Parking showdown! Attend April 2 City Council meeting!

 Join us at April 2 City Council meeting to counter aggressive anti-parking advocates!

The April 2nd City Council meeting is shaping up to be a showdown over neighborhood parking. (See the call to action below from 350Seattle.)

Please show up to counter this “opposition” who are mistaken in so many ways about the effect of the proposed parking code legislation, which is NOT the environmental band-aid they claim it is.

Monday, April 2 at 2:00 PM, City Council Chambers… Get there early to sign up for public comment period at the top of the hour

Talking Points

  • ADOPT Council member Herbold’s proposal to restore SEPA authority for parking mitigation in frequent transit areas. See details below for vehicle ownership facts by Council District and the need for relief from overcrowded street parking with new development.
  • The number of cars in Seattle increases with our growth; people are bringing cars and buying cars. They are also taking transit. They are not mutually exclusive realities.
  • If streets are for people, then put the cars BENEATH BUILDINGS! More density means more cars so store them underground.
  • Less on site parking means MORE DRIVING AROUND LOOKING FOR PARKING
  • Most apartment unbundle parking now, making it mandatory is only LINING THE POCKETBOOKS OF DEVELOPER WHO WILL CHARGE TENANT MORE THAN THEY ARE PAYING NOW and further burdening landlords with more regulations.
  • Less on site parking does not lower rents… have Seattle rents gone down since 2010 when the FTS zero and reduced parking code went into effect? NO BECAUSE MARKET DEMAND DICTATES RENT, NOT PARKING..
  • Flexible use parking is ok but will not work if new buildings do not provide ANY parking to flex!
  • Remember Parked Cars are Not Polluting!
  • GO ahead with the bike parking code changes. We have no argument with that.


SUPPORT LISA HERBOLD’S SEPA AMENDMENT TO THE LEGISLATION. It’s a sensible way of allowing reasonable mitigation depending on individual location circumstances to provide safer streets, protect local businesses and give newcomers a safe place to park their cars.


District 1

  • In the southwest end of the district there are three census tracks that have car ownership rates of 80%, 88%, and 95% yet due to the C line and the 21 line, the proposed legislation will be reducing parking by 50% in certain areas. On Avalon there is a car ownership rate of 87%, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in certain areas.
  • In the Morgan Junction urban village they have a car ownership rate of 83%, but no parking minimum. (Argument for including SEPA mitigation)

District 2

  • In Beacon Hill there’s a census block with 87% car ownership, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in certain areas.
  • In the majority of Columbia City urban village there’s a car ownership rate of 84%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).
  • In the North Beacon Bill urban village there’s a car ownership rate of 84%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).

District 3

  • On the eastside of the 23rd & Union-Jackson urban village there is a car ownership rate of 82%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).
  • Just southeast of the 23rd & Union-Jackson urban village there is a car ownership rate of 80%, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in certain areas.
  • Just east of the Madison-Miller urban village there’s a car ownership rate of 89%, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in most areas.

District 4

  • In the north part of Laurelhurst there’s car ownership rates of 94% and 98%, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in certain areas.

District 5

  • Just south of the Lake City Urban Village, along Lake City Way, there are car ownership rates of 81%, 85%, and 88%, but the proposed legislation will reduce parking by 50% in certain areas.
  • In the South end of the Aurora-Licton Springs urban village there is a car ownership rate of 90%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).

District 6

  • In the north end of the Greenwood-Phinney Ridge urban village there is a car ownership rate of 86%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).
  • In south end of the Crown Hill urban village there is a car ownership rate of 95%, but no parking minimum in the urban village (argument for including SEPA mitigation) and a 50% reduction outside of the urban village.
  • In north end of the Ballard urban village there is a car ownership rate of 85%, but no parking minimum in the urban village (argument for including SEPA mitigation) and a 50% reduction outside of the urban village.
  • In the Freemont urban village there are car ownership rates of 83% and 92%, but no parking minimum in the urban village (argument for including SEPA mitigation) and a 50% reduction outside of the urban village.
  • In the Wallingford urban village there is a car ownership rate of 79%, but no parking minimum (argument for including SEPA mitigation).

