Sen. Pramila Jayapal
Sen. Pramila Jayapal

Senate Bill 5343, the bill to make Sound Transit pay for parking permits for residents in Restricted Parking Zones around Sound Transit infrastructure, got an extreme makeover in the Senate Transportation Committee Monday afternoon. Watch 1:17:30 into the TVW video.

A substitute version of the bill, formally offered by Committee Chair Curtis King (R – Yakima), but written largely by committee member Sen. Pramila Jayapal (D – Seattle), changed the whole tenor of the bill:

AN ACT Relating to parking impact mitigation from regional transit authority facility construction; adding a new section to chapter 81.112 RCW; and adding a new section to chapter 35.21 RCW.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 81.112 RCW to read as follows:

When an authority constructs or operates a transportation facility, it must consider the potential impacts of that facility on parking availability for residents nearby and develop mitigation strategies.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 35.21 RCW to read as follows:

A city with a population of more than six hundred thousand that has implemented restricted parking zones in residential areas as a direct result of the parking impacts of a regional transit authority facility must:
(1) Honor all requests for low-income restricted parking zone permits;
(2) Charge no more than five dollars per year for low-income restricted parking zone permits; and
(3) Allow restricted parking zone permits for registered nonprofits located within a restricted parking zone.

Since the City already has a program allowing low-income RPZ residents to pay just $10 for a 2-year permit, the effect of the bill is to make Seattle’s low-income RPZ permit program permanent.

Sen. Marko Liias (D – Mukilteo), who led opposition to a bill identical to SB 5343 last year (SB 6489), gave his enthusiastic support for the committee substitute bill, and thanked Sen. Jayapal for her work in “massaging” the bill into something he could support.

House Bill 1751, the companion to SB 5343, is being heard in the House Transportation Committee Thursday at 3:30 pm. I have a call out to the bill sponsor, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, to see if she is considering adopting language similar to what the senate committee passed Monday.

34 Replies to “Sen. Jayapal Turns SB 5343 into Social Justice Bill”

    1. …how is this worse? The bill as it was before took money from a transit agency to subsidize car ownership directly. Now it doesn’t.

      1. My interpretation was that these are simply “social justice” additions to the existing bill and that the “who pays” clause is still intact — is that no longer correct?

        And would this also apply to Metro bus routes where people also drive, park and ride? If so, does that imply that the county will now have to pay for Seattle city residents to park on Seattle city streets? If so I’d find that to be hilarious.

      2. No the quoted text is now the entire bill. There are other, new, issues about this bill that are confusing and concerning but the ST paying for permits part is gone.

      3. Is the expectation that once ST identifies “parking impacts” that they will be expected to mitigate them somehow under existing law? Because otherwise it doesn’t really make much sense to do this.

      4. The new version shifts it from being a reimbursement from ST, to not allowing the City to collect more than $5 for an RPZ sticker for low-income residents.

    2. Seattle’s politicians are often stuck in the ’60’s when it comes to “social justice” It appears that the same crowd is stuck in the 60’s when it comes to transportation policy as well.

      In other words, the “right to drive” and the “right to park” for free.

      They like to throw a bone to transit on occasion, but our legislators are literally PAID to drive (they actually make more money the more miles they drive) and are reimbursed to park their cars just about everywhere. I imagine the one thing the state wouldn’t reimburse for them is parking in front of their own houses. Hence, this legislation

  1. “A city with a population of more than six hundred thousand that has implemented restricted parking zones in residential areas as a direct result of the parking impacts of a regional transit authority facility must:
    (1) Honor all requests for low-income restricted parking zone permits;
    (2) Charge no more than five dollars per year for low-income restricted parking zone permits; ”

    As I read this, it sounds like there will be an infinite supply of low-income permits and there will be no qualification process for those permits.

    1. Sounds like I should go get a dozen for myself if this thing passes. I live over on the eastside, and I make well above median income, but I can still imagine maybe someday parking in the Rainier Valley.

      1. All RPZ permits require an in person visit to a neighborhood service center, and showing a bill to validate residence in the RPZ area.

        On Beacon Hill, very few people bother.

      2. That makes a lot of sense as a policy. However, that’s not what the bill says: it would require Seattle to “Honor all requests for low-income restricted parking zone permits,” whether or not they’re made in person, and whether or not they’re accompanied by a claim of residency (let alone proof to back up the claim.)

      3. William,

        The implementation of legislation is the responsibility of the executive branch. In the absence of specific language defining “low-income” existing State statutes will be extended to the new law. How people apply for such permits is entirely the responsibility of the executive function of the specific city (e.g “Seattle”).

  2. I still wouldn’t change the law, but if they proceed they need to change the “honor all requests” language. The term honor is defined as “to accept as valid and conform to the request or demands of (an official document).” The placement of the term makes it seem like there will be no process to evaluating the merits of any actual request.

    1. I think I’ll go quit my job, move next to a train station, and buy a car, just so I can take advantage of the dirt-cheap parking rate. Oh, wait, I already would only have to pay $10 to park a car at my apartment, and I still haven’t gotten around to buying a car to take advantage of that cheap parking spot.

