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A letter from the FCA regarding 'Proposed Council Bill 119173 Concerning Off-Street Parking'

Posted: 20 Feb 2018 By: Mike Dey

Fauntleroy Community Association
P.O. Box 46343
Seattle, WA 98136-6343

February 20, 2018

To: City of Seattle (spencer.williams@seattle.gov)

Attn: Mr. Spencer Williams, aide to Mr. Rob Johnson
Ms. Lisa Herbold, West Seattle Councilwoman

Subject: Proposed Council Bill 119173 Concerning Off-Street Parking

The Fauntleroy Community Association (FCA) supports land use policies that:

  • retain the character of our Fauntleroy neighborhood and businesses,
  • provide for affordable housing, with equitable allocations for growth and density,
  • concurrently develop infrastructure, including transit, utilities, green spaces, parks & other amenities to serve our growing community and promote urban livability.

Founded in 1980, the Fauntleroy Community Association has historically focused on issues that affected or potentially affected the quality of life in our community with focus of traffic, pollution, the presence of the Washington State ferry and other issues of concern. Over the years, our activities have expanded to include restoration of salmon habitat in Fauntleroy Creek and the cove, local parks and playgrounds, crime and public safety, traffic issues as they affect all of West Seattle, involvement in transportation-related committees and meetings, and many other topics. We sponsor two local festivals and issue quarterly newsletters for 400 member households, businesses and supporters.

The proposed Council Bill 119173 runs counter to these guiding principles and if implemented will directly affect the quality of life in our community. Specific objections to the proposed policy are as follows:

  1. Allocating parking places to car sharing services should only be done when the places provided do not take away parking spaces for others wanting to park. If parking spaces are allocated for car sharing services but are not in use they must be available to others otherwise the space is just lost to the public and effectively eliminates a parking space.

  2. Extending the allowable distance for a parking lot from 800’ to 1320’ when parking is required disadvantages and raises concerns of equal access for elderly and disabled persons. For residential parking as well as non residential parking having to walk 1/4 mile to your residence for many elderly people is just not possible. The rule would discriminate against the disabled since they would not be able to live in such a residence if they were unable to walk that distance. Thus, the allowable distance should not be extended and even the 800’ should be reconsidered in light of its discriminatory nature. It is ironic that bicycle parking, which obviously implies healthy individuals, is required onsite for residential buildings and currently 100’ from the non-residential building and even with the amended rules would be within 600’ of the building (23.54.015 K) while parking requirements for elderly or potentially disabled drivers from their residences could be as far away as 1,320’.

  3. We believe that it is inappropriate to permit an onsite parking requirement to be met by allowing parking at a remote lot. We further believe that a 50% reduction in onsite parking requirement because of proximity to a major bus route is inappropriate given the current parking problem that exists for both residents and merchants in the Zone 3 NC1 and LR1 and LR2 areas proposed for up zoning in the MHA. Such a reduction in onsite parking requirements when combined with increased housing will drive businesses out of the area to areas with better parking for customers and make current residents especially the elderly and disabled unable to use the local merchants or find places to park their cars when they return from a medical appointment or grocery shopping.

  4. We applaud the proposal to allow parking amounts to be reduced in any zone (except downtown) to a level needed to serve the parking demand for proposed uses as demonstrated by parking demand study performed by a licensed professional engineer. However, any study is only relevant when performed during times of peak demand. We are aware of studies performed by the city where non-peak data have been relied upon as representative of road conditions and wish to avoid any confusion or improper reliance on non-peak parking conditions.

  5. The proposal also requires unbundling of parking space rental from multi-family dwelling unit rental and lease agreements in new and existing structures 10,000 square feet or greater in size. We believe this requirement is inappropriate. Renters will surely opt the lower cost alternative and then flood the surrounding neighborhood with their cars. It is common that renters who do not have a car to offer their space to other renters and they settle on a price. We would urge the city to let the market take care of this issue.

Further, we would expect building owners to litigate this requirement. On the one hand, the City’s parking ordinance requires the owner to install parking spaces and yet the rental ordinance allows the renter to opt out. The owner will have incurred substantial expense and risks not receiving any compensation from renters. In the end, that risk can only be passed to renters in some other fashion.

The FCA is already on record that there is and has been a significant parking issue in this community. Residents compete for parking with users of the Fauntleroy Ferry and the Rapid Ride C Line. This includes the ferry crews, foot passengers wanting to avoid the auto charge, students attending school on Vashon and the bus commuters all looking to park their cars in the Fauntleroy neighborhood. The Community essentially becomes a Park and Ride lot. In addition, the ferry queue uses Lincoln Park street parking as the means to wait for the ferry in the afternoon and evening. Once the Lincoln Park parking lots are full, visitors park in the neighborhood. Although Fauntleroy is designated a Restricted Parking Zone allowing permitted resident only parking between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., permits have also been issued to the crews and car sharing services adversely affecting resident access to nearby parking. Many in our Community are seniors so walking a block or more with arms of groceries is not feasible.

The parking issue is not restricted just to the residents in Fauntleroy. All of the merchants in the Fauntleroy Endolyne Triangle business area hear complaints daily from their customers that there is already inadequate parking. Further parking pressure will result in lost business for these merchants because anyone living beyond walking distance will just choose to go somewhere else.

If the city goes forward with these changes, the FCA requests that neighborhoods built around a destination attracting non-resident cars, such as a ferry dock, be exempt and current requirements, with the exception of the parking study performed by a licensed qualified engineer, for off street parking be maintained.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on these regulations. If further clarification would be helpful, please contact the undersigned.

Mike Dey
Fauntleroy Community Association
© 2018 Fauntleroy Community Association

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