City Council Approves Changes to Parking Code

Comments

1
I come to this because I believe it’s unfair for us to have a city where parking is abundant and free and housing is scarce and expensive

Right, so let's make parking scarce and expensive, too. Brilliant.

I'm actually fine with these changes, but with one or two exceptions, the city council is full of adult-sized children.
2
@1: "I'm actually fine with these changes"; proceeds to bitch about them anyway.
3
Oberrevoltfuhrer Sawant is in Germany shrieking about Das Revolution.
4
Parking is "abundant and free"? Just where would that be, CM Johnson? Perhaps in your single-family neighborhood, but where else?
5
The bill only unbundles motor vehicle parking from rental agreements. You can still be forced to subsidize bike parking rooms you don't use (and they'll be much larger now at apartment buildings, to the benefit of the Bike Security Advisors lobbying group comprised of folks who build design bike parking).
6
So, we've gone from wasting too much time searching for parking (https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/08…) to having abundant free parking?

When did that happen?
7
And new entertainment venues in the city now have to build short term bike parking for at least 5% of maximum capacity (and at least 8% at theaters) nomatter where in the city these venues are located.

I still think increasing the required bike parking from 0.25 to at least 1 per unit in new MFH is a step backwards on affordability.
8
@2: proceeds to bitch about them anyway.

Yes, the city council has a talent for saying stupid things, even in the service of otherwise reasonable ideas.

9
@5: FORCED to subsidize bike parking! heaven forfend. the big bike rack corporations are going to make out like bandits!

it's just a section in the land use code, and for most apartment buildings, it usually results in a room about the size of 2 parking spaces. it might go to 3 now.

10
@8: try reinforcing good behavior. like one does with a dog.
11
@9, the recommendation was for 12 sq ft per bike, but the bill legislates that SDOT will come up with bike parking standards. I think that means that the cabal of SBAB folks will determine how much space it'll take up.
12
I was hoping for ZERO car-storage requirements for all new apartment construction. Let the market decide.
13
hey wow the council doing more crap that nobody ever asked them to do. it'd be sweet if they took a loooong vacation. every day, some new progressive/grandstanding from them...
14
"Currently, "frequent transit service" means a bus comes every fifteen minutes for at least 12 hours a day. Under the new definition, it would mean a bus is *scheduled* to come every 15 minutes."

Makes one wonder how many members of the Seattle City Council rely exclusively/mostly on Metro to get around?
14
@13: Reducing the cost of housing by not requiring car storage has been on our civic agenda for a long time. The problem lies with the Council taking this long to act, not that they have finally acted.

How about you give us a break from your ignorant comments?
15
@14: The belief that not requiring car storage will reduce the cost of housing is strictly faith-based, and almost certainly false. Usually your comments here are of a higher order. I am surprised to see you fall for this fraud.
17
Prolly written by the developer's Legal team. Suckers.
18
Unbundling motor vehicle parking from rental agreements offers incentive for landlords to make a massive amount of money on parking. Watch both rent and parking costs go up. People who own cars will not be able to afford the separate and ridiculously steep parking costs in their own buildings. Unintended consequence number 85.
19
"People who own cars will not be able to afford the separate and ridiculously steep parking costs in their own buildings." That's the free market trying to tell you that owning cars is prohibitively expensive. The value of the square footage cars consume is far greater than what most people would freely choose to pay. You have to trick people into paying it by hiding the cost.

Hilarious to see the "pro-business" types so passionate about defending the regulatory burden of mandatory parking instead of letting the free market decide how much parking to supply.

Consumers mostly don't want to buy parking. Offer them an apartment with a parking space, or an apartment with more amenities and no parking space, they'll choose no parking space. Tell them they could have a parking space, but it's extra, and they'll say no, thanks, keep your parking space. I don't want to pay extra, not for parking. It's not that people don't want cars, it's that they look at all the things they could buy with that money if they weren't paying for the land it sits around on, doing nothing for them, and they choose those other things rather than the car.

