The city is proposing rules that would restrict the number of parking permits given out per household under the neighborhood “zone” parking system. The residential “zone” system restricts on-street parking to four hours for those with a permit for that particular zone. In order to get the permit, you need to live in the zone’s area. Currently, there is no limit on the number of passes per household, which can make parking difficult to find in the more dense areas, such as where I live on Capitol Hill. Under the new rules, households would be limited as follows:

Limited to one permit per household:
Zone 4 on Capitol Hill
Zone 7 on First Hill
Zone 13 on Lower Queen Anne
Zone 21 in the Pike-Pine area of Capitol Hill
Zone 24 in the Cascade neighborhood near South Lake Union

Limited to two permits per household:
Zone 2 near Providence Hospital
Zone 5 in Wallingford
Zone 6 in the east University District
Zone 8 in Eastlake
Zone 10 in the west University District
Zone 15 in the Belmont/Harvard area on Capitol Hill
Zone 17 on north Beacon Hill
Zone 20 in Ravenna/Bryant
Zone 22 near Lincoln High School

Limited to four permits per household:
Zone 1 in Montlake
Zone 3 in Fauntleroy
Zone 9 in Magnolia
Zone 11 on North Queen Anne
Zone 12 on north Capitol Hill
Zone 14 near Garfield High School
Zone 16 in Mount Baker
Zone 18 in Licton Springs
Zone 19 in Roosevelt/Cowan Park
Zone 23 in Madison Valley
Zone 25 in Westlake

This is fine and dandy, though I think if you really want to let residents get a fair shake a parking, you’d make all parking in the neighborhood zoned. In my area, Summit Ave is all zone 4 parking, but Bellevue Ave has no zone. I finally got the city to recognize Mercer street and put zone 4 parking there, but in order for the residential zone system to have any teeth, it needs to be something that is all over, not just in part of a neighborhood.

What does this have to do with transit? If the zones aren’t put in place down in the Rainier Valley, I’d bet all of those station areas, particularly the Rainier Beach station, will turn into informal park-and-rides. What do you think? Should the city allow for these sort of informal park-and-rides? Or should neighborhoods be allowed to control their parking?

14 Replies to “Neighborhood Parking”

  1. I think that the city of Seattle does not, as yet, tell enough people in Seattle what to do. I am for more instructions from the city to the citizens.

    1. You’re right vanderleun,

      Let’s abolish zoning restrictions, allowing maximum development and getting rid of silly height restrictions and parking requirements that increase housing costs.

      If you’re in favor of that, then I’ll sympathize with your “nanny state” concerns.

  2. I have minor involvement in the RPZ process in the Rainier Valley. Basically, the city usually requires a long data-gathering period to prove that a neighborhood needs an RPZ.

    For LINK, this requirement is being waived, as it’s fairly self-evident that a failure to introduce an RPZ will immediately turn station neighborhoods into park-and-rides.

    The bureaucratic process to establish RPZs is well underway all along the route.

  3. If the city was really forward thinking they would construct parking garages near the station areas to account for the trip generation that will be caused by the transit stations. Here’s the critical catch: these formal park and rides must be funded 100% with user fees, which usually comes out to $3 to $5 per day. That’s it. That’s about $0.50 per hour which is cheaper than a meter is right now.

    I am amazed repeatedly about how emotional and really irrational many people become over the issue of parking. Everyone insists that no one will ever pay for parking. Then they insist that parking fees will not deter people from driving. They are going to drive and park no matter what you do.

    Let me reiterate: free park and rides are a bad idea. Park and rides that cover their costs with user fees are a great idea. It’s pretty simple: the public will pay for the train, the user pays for the parking. Maximize access to the transit station, and still provide the appropriate incentives to walk or take a feeder bus rather than drive (you avoid the parking fee).

    These sort of well placed, well designed and properly priced parking garages also help spur TOD. The developer now doesn’t have to provide parking because access comes in a number of ways: the parking garage, feeder buses, walking, biking and the train. All the pieces have to fit together.

    To really take advantage of an integrated parking and transit system, you would extend the same exact rates to the street parking. That is, meter every block, and of course allow for any one who want it (not just residents) to purchase a monthly pass.

    A comprehensive, integrated transportation system is what we need rather than a patchwork of isolated ineffective policies.

  4. Maybe there are problems in other zones, but in Eastlake I never have a problem finding parking and I see parking enforcement around here all the time.

    With that said, the thing that I find a bit annoying is that some cars take up more space than others, yet all the permits are the same price. As an extreme example, there’s someone in Zone 8 that actually owns a limousine, which easily takes up 2 full parking spaces (and I’ve never even seen it move). I’m willing to bet they paid the same price I did for their permit. There used to be a second limo that parked in the area, but I haven’t seen it in quite a while.

    Anyway, if I’m reading the above correctly, it sounds like they’re moving toward renewing permits every year instead of every two years. If that’s the case, I at least hope they start up an online renewal process.

    The one-day guest permit is a stupid idea though. Say you have a significant other, but they don’t live with you. They can’t provide “proof of residence” so you’d be forced to buy guest permits anytime they came over. Dumb.

  5. I noticed with the headline on the website is: “Neighborhood parking problems could worsen”.

    But the article’s headline is: “City proposes limits on residential parking permits”

    Sensationalize much?

  6. Of course, we would hope that people living right around stations wouldn’t need cars anyways…

  7. Not sure I understand why there would be any need for a “4-per-household” limit on permits. I’m assuming the reason different neighborhoods get different limits is due to differing levels of parking pressure, but if there’s capacity for every household to have up to 4 permits, do you really need a neighborhood parking zone? Weird.

    As for the way parking zones are designated, I have to say they are pretty haphazard — I used to live in Capitol Hill, surrounded on all sides by a parking zone, but my block wasn’t part of the zone, so I couldn’t get a permit. I didn’t drive much (took the bus to work, walked to everything else), but had to move my car a lot to avoid getting tickets during the day.

  8. the RPZ permit fees are not high enough; they should be increased. Also, there should be an escalating fee structure: the second permit for each household should cost more than the first; the third more than the second. The RPZ program should raise revenue for SDOT that should be poured back into neighborhood transportation projects. The structure should provide incentive to households to keep their vehicles off street and not have as many old more polluting vehicles. The basic problem is that curb space is a common property resource that is under priced and over consumed.

  9. There’s an error in this post in the sentence “The residential “zone” system restricts on-street parking to four hours for those with a permit for that particular zone.” It should state “without permit” .

    The signs state you can park for two or four hours on that street without a RPZ permit. If you have an RPZ permit for that zone, you can leave your car parked all day without fear of a ticket.

    1. What happened to this map? It’s gone.

      I just got a ticket for being parked directly in front of my house with an RPZ sticker that the city just sold me last month for my street. But now there are no signs saying RPZ 1 on the street anymore and I want to see a map and why this has changed.

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