District 7

  • In Queen Anne there are care ownership rates ranging from 92% to 69%, with an average of 83%; however in the Upper Queen Anne urban village there are no parking minimums (argument for including SEPA mitigation) and a 50% reduction outside of the urban village.


–Irene Wall for Livable Phinney

Please spread the word!

See below for the 350Seattle message with the false promise of what this legislation can do. It will do NONE OF THESE THINGS!

Imagine legislation that could lower rents, relieve congestion, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution, and make bicycling easier. Changing city rules for off-street parking in new buildings can do all these things!

Come support prioritizing streets for mobility (transit, bikes, and pedestrians) rather than for parking: at City Council on Monday, April 2nd at 2pm. Whether by holding a sign or giving testimony, you can help us make it clear to the Council that Seattle must begin taking steps to build the healthy, affordable, and sustainable city we all deserve.

The legislation under consideration will:

  • Require landlords to unbundle the cost of parking from rent, so those without cars don’t have to pay for spaces.
  • Reduce how much parking a developer must construct in those parts of the city served by frequent transit, and therefore leave more room for housing and other uses.
  • Allow for off-site rental of underused private parking, which will also reduce the amount of new parking construction.
  • Improve bike storage and bike parking options.
  • Set stronger, more uniform standards for bicycle parking.

Curious to learn more about why we shouldn’t be seduced by easy parking? Watch this video.

Fixing the systems causing climate change will mean adaptations large and small to what our cities look like. De-prioritizing private cars is an important step in making Seattle healthier, safer, and easier to get around in. Please join us Monday!

In solidarity,

Andrew Kidde & the Transportation team

PLUZ Committee to vote on parking bill, Wednesday, March 21. Email your Councilmembers now!

Urgent Notice!

Council Bill (CB) 119173 will be presented before the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (PLUZ) committee of the City Council on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. If the committee approves, the entire Council may vote as early as Monday March 26. If the Council decides to vote this legislation in, it would only have to be signed by the Mayor to become our new way of having much less parking – both on our residential streets and along any business district close to so-called “frequent transit.”

NOW is the time to make our voices heard and get in touch with our representatives – both the City Council and Mayor’s Office.

Livable Phinney has reviewed CB 119173 carefully. If approved “as is”, this bill would allow Phinney Flats to go ahead without any on-site parking, and create a negative parking impact throughout much of Seattle. Below is a summary of our major concerns about CB 119173:

  1. Frequent Transit Associated with Parking. This bill continues to associate parking and car ownership (and the need to park) with frequent transit. That association is fantasy! Just because folks who do not have a car might choose to live near a bus route, it’s in error to conclude that those of us who live near that route don’t need a safe place to park cars. There is absolutely NO study that justifies elimination of parking to the extent that nearby streets would be way over capacity or local businesses will lose customers. This is legislation is based on ideology, not independent study or a practical, rational approach.
  2. One Size Fits All Policy. CB 119173 is not neighborhood specific but instead blankets the entire City. Parking need, and capacity for less parking, varies considerably by area/neighborhood. What might be reasonable for Capitol Hill might not be so for Greenwood or West Seattle.
  3. Redefining Frequent Transit. We were able to challenge the permit for Phinney Flats (a high density project with no parking) by proving the #5 bus didn’t meet the definition of frequent transit. Now, the Council PLUZ Committee wants to redefine “Frequent Transit” to the scheduled, hypothetical frequency of service, to justify proliferation of the parking exemption for developers along nearly all of the in-city King County bus routes.
  4. Restore SEPA Authority. The Council should restore SEPA authority to require mitigation for parking impacts when on-street use of parking capacity reaches 85%. This has been the practice citywide, but is currently prohibited in urban villages with “frequent transit within ¼ mile.” This exemption encourages developers to build apartments with many tiny units like Phinney Flats with no on-site parking, even when surrounding streets lack capacity for more cars.
  5. No Parking Required for Low Income Housing. CB 119173 seems to discriminate against low income residents by assuming they don’t need or have cars. How fair is that?
  6. Is CB 119173 “Age Friendly”? We think not – especially for residents currently in single-family homes who desire to keep their homes that are now affordable and/or age in place – and continue to drive. Unless one only goes downtown, transit simply doesn’t go where residents need to. Some areas (like Phinney Ridge) have steep grades that would preclude walking 1/4 mile to one’s car. Seattle has inclement weather. Making it difficult to find parking in areas that are already at capacity is not age friendly. Seattle has committed to being an Age Friendly City (
  7. Will Providing Less Parking Result in More Affordable Housing? According to the City, this is a major justification to CB 119173 (see FAQs at this link). Once again, the City Council is jumping to a conclusion without facts to back up the theory. There is no accepted study, including King County Right Sized Parking Study, that shows that reducing the parking supply results in more affordable housing. What reduced parking does lead to is an undersupply of parking – especially in areas already at full capacity. The only “gain” from undersupplying parking is profits for developers. The often quoted $50,000 per parking space in residential construction is at the very highest end of the spectrum – $25,000 is the more commonly agreed upon estimate. If properly priced, such parking will pay for itself over time just as apartments do. The connection between undersupply of parking and affordable housing is simply not there.
  8. Public Use of Accessory Parking. CB 1119173 proposes to mandate public access to unused parking – presumably in private parking areas. It is incredibly unclear how the City proposes to do this without legal challenges by those who own, use and pay for secure private parking.