That's why they had to pass this ordinance to make them rent you parking spaces with your apartment whether you wanted them or not. You pay more for your apartment in the form of higher rents to cover the costs of the parking spaces you don't want. The developers were forced to build those spaces and they pass those costs on to residents. The government is taking a thing that costs X and making consumer pay X + T. Where T is the added cost burden of unwanted, unasked for parking.

Think about it this way: requiring 1.5 parking spaces per unit is a TAX. That's right! T stands for T-A-X!

Taxes bad! Not requiring as much parking? TAX CUT! Woooooooo! Throw a party!

Moony liberal urbanist hippies are trying to give you a tax cut and grandpa and the Chamber of Commerce and Frank Blethen are having none of it. Liberals are having to fight to force a tax cut down the throats of the pro-biz crowd.
20
@15: I lived on Capitol Hill for almost twenty years, in a building built very early in the 20th century. It boasted solid construction, was well-maintained, had a great location — and my rent was below market average the entire time. No car storage meant more value for residents, you see. My life there was indeed a solidly fact-based reality.

‘Tis pity — usually your comments here are of a higher order. See @19 for another detailed description of your fraud.
21
@17 ftw (with nods to @15 and @18

Developers in public: "No, please don't throw me in that briar patch!"

Developers in their offices: "YES ! "
22
@15: The belief that not requiring car storage will reduce the cost of housing is strictly faith-based, and almost certainly false.

No, it is science based. Economics specifically. If you raise the cost of creating something (in this case housing) then it increases the cost of the good for everyone. Here is a study to back it up: https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2013…

I'm not sure why people don't understand basic economic theory. It is just simple game theory. You don't need to go to school, or spend hours on Wikipedia to get the basics. All you have to do is imagine a bunch of people acting selfishly. Property owners want to make more money. Landlords want to make more money. Tenants want to pay less. Now take a city like ours, where there is very high demand. There are also lots of places where they could build apartments. Now imagine what happens if the cost of constructing new apartments goes way up. Imagine it going way down. What will that do to the cost of other, existing apartments?

23
@19 -- Exactly. The parking requirement is a tax. But it is a tax only on renters. If you own your own place, you don't pay it. But if you are renting, or looking to buy, you pay the parking tax.

By the way, the bike parking requirement is also a tax. Probably not as big a tax, but it is still a tax. It to will push up the cost of construction, which in turn will lead to fewer new places, which in turn will lead to higher rents. Again, not as much as the car parking tax, but still something.

24
@19 - "Consumers mostly don't want to buy parking. Offer them an apartment with a parking space, or an apartment with more amenities and no parking space, they'll choose no parking space."

Yes - and then they'll park their cars 'for free' on the street, clogging curbside road space that could be better used for tranist, cycling, etc.
25
@18 Unbundling motor vehicle parking from rental agreements offers incentive for landlords to make a massive amount of money on parking. Watch both rent and parking costs go up.

Say what? Why would rent go up?

People who own cars will not be able to afford the separate and ridiculously steep parking costs in their own buildings.

Maybe. But keep in mind that right now, in many neighborhoods, if my landlord charges a bunch for parking, I don't have much alternative but to pay it. There just aren't that many public parking facilities. This creates a monopoly situation. Sure, the landlord wants to rent out every spot -- but often they don't, because they would rather get more from their tenants. If they can get $200 from 100 tenants, then it is better than getting $75 from all 200. There are really a couple different forces going on at the same time:

1) Landlords can now rent out to the general public. For example, someone who lives in a house can now store their car at an apartment nearby. This should make parking (at that apartment) more expensive.

2) Someone in that apartment can store their car at a nearby apartment. That should make storing that car cheaper (more competition).

