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CBRA to discuss Restricted Parking Zones at Thursday’s meeting

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on February 10th, 2014

Central Ballard Residents Association (CBRA) will meet this Thursday, February 13, at 7 p.m. at Ballard Swedish Hospital, Conference Room A.

Ruth Harper and Jonathan Williams from SDOT will present information collected in response to a request to identify Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) eligibility in Ballard. They will provide more information on the RPZ program and qualifications, parking occupancy information collected in Ballard in October 2013, and information on other parking studies and work underway in Ballard.

All interested Ballard residents are urged to attend and bring their questions.

Click here to find out more about CBRA.

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20 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Profile photo of Sunset Hill David Sunset Hill David // Feb 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

    This does not sound good.

  • 2 EdWood // Feb 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    @ Sunset Hill David – I’d love to hear your rationale for why is this not a good thing. I like the idea but am always interested in understanding other perspectives.

    Parking is getting worse in residential parts of Ballard because of all the people moving in, and this will help alleviate some of the strain for residents. Is the concern that it will deter people from visiting? RPZs haven’t seemed to diminish the appeal of other neighborhoods.

  • 3 john shepherd // Feb 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    The reason parking is disappearing so fast in ballard is because of the rampant development with no fore thought about where to put all the cars, and even allowing apodements and other buildings to be built with no parking requirements. Density is and will happen, but the developers are calling all the shots and ruining our neighborhood. RPZs will do nothing to correct this ,

  • 4 Profile photo of great idea great idea // Feb 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    maybe it’s time for some of our Ballard neighbors to give up that third and fourth car (unless you park all of your vehicles in your yard, in which case– have at it).

  • 5 EdWood // Feb 10, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    That still doesn’t tell me what is bad about RPZs. You’re just telling me you don’t like the current policy towards developers.

  • 6 Becka // Feb 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    This seems like a good idea to me. For those against apodments and other apartments without onsite parking (like John Shepard in the comments above), what if RPZ passes were not offered to residents of those buildings? That would ensure people with cars would not live in those places and current residents would maintain their access to street parking. Maybe that would ease neighbors concerns about adding density? After all, density is a positive thing – if you’re not fighting for parking places and adding traffic while driving.

  • 7 Fruitbat // Feb 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    What’s not good about RPZ’s? There’s having to pay for a permit to park in your own neighborhood. Far worse, there’s the very limited number of guest passes available–good luck having any kind of gathering at your home.

    And remember, this is hunting license, not a guarantee of parking. If parking is scarce because of the residential density, an RPZ will do nothing. RPZs only make sense, if they do at all, where there is a draw bringing in outside people–near a commercial area (although that punishes businesses) or a transit station (if you want to discourage parking and riding).

    Which brings us to the philosophical issues around RPZs. What does it mean to live in a city? Does it mean you should be able to park right in front of your house? Does it mean people from outside the neighborhood should be discouraged from patronizing local businesses? Or coming by at all? I lived on Capitol Hill and I know what driving around for 20 minutes looking for a space is like. It’s like having a car in the big city.

  • 8 Profile photo of Ernie Ernie // Feb 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    The reason the parking is tight in the areas were people are agitating for a RPZ is because more RESIDENTS are moving in to the area. An RPZ is only going to make it more expensive to park, not easier, and as Fruitbat mentioned, good luck having more than one carload of friends overnight at your house, unless you have room in the driveway.

    RPZ’s are intended for areas with a lot of people coming from outside the area and parking on residential streets like around the UW campus or Husky Stadium.

  • 9 EdWood // Feb 11, 2014 at 8:30 am

    “There’s having to pay for a permit to park in your own neighborhood.” Why should the city subsidize your parking spot? You don’t have a right to free street parking. The subsidization of parking is a major contributor to parking shortages because people make choices they otherwise wouldn’t when their parking costs are externalized.

    “Far worse, there’s the very limited number of guest passes available–good luck having any kind of gathering at your home.” I’ll give you this one. This is one of our concerns with the issue.

    “RPZs only make sense…near a commercial area.” Ballard is a commercial area (a hub urban village in Seattle gov terms) and, along with the increase in residents, is the primary reason for the increase in traffic (of course, the increase in residents and commercial area are tied to one another). If you don’t think that’s true, you’ve never tried to park on a street north of Market on the weekend or during an event that draws people out for the night (I’ve definitely noticed increased traffic on Seahawks game nights, as I live near a sports bar for instance).

