NK Architects
This four-story building, dubbed Junction Landing, containing 58 units and four live-work units with parking for 29 vehicles at 4417 42nd Ave SW is in its early design guidance phase. The trend toward buildings with less parking is in line with both the city's Urban Village guidelines and trends in driving, showing fewer people using or needing cars.

West Seattle development; How many apartments, how many parking spaces?

By Gwen Davis

It’s the infamous story of Seattle: too many cars and not enough parking spaces.

Unfortunately, a proposed development in the West Seattle Junction might compound the situation even more for Junction residents.

The proposed four-story building, dubbed Junction Landing, containing 58 units and four live-work units with parking for 29 vehicles at 4417 42nd Ave SW is making its way through the city’s design review process.

On Thursday, the West Seattle design review board was presented with the latest plans by developers.

And on Friday morning, the Hope Lutheran School, a neighbor of the development, submitted a letter of concern to the city:

"We would like to address our concerns as it relates to parking,” the public letter stated. The current West Seattle Junction neighborhood plan "recommends a goal of balancing a developing compact urban village with the need for adequate parking by not adversely affecting existing charter of the neighborhood,” the school wrote.

The letter contends that the development’s needs might gobble up street parking, which would adversely impact the daily activity of the residents and businesses in the area.

"The churches, school drop offs, parent parking while involved at the schools, business employee parking and Junction business patrons surrounding the project all rely on the existing street parking within the neighborhood. It is important that development does all the they can to help lessoning the effects and impacts of their development.”

This is happening against the backdrop of a change in driving patterns nationally. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group found in a study published in 2013 that the miles driven per capita peaked in 2004. Millenials are leading this trend. 16 to 34 year olds, says the report, drove 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001, the greatest decline in driving of any age group. They are more likely to live in urban and walkable neighborhoods like West Seattle and are more open to non-driving modes of transportation than older Americans.

Still concerns about parking adjacency to business districts are real and are seen as one benefit to local retailers as more and more shopping is going online. The West Seattle Junction will likely see its 228 free parking spaces compromised or limited by development coming to the area too. The changes are likely inevitable.

But parking spaces can cost developers between $20,000 to $50,000 per space.A Portland, Oregon study found that parking can add as much as $500 per month in rental costs to an apartment. King County’s 2013 Right Size Parking study, have shown that parking is often significantly over-supplied, needlessly contributing to high housing costs.

The City of Seattle adopted its Urban Village model during the administration of Mayor Norm Rice, some 20 years ago and has been developing the plan ever since. It has been questioned and updated since the 1995 plan was first set up and has now evolved into the Seattle 2035 plan which permits residential structures to be built with minimal parking requirements (or none in some cases) as long a the buildings are within 1500 feet of a transit stop.

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