The Council needs to hear that creating an undersupply of parking in new buildings is NOT going to result in more affordable housing. Ask the council to withdraw any code changes associated with Frequent Transit until we can work out a right-size parking approach. Rather than changing the definition of “Frequent Transit,” they should focus on improving transit performance and rider appeal so more people will reasonably use transit for more trips (and leave their car parked safety at home!)

E-mail address for City Council Members:

The Mayor’s email address is:

Thank you!

–Livable Phinney

We’re Still Fighting!

We recently received notice from SDCI that they have finally arrived at a “Supplement to Interpretation No. 17-002.” This is in response to the Hearing Examiner’s ruling in our appeal last year.

In a nutshell, the City would allow Phinney Flats to proceed with construction of 55+ units and NO PARKING. In the supplemental interpretation, the city again argues that the #5 bus meets the current definition of frequent transit based on the printed schedule and that using the schedule is the only way to measure frequent transit. We disagree because we know that actual performance, regularity and crowding conditions should be used, not just a schedule, to define frequent transit. We continue to challenge the connection between bus frequency and car usage, but that is a matter for the City Council and outside the legal boundaries of this interpretation.

However, the supplemental interpretation can be appealed, and we have done that. Click here to read the appeal we have filed, in PDF format.

We simply don’t think this proposed re-definition is in the best interest of our neighborhood or what our supporters wanted as they have thus far generously donated to fight this decision. Though we have already gained a few concessions from the developer, Johnson and Carr (2nd floor setback, removal of the north clerestory, etc.), the primary neighborhood-wide concern was the addition of potentially 40+ more cars to park on our already overcrowded streets.

We will once again incur legal fees to present our case. Please help spread the word. We need to fight this together – as a neighborhood that cares about responsible growth – not a reduction in livability!


Donations can be made through the Pay Pal button below. Checks can also be deposited directly to our account at the Home Street Bank, 73rd & Greenwood. We thank you very much for your continued support.

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Only two more meetings of the PLUZ Committee (3/7 and 3/21) before final Council vote.
Livable Phinney is also addressing the changes to parking policy being considered by the City Council. We attended a public comment session 2/21 at City Hall and spoke up for more sensible parking policy. Though we were outnumbered by a large group of organized folks representing the pro-HALA agenda, we hope our voices were heard. Please refer to the previous Update for a summary of that proposed change to city-wide parking policy. A video of that meeting and comments given can be found on the Seattle Channel:

The Council needs to hear that providing enough parking in new buildings is NOT PROMOTING POLLUTION. Mainstream environmental groups have dominated the conversation and are even promoting the concept that there should be NO CAR PARKING in any buildings within ½ mile of a “frequent transit stop.” The would double the distance from the current code which is bad enough. This would excuse developers from providing any parking virtually everywhere new dense development will occur.


