In the Central District many residential blocks are within Residential Parking Zones (RPZ) intended to control parking by non-residents — chiefly because of the impact from employees and students at Swedish Hospital and Seattle University.
The Mayor’s Office has proposed changes to many of the RPZ policies, including changes to the criteria for establishing new and expanded RPZ areas, and changes that could result in residents’ paying bi-annual RPZ fees where now those fees are paid by the adjacent institutions. (The current fee for a permit paid by those in other neighborhoods is $45 for each resident’s vehicle permit and $15 for a guest permit.) Another significant change would reduce the number of parking permits allowed to each address to 8 (currently there is no limit). Also, in what is described as a “pilot”, non-resident business owners would be allowed parking permits in newly-established RPZ areas adjacent to light rail stations in Southeast Seattle.
The Web site with details on all of the proposed RPZ changes is http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/parking/rpz_policy_review.htm
Today, May 19, the City Council Transportation Committee met to consider the proposed policy changes. The following is a message from committee chair Jan Drago outlining the committee’s action and providing notice that a public hearing will be held on the changes on May 27:
Thank you for writing me about the RPZ program. Below you will see elements of the Executives proposal as well as the Transportation Committees proposed amendments to the RPZ program. The Committees amendments would restore the petition process as well make changes that favor parking for residents over businesses.
The Council would like to hear from you on the proposed amendments. The City Councils Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, May 27th at 5:30PM in Council Chambers. By tomorrow you may view a copy of the mark-up of the Council amendments to the proposed ordinance and a copy of the draft Resolution on my website: http://www.seattle.gov/council/Drago/rpzpermits.htm
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE RPZ PROGRAM
On April 21st, the City Councils Transportation Committee received a briefing from the Executive on proposed changes to the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) program. The following changes were proposed by the Executive:
– Manage parking demand by limiting permit sales to 8 per household address and continue to examine other demand management measures
– Create pilot to provide RPZ permits to businesses and institutions around the seven Central Link Light Rail Stations with consideration of later expanding the pilot to other RPZs
– Increase the threshold for RPZ establishment from 25% non-resident vehicles to 50% non-resident vehicles and from a minimum size of 5 contiguous blocks (and/or 10 block faces) to 10 contiguous blocks (and/or 20 block faces)
– Replace the resident petition process with broader community engagement efforts
– Limit a major institution that updates its master plan to paying for a maximum of two RPZ permits per household for one permit cycle
The City Councils Transportation Committee is considering amendments to the Executives proposal. These amendments are described below:
– Manage parking demand by limiting permit sales to 4 per household with the exception for adult family homes, assisted living facilities, domestic violence shelters, and permitted congregate residences=
– Modify the business pilot to explicitly limit it to the seven Central Link Light Rail Stations and not allow its expansion to other RPZs; to establish a trigger point beyond which permits for non-residents would cease to be issued in order to keep parking demand from exceeding available on-streetparking spaces in residential areas; and to set a time frame for evaluating and deciding whether or not to continue the pilot
– Change the threshold for establishing an RPZ to 35% non-resident vehicles to favor parking for residents while still allowing for an increase in visitor parking
– Do not approve the Executives limit on major institution support for RPZ permits costs for affected households; instead leave in place determination of level of major institution support for RPZ permits to negotiations as part of the master plan update process
– Modify the Executives proposal to include additional public involvement approaches
– Add a requirement for a public hearing prior to decisions on RPZs by the Seattle Department of Transportation Director; and clarify that appeals process applies to establishing, modifying, or dissolving an RPZ
– Do not approve the Executives limit on major institution support for RPZ permits costs for affected households; instead leave in place determination of major institute support for RPZ permits to the negotiation process as part of the master plan update process
– Create a new Resolution stating Councils intent to have the Seattle Department of Transportation report back to City Council on January 1, 2011 on how the changes to the RPZ program have affected neighborhoods and what additional tools are available to manage RPZ permits
Jan Drago, Chair
City Council Transportation Committee