment does not define “vicinity”. Nor does it specify a cap on how much a city can charge for Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) permits. In theory, the City of Bellevue could deem the whole city to be in the “vicinity” of Sound Transit infrastructure, declare the whole city to be an RPZ, charge $1 million per annual permit, and require Sound Transit to pay the entire cost of these $1 million annual parking permits.
It is unclear why Sound Transit should be accountible for difficulties neighbors have parking their cars, in the public right-of-way, in front of their own homes, when other public infrastructure, like colleges and ferry docks, have RPZs around them, and their governing agencies are not being asked to pay for RPZ permits.
It is also unknown whether the senator tried to intercede with the City of Seattle over the $65 cost of a 2-year parking permit (or $10, for those who qualify as low-income). If the neighbors don’t want to pay this small amount to park in front of their homes, they have a more direct option: Dissolve their RPZ.
Requests to Sen. Hasegawa’s office for comment on the amendment have gone unanswered.