    2. Really? If Seattle truly must “honor all requests for low-income restricted parking zone permits,” then it doesn’t shackle people to anything. If they get a $70K/year job and move away to Redmond, then Seattle must still honor their request for a permit!

      1. … then Seattle must still honor their requests for permits, without limit!

        I think that is what you meant to say.

    3. Sam, maybe it’s because transportation at the time of the Civil War included only horses, carriages, and the occasional steam locomotive and some horse-drawn steetcars- but I can’t find any reference to free parking spaces a substitute for whips and chains.

      “No more free parking space for me,
      Many thousand gone….”

      Only big holes ripped in song books.Talk about disrespect for heroes! Evidently free-parking-space liberation had to be doggedly won by a century and a half of struggle against streetcar companies.

      And also brave motorists who had their Model T’s demolished by streetcars because junk-yard owning politicians refused to provide metered parking, forcing them to bravely leave their cars a lane from the curb.

      So find a hat, a sword, and a horse, Sam. A whole cloud of pigeons- like at either average Chicago ‘El station or Tukwila International-is running out of statues commemorating you.

      Mark

  3. It’s funny how this law basically turns into a recognition that ST and Seattle were totally fair to the people involved. “Must consider the potential impacts … on parking availability for residents”? Yes, they put in an RPZ. $5 per year? Looks like the current price.

    The “city with a population of more than six hundred thousand” bit is ridiculous. They’re literally writing Seattle law, and the bill should be rejected on that point alone.

    The way the bill sounds to me, this doesn’t apply to pre-existing RPZs, and it wouldn’t apply to any area where the city decided to set prices or time restrictions street parking for demand management purposes.

    1. Just a point of clarification: It was residents who petitioned to create the RPZs, and the City that approved them. ST’s involvement was merely advisory.

      Somewhere along the way, the City decided it would get out of the business of subsidizing the administration of RPZs, so it started raising the permit fees enough to cover the administrative costs. At $32.50 a year for the non-low-income version, that’s still a steal, as paid parking goes. Some residents said they couldn’t afford that rate. So, the City created the low-income rate.

      1. Of course — ST wouldn’t have the authority to actually institute an RPZ on streets it doesn’t own! But an advisory role is all it takes to “consider” the impacts. Make a note in some impacts analysis report, advise the city.

      2. $32.50 per year. A bit less than $3 per month. Damn it; anybody who can afford to pay for, insure, maintain and fuel an automobile can pay $3/month.

        Auto drivers are as a class the most [ad hom]

    2. That’s fairly standard language. The legislature can only make laws of general application; it can’t spell out one city or another. But it often will refer to Seattle this way. If Goldendale ever got over 600,000 residents, the law would apply to them. Parenthetically, Michigan used to do this for Detroit and would refer to a city of over a million residents, which Detroit hasn’t had for a long time by now.

      1. A law that refers to Seattle in that way is plainly not of general application. Any judge thinking clearly would strike it down. There’s no way to justify applying this law in one city but not another. Perhaps there’s some threshold of city population below which the city can’t be expected to subsidize RPZ administration, but it’s much lower than 600,000.

        If Senator Jayapal wants to write Seattle law she should run for one of the council seats coming open soon.

      2. William, this is another example of “Seattle-specific” language (though Spokane and Tacoma are creeping up there). RCW 27.12.360 says that “[a]ny city or town with a population of three hundred thousand or less at the time of annexation may become a part of any rural county library district…” The King County Library System is a rural county library district (its old name was the King County Rural Library District). That’s why Renton could join in 2010 but Seattle can’t.

  4. And employees of “registered nonprofits” located within the RPZ get to buy parking stickers? Why not the same for any other business located in the zone?

  5. Many commuters who drive from home but finish their commutes by taking the Metro bus downtown (and, I presume, the soon? to be put-in-service streetcar) take advantage of “free” parking on streets near Metro routes on Yesler, Cherry, Union, Madison, etc. Will it be required of Metro and Sound Transit to develop mitigation strategies for the parking spaces those commuters? (My lawyer thinks “facility” and “impacts” are sufficiently broad to support that interpretation.

  6. http://www.cottagecompany.com/Communities/Greenwood-Avenue-Cottages.aspx

    Residential arrangement that offers extremely compact single-family homes in communities- where, among other adjustments, the complex has a single multi-vehicle garage on the edge of the property.

    Above link has pics of the one just east across Greenwood from Shoreline Community College. Metro Route 5, or Rapid Ride E and couple block walk.

    Have been told zoning forbids such things in Seattle-don’t know facts. But in return for lane-confiscating restricted zones, transit should insist on repealing any such ban on Cottage Communities.

    Mark Dublin

  7. I must say: I have had much better luck getting city staff to respond than I’ve had with legislators. My one response to my emails so far came from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who isn’t even my senator.

    I’m more comfortable with the city’s professional staff addressing the issues around limited parking than I am with part-time legislators trying to do it, since history has shown the city’s professional staff have done a really good job of it.

    More spaces are available now than when the stations first started, and the City has a well-defined low-income program that seems to be working in every way except that not everyone who wants it has heard about it. A mass postcard mailing would be the cheap way to put this issue to bed.

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