Columbia City has increasingly become a hotspot for dinning and nightlife in Southeast Seattle. The neighborhood has also seen substantial growth with new housing and residents in recent years. As a result of these changes, on-street parking demand has grown to a point where new on-street parking regulations could be a reasonable way to manage demand for all.
A mix of on-street parking regulations are already in effect in the neighborhood, including general time restricted and Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs)–which are time limited unless a local parking zone permit is displayed on a vehicle to exempt. Generally, the local parking restrictions have two-hour maximums from 7am to 6pm Monday through Friday.
Earlier this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) released a draft Community Access and Parking Program proposal for the neighborhood. SDOT has finalized changes, which include less stringent and fewer paid parking areas. The new parking regulations are planned to go into effect in the fall and would make a variety of changes as to how on-street parking is managed. These include:
- New paid parking would be added in and around Rainier Ave S between S Edmunds St and S Hudson St. A two-hour parking maximum would be in place Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm. The introductory hourly rate would be $1.
- New paid parking would be added on 37th Ave S between S Edmunds St and S Hudson St. A four-hour parking maximum would be in place Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm. The introductory hourly rate would be $1.
- New time limited parking would be add on other blocks around the core with two-hour maximums. Parking spaces in those areas would be free, but the restrictions would still be in place from 7am to 6pm Monday through Saturday.
- For residents in the area, the biggest change would be the Restricted Parking Zone (Zone 29) expansion to more than a dozen blocks east of 35th Ave S between S Alaska St and S Dawson St. Parking restrictions would be in force Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm. Residents in surrounding blocks would be eligible to purchase RPZ passes to be exempt from time limits.
- Other changes would be made to provide parking access for those with disabilities, prohibit parking on certain block faces, make passing on tight streets easier, and move an existing loading zone.
The changes should make it easier for people who don’t live and work in the area to have more opportunity to find available spots. Meanwhile, residents would also have guaranteed access to park in the neighborhood despite growing on-street demands. A public hearing on the final proposal is scheduled for July 10th at 6pm. The public hearing will be at Rainier Arts Center Auditorium at 3515 S Alaska Street. Written comment on the proposal will also be open through July 21st.
Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.