Neighborhood Parking - What & Why

What's Happening Now?

September 2019: We anticipate releasing a draft Director's Rule this fall with guidance about bicycle parking. 

There will be a public comment period to offer your feedback on this new rule. 

April 2018: Mayor Durkan Signs the Council Approved Neighborhood Parking Ordinance

On April 13, 2018, Mayor Jenny Durkan approved and signed Ordinance 125558 addressing neighborhood parking. The ordinance is effective as of May 14, 2018. We've also published a summary of the ordinance. A draft Director's Rule with an updated frequent transit service area map will be available for a 14-day public comment period, beginning on May 3, 2018. See the Land Use Information Bulletin on May 3 for the announcement. During the City Council's review at the Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee, the council approved several amendments adjusting the measurement of frequent transit service, bicycle parking requirements, parking for income-restricted housing, and separation ("unbundling") of parking rent from housing rent.

2017 Executive Proposal

On November 15, 2017, Mayor Burgess sent his recommended proposal for Neighborhood Parking to City Council. See the Project Documents page for his recommendations. The Council began its discussions of the Executive proposal in January 2018.On September 14, 2017, we released draft legislation to improve parking availability in neighborhoods. The legislation allows building owners to make parking available for public use when the facilities have excess capacity. The draft legislation also clarifies regulations that allow applicants flexibility in deciding how much parking to include in development projects in areas with frequent transit. Such areas include Urban Centers, light rail station areas, and Urban Villages. We also released an environmental (SEPA) analysis of the draft legislation in September 2017. A public comment and SEPA appeal period ran until October 5, 2017. Information about the SEPA analysis and appeals is available from the Notice of Decision on the Project Documents page of this website. The highlights of the draft legislation included:

  1. New opportunities for the public to share off-street parking:
    • Define a new "flexible-use parking" category that allows shared use of off-street parking.
    • Allow park-and-ride facilities in garages in certain zones.
  2. Flexibility for parking rules, to help reduce the costs of building housing:
    • Update existing rules that allow no parking or reduced parking for new development within 1/4 mile of frequent transit service. The new rules include a more flexible definition of what counts as frequent transit service, and is consistent with how King County Metro schedules service. (This proposal implements a recommendation from the Mayor's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.)
    • Reduce minimum parking for income-restricted housing, including for the disabled and other institutional uses.
    • Update special parking rules for the Northgate Urban Center to be consistent with citywide approach.
  3. Other recommendations included:
    • Update bicycle parking requirements and making them consistent across the entire city.
    • Apply minimum parking stall sizes to all parking spaces in new development.
    • Require that parking leases are separate from leases for housing units or commercial spaces.
    • Reduce exceptions in Downtown that allow for parking that exceeds maximum limits.
    • Require a pedestrian access door to public parking garages.
    • Update environmental policies about parking, to be consistent with parking provisions in the Land Use Code.

Project Benefits

The amended parking rules will:

  • Promote policies in the Mayor and Council's Housing Affordability and Livability AgendaMove Seattle's transportation strategy, the City's Comprehensive Plan, and other City policies and Plans.
  • Manage off-street parking most efficiently.
  • Prioritize housing affordability to preserve and enhance the ability of people of all economic means to live in Seattle. Parking is a significant factor in the cost of housing.
  • Promote better quality and more secure and more comfortable bicycle parking facilities.
  • Help achieve local and regional environmental objectives to achieve air quality, climate change, and natural environmental protection goals.

The End Result

SDCI's recommendations were discussed at the City Council's PLUZ Committee in the first quarter of 2018, and advanced to a vote of the full Council on April 2. The Council approved amended bill CB 119221 on April 2, 2018, which Mayor Jenny Durkan signed on April 13, 2018. The amendments are effective as of May 14, 2018.