My guess is that it will depend a lot of the neighborhood. For areas that have a lot of nightlife (e. g. Capitol Hill) you could see higher parking costs. The landlord would be better off renting out spots on a part time basis. For cheaper areas (Lake City, Rainier Valley) you could see cheaper parking, as the landlord's monopoly is broken.
27
@24 Yes - and then they'll park their cars 'for free' on the street, clogging curbside road space that could be better used for tranist, cycling, etc.

Are you saying we should build more parking? That is a reasonable suggestion. But it sure as fuck isn't fair that renters -- and only renters -- should pay for that parking. Especially since a lot of those renters don't drive, and don't even have access to the parking they are paying for. That's a fucked up, and quite substantial tax

If you want to build more public parking, then all car owners should pay. Increase the car tabs to pay for more parking facilities.
28
I just want to know why there are two @14's.

I vote yay for the Council and boo for CM's Harrell and especially Herbold. Let's all remember this one and we'll see whether it was a smart vote for them or not.
29
Another give away to developers. Has anyone else noticed the only "green" policies this Council supports also increases developer's profits?
30
Developers charge what the market will bear, which is typically much, much higher than the cost of construction... about 160 percent according to the Feds. The cost to provide one floor of parking beneath a new building, in the foundation space that will be built anyway, provides approximately 0.6 spaces per unit. The cost of construction is impacted minimally, yet the majority of the adverse impacts of the new high-density building is mitigated. A win-win.

The cost, IF passed on to tenants, is about $50 per month. However, the market advantage of having buildings will on-site parking is huge. The fact that the builder is providing less than 100% parking (0.6) means that rent for the parking is automatically unbundled since enough parking for everyone was not provided. BTW, the average demand for parking near transit is 62 percent WHETHER OR NOT the building has on-site parking. Rents were found to be the same for units in buildings near transit WHETHER OR NOT the building has on-site parking. CM Johnson is spinning stuff to further his own personal agenda and try to sound like an urbanista for political gain.

State law requires developers to perform parking and transit studies for their projects under SEPA. City law prohibits city staff from mitigating the impact identified in the studies. Herbold's amendment would have allowed city staff to help mitigate the impacts in areas of the city that already experience 85 percent saturation of street parking capacity. ALLOW, not REQUIRE.
31
This policy favors the rich. Everyone agrees Seattle has an affordable housing crisis as the only people who can afford to live near work are relatively rich, yet the city council is punishing working class people who cannot afford to ride their bike to work from Queen Anne or Capitol Hill. Seattle's delusions of a green utopia are contrary to economic reality.
32
I just love all of the make-believe on display here by the car-lovers, which is needed because it’s obviously true that a building with no car storage costs less to build and to operate than a similar building on the same site with car storage. Highlights include:

The cost, IF passed on to tenants,

Yeah, because a universe exists where the owner of an apartment building will not pass a cost along to tenants. Loving some primo Washington state cannabis, I hope?

However, the market advantage of having buildings will on-site parking is huge.

Then why do we need a law mandating it? Are developers that goddamned stupid? If so, should we allow them to build great big tall things that could fall over onto our heads?

(Oh, and bonus points for pulling that $50/month figure — you know, the one owners might make tenants pay, but only if the owners are big fat meanies? — straight out of your ass and waving it around like we should care.)
33
Property owners don't pay the parking tax? If you don't know anything about zoning and the building code, shut up.

Off street parking is required for single family homes, for apartments, everywhere. Home owners could use that space for any number of other things. They could buy smaller lots and pocket the savings. But they have to pay extra for the space to provide parking they don't want and don't need.

Everybody pays the parking tax. Don't you believe in the free market? You like taxes?
34
And, of course, we get a guy who ripped his nym off a darned tasty beer, delivering his usual execrable whining against Seattle daring to use pavement for supporting anything other than automobiles. (In today’s delusion, only rich people ride bicycles to work. Really.)

If the only thing we knew about the economics of car storage came from knowing the economic beliefs of car-storage advocates, that alone would drive us to reduce levels of mandated parking.