Mayor Tim Burgess delivered
to the City Council on November 15, 2017 which would create new shared parking opportunities to address transportation and parking demand in Seattle’s densest areas. The legislation would allow owners of parking spaces in certain zones to rent their stalls to the public, providing more options to those that rely upon available on-street parking.
“If a building has unused parking stalls, we shouldn't block them from renting those spaces out to someone who needs a place to keep their vehicle,” said Mayor Burgess
I hear complaints about the on-street parking crunch in our densest neighborhoods, and I’ve experienced it myself. It’s the reason I’m advancing this comprehensive package of parking options, ranging from making car share parking more available to changing parking requirements for income-restricted housing.”
The proposed legislation establishes “flexible-use” parking to allow existing and future parking to be shared by short-term parking (shoppers), or long-term (commuters, residential car storage) parking associated with commercial or residential uses. Building owners would have the option to provide flexible-use parking, and they would be responsible for management of the spaces, including establishing any costs to rent them.
Flexible-use parking would be allowed in Lowrise 3, Midrise, Highrise, and commercial and mixed use zones, and in garages in mixed-use development located in light rail station areas. No more than 145 flexible-use spaces would be allowed per lot. Currently, provisions for shared parking exist in the land use code, but only so owners can meet mandatory parking requirements.
Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) said, “Shared parking is a great example of the creativity and flexibility required of us as we balance the growth of this city with livability. It represents a useful tool we have to better utilize existing parking spaces.”
Parking costs, which make up 10-20% of typical construction projects, are often passed along to owners and renters which adds to the cost of housing. If untapped nearby private parking can be made available to neighboring residents who own a vehicle, those additional parking construction costs may not be necessary.
“Not only can this proposal help reduce the cost of new housing, but it also provides a balanced parking solution for city-dwellers who can’t live a completely car-free lifestyle,” said Chris Wierzbicki, Executive Director of Futurewise. “By investing in transportation solutions that serve people living in the densest areas of our state, we’re reducing the number of people with extended commutes. We all benefit when people choose to spend fewer hours stuck in traffic and contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.”
The legislation also allows parking owners to provide up to three outdoor off-street parking spaces reserved for car share vehicles (like Car2Go or ReachNow), provided the spaces are visible from the street. This use would be allowed in commercial zones and Midrise and Highrise multifamily zones.
When new development projects consider including parking, building owners would be able to use nearby flexible-use off-site parking to serve their tenants, provided the building is located within a quarter mile.
The shared parking strategy was a recommendation from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Advisory Committee. The cost of providing parking is a key component affecting the cost of housing in Seattle.
The legislation sent to Council will be considered in Council’s Planning, Land Use & Zoning Committee. The bill is expected to be initially considered in December.