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Neighbors are organizing against a 30-unit project with no parking on California Ave. S.W.

City council’s reasoning behind no-parking projects explained

There has been much discussion of housing projects without any parking spots either being built or in the process of being built throughout West Seattle.

One project in the spotlight of late, and representative of others around the peninsula, is a 30-residential unit structure planned at 6917 California Ave. S.W., where neighbors are up in arms about the added parking pressure when it’s already tough to find a spot. The developer, Blueprint, has said he is simply following the rules established by Seattle’s City Council.

After the Herald wrote about some of these projects (that story is found here), West Seattle resident Jamie Gardner (who lives near the one mentioned above) read about it in the Westside Weekly print edition and decided to reach out to Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess for more details on why parking isn't required for certain buildings. Gardner sent her conversation along to us and we are sharing it here.

“Why are you supporting multiple dwellings to be built and not requiring proper parking?” she asked. “I know it saves the developer loads of money, but what does the City get out of it, but walking two to three blocks to get to your house because there is no parking?”

Burgess’ legislative aide Nate Van Duzer responded to Gardner’s question with the following:

“Several years ago, the City removed minimum parking requirements in designated urban centers and urban villages and areas served by frequent transit service. The rationale for this policy is that it allows lower-cost development, which translates into lower costs for those who will occupy those units after construction is completed. We do not want parking constructed in buildings where there won’t be a demand for it. In areas where parking is deemed warranted by the market dynamics around those particular sites, developers are still able to choose to provide parking (and many do).

“This is a piece of the City’s broader policy of concentrated density in urban centers and urban villages, which Tim supports. He believes facilitating growth in these areas is good for our environment because it reduces commute times, traffic and pollution; it is good for the economy because denser neighborhoods lead to innovation and activity; and it is good for communities because it increases time at home and in the neighborhood with family and friends. Also, by focusing growth in defined areas, the City can better protect the character of single family neighborhoods and other less dense areas.”

Neighbors of the project at 6917 California Ave. S.W. are organizing against that particular project and hope to extend the comment period from the current deadline of Nov. 13 to Nov. 27. They have also started an online petition that can be found here.

What do you think, are the reasons listed above proper justification for projects without parking?

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