    Also, RPZs typically (always?) have a two-hour time limit. This actually opens up spaces for non-residents because of the increased churn. This is why businesses in commercial centers tend to support things like parking meters. Rather than hurting businesses, it will likely help them by increasing the available spaces.

    “If parking is scarce because of the residential density, an RPZ will do nothing.” Really? RPZs incentivize people to drive less, use public transportation more, to not own a car or to own less cars, and to move their cars more frequently. Putting a price on something changes behavior. That’s basic economics.

    Of course more people are moving into Ballard. For most people, that’s a good thing. While I get frustrated when I can’t find a spot, I also remind myself that it’s because Ballard is an amazing place to live, shop, eat, etc. It’s a good problem to have, but adjusting policy to account for the changes in the neighborhood will ensure that it continues to grow.

    That said, if anyone has any real data on this stuff I’d love to read it. Prove it me and I’ll change my mind. I’ve looked but haven’t been able to find much.

  • 10 Chet // Feb 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    The Growth in the city is because of previous adjustments to policy. And why exactly is density so wonderful. I’m sure my grandparents thought Ballard was fine just the way it was. As did the next generation. They only people I hear clamoring for increased density are the ones who stand to make money off it.
    With that said we have gotten an more and sometimes better restaurants and bars, then again we have also lost great ones due to the increase in property values.

  • 11 EdWood // Feb 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    There are plenty of people clamoring for increased density and smarter urban policy that do not stand to make money off of it. I support them for a number of reasons: an increase in housing supply gives lower income non-incumbents access to better neighborhoods; helps make city service more efficient; drives changes in public transit policy and gives impetus to infrastructure improvements; improves quality of life; as well as a number of other reasons. Many people who are anti-density are simply rent seeking in an effort to protect their privileged access to a nice neighborhood. One only needs to look to SF to see the disastrous effects of such poorly thought out housing/zoning policies.

    I do find it amusing that you complain about density in the first paragraph and then complain about increased property values in the next as though the two issues are unrelated.

  • 12 Profile photo of Ernie Ernie // Feb 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    And, I bet that your grandparents had some complaints of their own about the growth that happened during their time. It’s all relative…

  • 13 Chet // Feb 12, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Ernie I am sure you are correct about my grandparents having complaints of their own, but the scale of growth is drastically different.
    As for Eddie’s contention that I think density and property values are unrelated; really?
    I actually assumed they go hand in hand.
    I know my properties are worth far more to a developer than they are to a homeowner. This is why the charm that originally attracted people to Ballard is bulldozed over by large blocks of apartments and condos.

  • 14 EdWood // Feb 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Chet – I interpreted your lament about property values displacing cheaper restaurants as a stronger complaint than I probably should have. While I probably disagree with your view, it’s certainly fair to support anti-density policies while at the same time recognizing that are bound to be negative effects from said policies. After all, I already stated that I grit my teeth looking for a parking spot while also being happy that the area is getting more dense.

    Related to this topic, Seattle Transit Blog has an excellent article today about zoning laws in the city. The map in the article should make clear the origins of the issues we’re dealing with here. Relaxing zoning requirements would reduce the concentration of condos and apartments in areas like Ballard. That would address both of our concerns I think. (Let’s pretend there’s actual political will for it so I don’t get depressed.)

  • 15 Fruitbat // Feb 12, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Ed Wood–I agree about the city subsidizing the parking, but an RPZ is not the answer to that. In Chicago, for example, ALL cars registered in the city need to have a parking sticker–so street parking is subsidized by all.

    I don’t see how an RPZ encourages people to not have a car. It would seem to have the opposite effect.

    Two other concerns–who suffers the most from an RPZ? Those on the edges. Also, often one random block here and there in the zone is originally deemed to not have enough cars, so that block does not get the RPZ designation, and whammo! now it has a parking problem. The area just outside the zone also suffers from spillover.
    And–businesses in or near the zone do not get permits. It’s a Residential parking zone. Which is fine in its way, but not all employees of a given business can take public transit, and it is not good policy at work to run out every two hours to move your car.

    For the record, I am all for density. Density and good transit get people out of cars, not RPZs. RPZs are not good urban policy.

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