Ask the council to withdraw any code changes associated with Frequent Transit until we can work out a right-size parking approach. Instead they should focus on improving transit performance so more people can reasonably use transit for more trips (and leave their car parked safety at home!)

Please help spread the word and Thank you all,
Livable Phinney

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All donations go only to paying legal expenses and are completely confidential. Donations are not tax-deductible. If you have a question, please contact us at

Time to Call City Hall About Parking Code Changes

The City Council will soon be voting on major changes to the land use code concerning parking in new and existing buildings. The purpose of these changes is to make parking cars more difficult and more expensive everywhere.  The theory is that people will give up their cars in favor of bus rides, bike rides and walking.  The other theory is that housing without parking is less expensive to build and those savings will “trickle down” to renters.

But there is no guarantee that letting developers produce zero on-site parking will achieve either of these goals.  We know that our streets are already full, and on-site parking is needed even when people take the bus to work. Rents have escalated steadily in the face of massive housing development and reduced parking requirements since 2010. No trickle down.

These code changes persist in connecting parking requirements to frequent transit. There is no justification for this. The code changes are driven by wishful thinking and getting ahead of reality and well ahead of King County Metro’s ability to provide sufficient transit service.  They impose a “one size fits all” approach which ignores the differences in topography, parking availability, and transit service in different neighborhoods.

You can read about the proposed changes at the city web site below:

Public Hearing February 21st at City Hall in the Morning – 9:30 AM

Here’s the Notice:


We hope to have a large turnout at the February 21st public hearing of Livable Phinney supporters and everyone who want reasonable parking policy in Seattle. The PLUZ Committee is recommending expansion of the “No Parking Required” policy and a change to the definition of Frequent Transit that will allow Phinney Flats and many other projects to proceed without providing parking – even outside of Urban Villages!

Plan to attend that public hearing and/or send in written comments to members of the PLUZ Council Committee ASAP.  The PLUZ will have more discussion about the proposal at their February 7th meeting where they will discuss changes to the definition of Frequent Transit Service. PLUZ member email addresses are below.


Livable Phinney has been following this proposal and our concerns are summarized below.

Problems with the current proposal:

  • Changes persist in connecting parking requirements to proximity to bus stops with “frequent transit,” People living close to frequent transit still have cars and need a safe place to park them even if they take the bus to work.
  • Redefines transit headway time to 18 minutes without any justification. Who considers an 18-minute wait for a bus to be “frequent transit” when Metro defines frequent transit as 15 minutes or less?  The proposed changes do nothing to increase the reliability or relieve crowding on Metro buses.
  • Using the new 18-minute headway allows expansion of the parking exemption into areas beyond Urban Villages (anywhere within 1/4 mile of ‘so called’ frequent transit).
  • Ignores the difference between bus schedules and actual bus arrivals in defining “frequent transit.” This, in effect, ignores the Hearing Examiner’s Decision in the Livable Phinney case which required SDCI to consider the differences between transit scheduled headways and actual headways.
  • Imposes new maximum limits on parking spaces in multi-family buildings – in effect eliminating otherwise available parking for tenants.
  • Mandates unbundling of parking spaces from rent in multi-family dwellings. This will push more cars onto surrounding streets and increase the cost of rent for current tenants. Lower income renters are most likely to suffer under this rule.
  • Removes the parking requirement for affordable housing units (don’t those tenants need or have cars too?)  Most affordable housing is subsidized by local, state and federal sources so Seattle tax payers are already absorbing much of the cost of these developments.

Amendments Needed For Reasonable Parking Requirements

#1. Restore authority under SEPA (environmental policies and code) to mitigate for parking impacts in new development in “frequent transit” areas. Today even when parking impacts are considered “significant” and street parking is already over capacity, SDCI can do nothing to mitigate the problem because the city intentionally reduced its own authority under SEPA.

