Livable Phinney has been successful so far in winning some improvements to the Phinney Flats project and contesting the estimated 40+ additional cars that would be parking on our neighborhood streets. The favorable parking ruling was largely based on proving that the #5 bus did not meet the City’s definition of “Frequent Transit Service” based on 15 minute headways. The City’s parking exemption for Development in Urban Villages is based on the unsubstantiated belief that residents living close to frequent transit won’t have or need cars.
Now it looks like the City’s response to our successful parking exemption appeal will be to simply weaken the definition of Frequent Transit Service to the “Scheduled” arrival times rather than the actual bus headway performance. Since city buses often perform poorly to schedule, this change will make it much easier for developers to get an exemption from the parking requirement, which for many of them is only about profit. If the City Council pushes through this change, Phinney Flats will presumably be in compliance with the “new” definition and be able to move ahead with 55 units and NO PARKING! The resulting loss of Urban Village residential and commercial parking will mushroom throughout the entire City. The fake assumption that tenants there won’t have cars would be exploited not only in our neighborhood, but throughout the entire city.
Some members of the City Council continue to ignore the obvious fact that living in proximity to frequent transit (downtown and back) has little to do with vehicle ownership. We all know that many of us need cars for a multitude of reasons, such as ferrying our children for east-west city travel, recreation trips, weekly shopping trips, etc. Yet the City and some Council members continue to use this fallacy to push their agenda that creates parking mayhem in our neighborhoods. Car2Go and Uber don’t reduce car miles and still require parking spaces.
The Council is poised to take up the series of parking code amendments, including the redefinition of Frequent Transit Service. The legislation was briefed on January 3rd and will come before the PLUZ committee on January 17th.
People concerned with inadequate parking and the disconnect between transit use and car parking are urged to write to all PLUZ Committee members. A few suggested points to make:
- Not providing parking does not result in cheaper rents
- The amount of parking any development provides must be related to the
demand it will generate – not proximity to a bus stop.
- Overflow parking from an Urban Village into the surrounding
neighborhood, and the ability of that neighborhood to absorb additional
Parked vehicles, needs to be considered. Estimated parking demand over
and above a neighborhood’s capacity should trigger required mitigation.
- Buildings that do not provide adequate parking for the number of residents
that will predictably have cars should be excluded from receiving Restricted
Parking Zone (RPZ) Permits.
- A means to enforce a “No Car Lease” can be developed for buildings or
apartments that have units reserved for tenants without vehicles. A “No
Car Lease” is entirely consistent with the city’s rationale that people
without cars “self- select” to live in buildings with no parking on site.
Livable Phinney submitted a letter when the proposed parking code changes were first announced last fall. You can see a copy on our website, posted on September 30th. CLICK HERE.
PLUZ Committee website: http://www.Seattle.gov/council/committees/planning
PLUZ Committee Members:
- Rob Johnson’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mike O’Brien’s email: email@example.com
- Lisa Herbold’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lorena Gonzales (alternate) email: email@example.com
Thank you! Please make time to write to the committee members!
NOTE: A public hearing will be scheduled in February. Check for the
announcement of this date at: http://www/.seattle.gov/council/calendar