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Restricted Parking Zone Program (RPZ)

How to Initiate an RPZ Program for your Neighborhood

In order to establish an RPZ, there must be a significant degree of parking by non-residents. The Seattle Municipal Code (updated in June 2009) specifies the threshold that must be met in order to establish an RPZ.  Generally, 75% of on-street spaces must be occupied with at least 35% of those spaces used by non-local vehicles, all in an area of at least 10 contiguous blocks (or 20 blockfaces). Additionally, a "parking generator" needs to be identified: an institution, a business district or transit service causing the high amount of non-local vehicles parking in the residential area.

If you believe your neighborhood may qualify for an RPZ, please follow these steps:

Step 1: If possible, have your neighborhood association or community council send a letter to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) describing the parking problem, indicating the streets and blocks most affected, including which days and at what times, and describing (to the best of your knowledge) why the level of parking congestion is high (what is "generating" the parking demand). If the neighborhood community council is inactive, then send a letter signed by residents that are distributed across the ten block area.

Send the letter to:

Seattle Department of Transportation
Restricted Parking Zone Program, 37th Floor
700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3900
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

Please include the name, address, and daytime telephone number of a contact person.

Initial Determination

Step 2: Upon receipt of the written RPZ request, SDOT will conduct an initial assessment to determine whether an RPZ is appropriate for the area.

The determination will be based on the following:

  • The parking problem exists on at least ten contiguous blocks.
  • It appears that 75% or more of the parking spaces are being used.
  • There is an identifiable parking generator.

Based on the assessment, staff will determine the extent to which a parking problem exists and whether an RPZ may be an appropriate solution.  Staff are encouraged to consider other parking demand management tools prior to, in lieu of, or in conjunction with an RPZ.  Examples include:

  • allowing parking on both sides of street
  • adding angled-parking if there is room and conditions appropriate (e.g., limited vehicle overhang issue such as trees, signs, or interference with pedestrian passage)
  • working with local businesses to encourage employees to take alternate modes of transportation to work, especially for daytime commuters

Parking Study

Step 3: If SDOT determines that an RPZ may be appropriate for an area, staff will conduct a formal parking study to determine if at least 35% of vehicles parked are non-residential in nature, if 75% of on-street spaces are occupied, and to confirm whether the conditions exist for 10 contiguous blocks.  
Please note, RPZ development takes up to one year.  Requests are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  If the number of requests for RPZs is high, a neighborhood may experience some delay.

Community Outreach

Step 4: If the RPZ study determines that an RPZ is warranted due to parking impacts from non-residents, SDOT staff will engage affected and interested community stakeholders to review parking study results and get stakeholder assistance in developing an RPZ.  SDOT staff will develop a draft RPZ design for community review, and will conduct a broad public outreach program to gather input on the draft RPZ design.

Prior to any decision to establish an RPZ, SDOT will hold a public hearing to provide interested persons a further opportunity to submit written and spoken comment into the public record, pursuant to SMC 11.16.317(C)(2).

SDOT Decision

Step 5: The SDOT Traffic Management Division Director will make a final decision whether to establish an RPZ based on parking data, staff analysis, and public input. Staff will notify all owners, commercial lessees, and residential properties inside the RPZ boundaries, and those outside the boundaries within at least 300 feet of the decision.  SDOT will also notify all those who contacted SDOT during the parking study and development of the RPZ.  Staff will post the decision on the SDOT website and will notify the media of the decision.  Implementation will occur after all reconsideration and/or appeal process opportunities have passed. 

RPZ Time Frame

The process to create an RPZ should typically take no longer than one year.  The time it takes to create an RPZ will vary significantly depending on local conditions. Such conditions include area size, severity of the parking problem, surrounding land use, and community commitment.

RPZ Follow-Up

An RPZ may be reviewed within six months of implementation and adjustments made to the design, if needed, so that the parking needs of the community are met.

Modification of an RPZ

An additional neighboring block(s) may be added to an existing RPZ if there is interest by the residents on those blocks and SDOT determines that expanding the RPZ to that block(s) would be appropriate. These requests will follow a similar, though less lengthy, process as the initial establishment of a zone.  

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