#2. Institute a new Car-Free-Lease requirement.  Developers who don’t produce enough parking to meet demand should be required to have terms in their leases disallowing tenants from parking cars in overcrowded areas (more than 85% on street parking utilized). In return, these tenants should get a discount on their rent or a transit pass. This will acknowledge that the money developers save by not building parking is shared with tenants not getting parking.  Trickle down at work.

#3. Better definition of frequent transit is needed.  Maintain the 15-minute headway definition and require that compliance is based on recent bus performance, not merely printed schedules or maps generated by SDCI every two years as proposed. The data on transit performance is readily available. Enhance the definition of frequent transit to include crowding conditions.  People will not give up their cars when buses are too often late and very often overcrowded.  Metro produces an annual report on bus performance. That report could be used to determine if frequent transit criteria is met on any bus route at no additional administrative cost to the city or developers.

#4 Make the Decisions on Parking Requirements Data-Driven.  We live in the city of big data – we should use real data on transit performance, parking utilization, capacity and demand by neighborhood and type of development. The city is making decisions blindly or based on a few older studies, or done by self-interested entities.  The King County Right Size Parking Calculator needs to be updated to reflect conditions in Seattle in zero parking buildings.


  1. Submit written comments to the City Council.
  2. Attend the public hearing February 21st at the City Council Chambers at 9:30 am in City Hall (600 4th Ave. 2nd floor – entry at 5th and Cherry)
  3. Spread the word!

Thank you for keeping Seattle Livable for Everyone

Councilmember addresses:

Please write to City Council about new parking rules

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:

PLUZ Committee Members:

Thank you! Please make time to write to the committee members!

Livable Phinney

NOTE: A public hearing will be scheduled in February. Check for the
announcement of this date at: http://www/

Defend Our Victory!

Neighbors and Livable Phinney supporters:

There seems to be a lot going on now regarding Phinney Flats and our Livable Phinney Appeal. We don’t have all the information and answers yet, but can pass on the following:

You may have seen the recent front-page article in the Seattle TimesResidents fight Seattle rules allowing apartment developers to forgo parking. Though it leaves out some potentially critical information, we feel it is generally well presented and balanced. What you may find new in that article, and perhaps a bit surprising, is the indication from Johnson and Carr that they have “dropped” their challenge in Superior Court. We recently became aware that a “motion to dismiss” was submitted recently, but we still haven’t received any official word as to the rationale for that action. Such may or may not be forthcoming?

We’ve also heard that SDCI is in the process of putting together “a supplemental interpretation on the FTS issue”. This would be their answer to complying with the Hearing Examiner’s Decision. We suspect SDCI will either try to show the #5 actually arrives on schedule – or change the definition of FTS to the schedule times rather than actual bus arrivals. Obviously, this does nothing to address the fact that folks moving into the Urban Village will bring cars – that will be parked on the streets in the adjoining neighborhood – even if that neighborhood is over parking capacity now.

Please join us and let our City Council and new Mayor know that this situation is not sustainable or conducive to the livability of our neighborhood. We still have and use cars, EVEN IF WE USE THE BUS!

If you look at the Project web site “Documents” – at this link – you will find the “MUP Cycle 4 Correction Response” dated 10/27/17. That response notes the developer’s compliance with many of our appeal Decision results (upper floor setbacks, clerestory removal, removal of rooftop features, etc.). However there is no indication of parking being added or the matter of frequent transit compliance. We anticipate the City will find a way to work around that matter (see above) – either by new data showing the #5 now meets the Frequent Transit definition, or simply by changing the definition of Frequent Transit!

Regardless of how often the bus arrives, residents will still have cars. The city’s own report on new parking rules admits that at least 30-35% of residents in buildings with zero parking will have cars. Where will they park when the streets are already at capacity? Local businesses will suffer if there is no parking in the vicinity for their customers.

