Transit Up, Parking Down in Seattle

Facing an affordability crisis, Seattle is betting on dense, walkable development. The transition away from guaranteed parking promises to be no easier here than elsewhere.
December 16, 2016, 1pm PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Susan Montgomery

In downtown Seattle and adjacent transit-friendly areas, Mike Rosenberg writes, "30 percent of new apartment developments proposed in the past several years included no parking at all, according to new data analysis provided by the city."

"On average across the city, developers now include 60 percent fewer parking spaces per unit at new buildings than they did a decade ago. Now, only about half of new apartments come with even an option for a parking space."

Eliminating parking requirements eliminates the need for expensive parking garages, reducing costs to developers and increasing density. The city's bet is that this will keep rents in check. And even if it doesn't, the city still benefits from a vibrant, residential downtown.

There has been local resistance to the trend, but Seattle's parking decline seems certain. "With the passage in November of the $54 billion light-rail and bus expansion measure — which includes big money to study housing near new stations — planners will likely move more neighborhoods into zones where parking isn't required."

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Published on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in The Seattle Times
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