Last Wednesday, SDOT held a public hearing at the Hamilton International School to solicit comment on proposed changes to the Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs) in our neighborhood. A review of the RPZs by SDOT had been solicited by neighbors impacted by an influx of drivers seeking all-day parking during weekday business hours. The meeting, attended by about 75 people, began with a brief outline of the proposal by SDOT followed by 2-minute comments from residents and then time for questions.
This RPZ proposal has been under development for some time, informed by an SDOT study of parking patterns in the affected areas. We wrote about this process back in November and February. The current proposal is the end result of that process.
RPZs seek to limit parking in the neighborhoods by commuters that then walk or even bike to their places of employment. Permits are available to residents to allow them to park long-term during the day and to allow their guests to park (albeit on a shorter-term basis). Vehicles without permits are generally allowed to park short-term (two hours) to, say, visit local businesses.
Full details of the SDOT proposal can be found here on the SDOT website. Highlights include:
- Elimination of Zone 5 near the Guild 45th due to the closure of the Guild and the relatively small number of permits requested by area residents
- Creation of a new RPZ (Zone 34) west of I-5 between 42nd and 50th
- Creation of a new RPZ (Zone 33) east of Stone Way and south of 47th that will steal some blocks from the former Zone 22. Effective hours of this zone will be 7AM-6PM, M-F
- A reduction in size of Zone 22 keeping the current effective hours
The comment portion of the hearing went for the scheduled hour. While the RPZ changes were generally well received, a large number of commenters sought some changes to the boundaries of some of the proposed new zones. A number of people were critical of SDOT’s proposal to eliminate zone 5. Here is a sampling of what I heard:
- On zone 33 borders:
- Should be extended to 49th St. near Wallingford Ave.;
- Should be extended to 48th St. near Stone Way because of the elimination of parking on the east side of Stone and the housing going in at the Bill the Butcher site;
- A resident of an apartment on 45th is seeing a shrinking number of available street spaces, but is outside the RPZ;
- The zone should generally be made larger;
- “I’m perplexed by the boundaries. What happens on the west side of Stone Way?”
- Can this RPZ be delayed until the transportation needs for Lincoln High School are determined?
- On zone 34 borders:
- Zone should be extended much farther south due to all the UW employees that park there to go to work;
- Effect of new U District light rail station should be factored in
- On RPZ permit fees:
- Can there be a sliding scale for these?
- Why should anyone be charged for a permit at all?
- On the effect of bike lanes on 40th on the RPZs:
- Cars that used to park on 40th will be pushed to the side streets;
- Can a count be made of the number of parking spaces lost on 40th?
- On the elimination of Zone 5:
- With the creation of new RPZs, cars will be pushed toward the unrestricted parking where this zone used to be;
- It is imprudent to remove this zone when we don’t know what is to become of the Guild 45th space;
- new housing will only increase congestion in this zone
- Other comments:
- Can RPZ permits be made available for businesses?
- If we prevent people from parking in Wallingford, where will they park?
- Can some sort of restrictions be placed around Wallingford Playfield to allow people to easily park to use those facilities?
- Can the RPZ process (even adding a few blocks to an existing zone) be sped up to keep pace with development?
If you were unable to make it to the hearing to offer your opinion, the comment period is still open until April 15. Comments can be provided by
SDOT plans to come up with a final plan and implementation schedule sometime in late May 2018. Neighbors will be notified in June.