New Parking Regulations Coming

The city has issued the proposals to change several rules related to parking, including redefining Frequent Transit Service and extending the areas where developers can avoid putting in any parking or put in less than the code would otherwise require. See the proposed changes at the link below. The Council will want to rush these changes through so we need to rally support for changes to make parking rules more site-specific and realistic. Watch our site for more information on public hearings or simply write letters starting now to the Council, in particular to Rob Johnson and Mike O’Brien. Addresses for all City Council Members is provided below.

Web site for proposed City Code rules and changes regarding Parking is:

City Council Email Addresses: (note: Tim Burgess is now Acting Mayor until Jenny Durkin is sworn in):

Needless to say, the battle over Phinney Flats is not over yet. We still have legal bills to pay. We hope to engage the City further in this matter of “No Parking Required” for new Development on Phinney Ridge.

Thank you for your ongoing and generous support! Donations can be made directly at the Greenwood Home Street Bank (73rd & Greenwood Ave N) or via credit card:

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Livable Phinney’s comment on proposed Parking Code changes

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) recently published proposed changes to Municipal code that will dramatically affect parking throughout the City. These proposed changes can be found here:

SDCI also released an environmental (SEPA) analysis of the draft legislation, and requested public comments. Livable Phinney felt compelled to prepare and submit such a comment/response.

CLICK HERE to download Livable’s Phinney comment on the proposed draft legislation and SEPA analysis.

Some of the proposed changes directly relate to, and in effect negate the effects of, our Appeal and Hearing Examiner’s Decision in favor of Livable Phinney against the Phinney Flats project no-parking waiver. A very brief summary follows:

  • SDCI proposed to change the definition of Frequent Transit Service (FTS) from the current required 15 minute headway to “scheduled” stops while eliminating the 15 minute reference and transferring quantification of this parameter and others to a SDCI Director’s rule only. This clearly ignores the reality bus riders rely on – actual headway. SDIC ignores the Hearing Examiner’s requirement that “actual performance” of bus performance be considered!
  • There is no known study or actual research that concludes an association between
    residential proximity to frequent transit and car ownership. Yet, the City continues to justify the parking exemption in Urban Villages based on that false assumption.
  • SDCI proposed to expand parking exemptions and reduce parking requirements beyond Urban Villages and into other areas throughout the City.
  • SDCI proposed to allow off street surface parking in setback areas, including when abutting a residential lot – now used for landscaping, privacy, maintenance, etc.
  • The ¼ mile “walking distance” to a parked vehicle is based on out-of-state studies, not Seattle where steep grades and inclement weather are serious considerations.
  • SDCI proposes mandatory unbundling of parking (i.e. a parking space lease would be separate from a residential lease). Such unbundled parking would be a disadvantage to lower income residents who would have difficulty paying market rate for necessary parking space.
  • SDCI proposed to actually “Reduce minimum parking for income-restricted housing,
    including for the disabled and other institutional uses”. Don’t low income and disabled residents need parking to get to jobs, transport children, transport supplies, etc.?
  • The proposed code changes don’t address at all the matter of expanding the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) program (to disallow permits to residents of “no parking” building or to assure reasonable on-street parking for residents in single family neighborhoods, etc..)

The proposed SDCI code changes are wide-reaching. If approved by City Council, these changes will affect all of us who are concerned about residential parking and neighborhood livability. Please consider submitting comment and/or attending a public meeting when scheduled.

The Phinney Flats Developer (Johnson & Carr) continues with their Superior Court Challenge to our Appeal. Thus, we are still actively fund raising to pay for legal costs. Click the button below to donate via credit card, or send a check to Livable Phinney, 6537 Greenwood Ave. Seattle, WA 98103, or drop off a check at the HomeStreet Bank at Greenwood Ave. & 73rd St. Thank you!

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ALERT: Developer files court challenge

Friday, August 11th, 6 pm.

Johnson & Carr – the Phinney Flats developers – have today (Friday) filed a Land Use Petition in Superior Court challenging the Hearing Examiner’s decision in the Livable Phinney case.  We just received this news late today. We will consult with our attorney next week and will keep you appraised of our next steps ASAP.

