New apartments could offer transit passes instead of parking


In a presentation to the city council on Tuesday, the Department of Planning and Development outlined a recommendation to require developers of new projects in neighborhoods with good transit to provide residents with a pass and membership in a car and bike sharing services.

The city has been dialing back parking requirements for apartments in the area around downtown since the 1980s.

Across the city, about 2,400 units are in projects with no parking at all. …



Video here.


City officials say the idea of promoting ways to build apartments without parking is to make room for the denser development needed to accommodate the expected 120,000 new residents of Seattle in the next twenty years.

“We don’t have enough roadway space for all of the vehicles if everyone was going to be expected to drive a car,” said Bryan Stevens of DPD.

Stevens said in micro housing projects, less than thirty percent of tenants own vehicles.

Stevens said building parking spaces, often underground, can cost developers $20,000 to $50,000 per space, a cost that is passed on to tenants.

“This could certainly help with affordability,” Stevens said.

The city is also looking at ways to encourage the sharing of underused parking spaces.

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  1. Isn’t it funny how no one ever discusses transit interruptions – let’s say strikes or lockouts – when discussing these zoning/permitting decisions. That transit-dependent people suffer during such an interruption is inevitable – indeed, making people suffer until they put pressure on the other party is the whole point of such exercises. It is an inherent risk of transit dependency, but if that dependency is a matter of government policy rather than personal choice, I wonder how the liability plays in out in the event of, let’s say, job loss due to loss of transit.
    It seems to me that the long term outcome of zoning/permitting to dissuade car ownership (vs to dissuade car use) will be that transit workers will be declared an essential service to the point of having their strike capability curtailed (same with lockouts).

    1. Isn’t it funny how car drivers can get stuck on the highway after a collision and unable to get off for hours! Disruptions happen no matter what mode you choose, but is easier to blame the transit operator when a bus breaks down or services change. These locations are downtown and the people that move there are likely not transit dependent, they likely can walk or cycle to work, modes which rarely see any disruption.

      1. I posted because I am interested in the hitherto unexplored linkage between building design and public sector labour relations policy, and the potential there for unexamined legal liabilities that may accrue to governments that do not make that connection. I hope my post will have been useful to planning personnel and elected officials who read it.

  2. Perhaps Portland’s parking requirements for transit-proximate development would have had more staying power if they were “dialed back” like in Seattle. Instead they were completely eliminated, and after a handful of no-parking developments drew neighborhood backlash, partially re-instituted. Gradualism vs. vanguardism. Hmm.