Columbia City Developers Believe They Need the Parking

After completing most of the necessary steps with the City of Seattle, construction for a new apartment building in Columbia City is set to begin sometime in December.

“We’re finishing up our building permit application, the project is phased, and we’ve already got a permit for demolition,” said Chris Weber of BAR Architects, one of the firms in charge of this project. “It’s been a fairly typical building permit and application process.”

The new Columbia City development at 4730 32nd Ave South will have six buildings consisting of 244 apartment units. The apartment building is also expected to have a roof terrace, lounge, and a fitness center. Weber said the target date for the completion of construction is set to summer 2015.

Columbia City Map

With 215 parking spaces, 126 on the surface and 89 underground, the amount of parking is a major issue for a neighborhood with ambitions of being transit-friendly.

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City to Enact Changes in Paid Street Parking

To improve accessibility of on-street paid parking in the city, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is looking to make minor adjustments to the prices, paid hours, and time limits for Fall 2014.

SDOT published the 2014 version of the annual paid parking occupancy report earlier this month, which showed the occupancy rate and the Fall 2014 changes of on-street paid parking areas in core and peripheral areas of Seattle neighborhoods. The data collection effort is part of the Performance-Based Parking Pricing program that was established by the city in 2010.

Current Parking Rates

“Doing this data collection allows us to know if adjustments are needed,” said SDOT’s senior transportation planner Jonathan Williams.

The report explained that SDOT makes these adjustments in rates, time limits and paid hours as means of helping customers find parking within walking distance of their destinations and to increase access to businesses by ensuring turnover of parked cars.

SDOT bases its assessments of occupancy on whether or not the parking areas were between 70 to 85 percent of capacity. Areas that were five percent over or under the range were included in the watch list, meaning the adjustments will wait for at least another year. Occupancy rates below 65 percent mean SDOT will consider lowering rates, splitting the zone into subareas, and increasing time limits, while rates above 90 percent will lead to decreases in time limits and increases in prices.

“It’s a constantly evolving process,” Williams said. “We’ll adjust in 50 cent increments, which is not a really big change. We’re going to count these [occupancy data] every year, and if it’s above or below target, we’ll make these changes.”

Williams added that in addition to changing the prices, hours, and time limits, SDOT in the past has encouraged drivers to seek parking in the city’s edges or “periphery” areas, rather than the neighborhood’s core areas. He recalled an example from 2010 when the entire Ballard neighborhood was struggling to reach its target zone with 61 percent occupancy rate, despite having extremely full spaces in the area’s busiest blocks.

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New Survey Shows Increased Satisfaction with RapidRide C & D Lines

Metro’s General Manager Kevin Desmond was pleased with the results produced by RapidRide C and D lines, noting that about 83 percent of the riders surveyed in those routes were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

“I’m proud of the ‘can-do’ Metro team that pulled it off,” Desmond said in a statement. “And very pleased that we brought a new level of transit service to the people we serve.”

The rider satisfaction numbers came via a new survey from Northwest Research Group, which found that about seven out of ten C Line riders (71%) said that the overall experience on RapidRide is better than other Metro services. In addition, almost three out of four D Line riders (72%) agreed that the overall experience on RapidRide D Line is better than the previous route. Riders from both lines were most positive about the frequency of service, service hours during the day, not having to rely on a pre-determined schedule, and the shelters and features at bus stops.  The survey does show that Metro has room to improve on other dimensions, however, such as rider safety perceptions, capacity, and ease of transferring.

Full report details after the jump.

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Sound Transit Selects BNSF site in Bellevue as Preferred Alternative for Rail Yard

The Sound Transit Board voted yesterday to recommend building a 25-acre rail yard in Bellevue near the Spring District real estate development in the Bel-Red Corridor.

Sound Transit looks to triple their current light rail fleet from 62 to 180, as well as expanding their light-rail system from 16 to 50 miles. Because of the projected growth, a new maintenance facility is needed to go along with the current facility in the Sodo neighborhood, as the latter is expected to reach its full capacity by 2020.

The BNSF site in Bellevue’s Bel-Red corridor west of 120th Avenue NE was among the four sites that Sound Transit narrowed down in the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed in May. The other sites considered were in Lynnwood and two other Bellevue locations, with one being adjacent to the SR-520 and the other being a modified version of the BNSF site. Detailed version of the site map for the original BNSF site can be found here.

Courtesy of Sound Transit
Courtesy of Sound Transit

The EIS considered a number of factors to measure the impact that would be left by the new light rail operations base including: noise and vibration; land use; visual and economic impacts; social, neighborhood, and social service impacts; and, impacts to parklands, open spaces, and other natural resources.

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Debate Over the Future Kent-Des Moines Station Site

Federal Way Extension Page 1As part of the Federal Way Link extension, Sound Transit drafted four alternatives that would connect the Angle Lake Station, which is expected to open in 2016 on Pacific Highway (SR-99), to the currently unfunded Federal Way Transit Center. The Kent-Des Moines station, expected to open by 2023, is the first stop after Angle Lake. Voters approved S. 272nd Station in 2008, but there is not yet funding to get there. Funding to construct the all the way to Federal Way could come from grants or a future ballot measure. The alternatives follow I-5, stay on SR99, or switch between them with Kent/Des Moines as a transition station. ST is also considering additional stations on SR99 at S. 216th St. and S. 260th St.

ST has as many as eight potential locations for the Kent-Des Moines station. Project Team Manager Sandra Fann said that the details of these locations are not yet officially decided, but all of them are expected to be accessible to the Highline campus. Some of the options include having the station on the east side of campus; west east, or in the median of the Pacific Highway South (SR-99); west or east of 30th Ave South, or along Interstate 5. “These locations are based on a combination of ideas brought up by cities along the way and logic from an alignment perspective,” Fann said.

City officials from Kent, having already massively upzoned their share of the station area, prefers the station to align with SR-99 while the City of Des Moines would rather have the light rail go on I-5.

Kent City Councilmember Dennis Higgins said he prefers an alternative that serves the people and neighborhoods by the station. “Generally speaking I think a routing down the freeway median doesn’t meet that criteria,” Higgins said. “I know such routes are more disruptive during construction but in the long run they serve the public much better.” Continue reading “Debate Over the Future Kent-Des Moines Station Site”