However, this adds urgency to our request for donations to cover our legal costs.  Sadly, Johnson & Carr prefer to escalate rather than make a few changes to bring “Phinney Flats” into compliance with the land use code and to be a reasonable neighbor.

Please help us with additional donations. Click the button below to donate via credit card, or send a check to Livable Phinney, 6537 Greenwood Ave. Seattle, WA 98103, or drop off a check at the HomeStreet Bank at Greenwood Ave. & 73rd St. Thank you!

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KOMO News: “Phinney Ridge housing project delayed over Metro bus ruling.”

From the KOMO News story, August 2:

Irene Wall and her fellow neighbors with the group Livable Phinney argued that the No. 5 bus doesn’t run frequently enough. Now it’s possible that her battle with the builder could reshape Seattle’s long-term growth plans.

“What we’ve discovered is the city can make mistakes and they do need to be challenged sometimes,” Wall said.

The mistake, Wall said, is how often buses drive by. The developer used bus schedules to say transit was frequent enough that no on-site parking was needed. Members of Livable Phinney checked that against Metro’s actual performance data. They found that bus service failed to meet that every 15 minutes rule nearly 40 percent of the time.

Read the whole story here:

July 26: Livable Phinney issues press release.

Here’s the text of a press release issued July 26, by Livable Phinney. Click here to download a PDF version.


Phinney Ridge Appeal Stops Building with No Onsite Parking

SEATTLE – In a decision issued July 24, 2017, Deputy Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil
reversed and remanded the City’s approval of the controversial “Phinney Flats”
project, a 57-unit building with no onsite parking in the Phinney Ridge
neighborhood. The project had generated unprecedented opposition in the

“This Decision is a game-changer for making the City accountable for
applying the Land Use Code properly,” said Irene Wall, a board member of Livable
Phinney, the Washington nonprofit corporation that had appealed the City’s
approval of the Phinney Flats project.

The Examiner agreed with Livable Phinney that: 1) the building was too
close to the rear property line and violated the required setbacks, and; 2) the
building had an illegal rooftop structure that did not meet the definition of a
clerestory, and that this structure was placed improperly on the rooftop. A revised
building design will be required.

And, in a ruling with city-wide ramifications, the Examiner also agreed with
Livable Phinney that the City was required to look at actual bus frequency, not just
bus schedules, when allowing an exemption from onsite parking requirements. The Land Use Code allows a multi-use project in an Urban Village to proceed without any onsite parking, regardless of parking impacts, if the site is located within a specified
distance of “Frequent Transit Service,” which requires 15-minute intervals between
buses. The City insisted that a bus schedule showing 15-minute intervals was

But Livable Phinney presented a statistical analysis of actual Bus Route #5 bus times, derived from King County Metro data, which showed that actual intervals between buses grossly departed from scheduled intervals.

“While analysis of bus schedules might be sufficient in most circumstances, when
presented with reliable data showing that bus service does not meet the definition
of frequent transit service well over a third of the time over a period of months, the
[City] cannot simply ignore such information,” the Examiner concluded, and
remanded this issue to the City to consider the actual data.

“This is the first time that statistical evidence has been used to show that bus
schedules are meaningless in the ever-increasing traffic congestion in Seattle,” Wall
explained. “When a bus is unreliable, the City cannot expect people to forego their
cars and rely on unreliable public transportation, and people who ride the bus also own cars.” If the project site does not qualify for the “frequent transit service exemption,”
onsite parking will be required. The developer’s own traffic analysis concluded that
the project will generate more cars than can be accommodated on the surrounding

In addition, Wall noted, “this decision is timely in light of the city’s ongoing
study of parking code changes and changes to the design review process. Despite
extra review sessions, the code violations were overlooked in the case of Phinney

Although the Examiner upheld certain aspects of the City’s decision, the
Examiner’s reversal on key Land Use Code provisions halts the controversial project
for now.


Jeff Eustis, attorney for Livable Phinney: 206-625-9515
Irene Wall, Livable Phinney Board Member: 206-501-9684