A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Greenwood Community Council meets Tuesday to discuss parking requirements for new residential buildings

February 16th, 2015 by Doree

The Greenwood Community Council meets from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N. The main topic on the agenda is a discussion about how much parking the city should require for new residential buildings.

A few years ago Seattle changed its development regulations to eliminate the requirement to provide parking in new multi-family buildings in areas defined as urban villages, or places with accessible and frequent transit service. Almost all of Greenwood fits that definition, and several micro-housing buildings are being built that will take advantage of that change by not including parking as part of the development.

There are advocates and strong feelings on both sides of this issue. Seattle’s previous parking requirements often required developers to include more parking than needed, raising the cost of living in new buildings and requiring residents who don’t own cars to help pay for their storage. Providing no parking at all takes advantage of unused public street space at no cost to the developer or tenant. When parking is scarce though, neighbors and their visitors have a harder time finding a place to park and need to walk farther to get groceries and kids to the car.

So what is the right amount of parking, and what should guide the city in deciding how much developers need to provide as part of their projects? The City Council has requested a review of parking requirement policies, and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is preparing its analysis. Gordon Clowers is leading the team that will respond to the council, and at our February meeting he will discuss some of the factors DPD will consider in forming their analysis.

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Greenwood micro-housing project increases by 5 dwelling units, under streamlined design review

January 5th, 2015 by Doree

The micro-housing project at 714 N. 95th St. in Greenwood, which originally proposed 36 dwelling units in three stories, has increased to 41 units, according to the Department of Planning and Development’s latest Land Use Bulletin. No parking is required.

714 N 95th St-exterior-resized

DPD is using a streamlined design review process for the project. Comments on site planning and design issues will be accepted through Jan. 18. Comments can be emailed to PRC@seattle.gov or mailed to: City of Seattle, DPD, PRC, 700 5th Ave., Suite 2000, P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA 98124-4019.

Following the public comment period, the Department of Planning and Development will issue a written design guidance report. This report will consider public comment and the applicable city-wide and neighborhood specific Design Guidelines and will serve as the basis for further review of the building permit. Once the applicant has incorporated the design guidance into the proposal they may apply for a building permit. No public notice of the building permit application will be provided.

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Mini park will pop up in parking space in Phinney Ridge for Friday’s annual PARK(ing) Day

September 16th, 2014 by Doree

The annual PARK(ing) Day is this Friday, with more than 50 pop-up parks throughout the city, including one in Phinney Ridge. PARK(ing) Day turns parking spaces into public places for one day, to re-think how streets can be used to promote a healthy, walkable community.

Our neighborhood’s pop-up park will be in front of A-1 Piano at 7020 Greenwood Ave. N. They’ll have pianos there for anyone to play.

Here’s their pop-up park from last year.

PARKing Day 2013 - A1piano-resized

PARK(ing) Day spaces will be in place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Check out the website for a full list and map of all parks throughout the city.

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Apodments at 87th & Phinney Avenue to be called ‘Footprint Phinney,’ open in spring 2015

July 23rd, 2014 by Doree

Footprint Investments has a conceptual drawing of its plan for the four-story, six-unit building currently under construction at 8727 Phinney Ave. N. The building will be called “Footprint Phinney” and have 40 “sleeping rooms.” It is directly north of the Greenwood Safeway’s upper parking lot, and east of the grocery store’s lower lot.

Here’s what the construction site looks like now.

Construction-7-22-14-resized

Footprint Phinney’s website lists its amenities:

  • Furnished with a bed, table, chair, and bookshelf
  • Convenience center including microwave, refrigerator/freezer
  • Common kitchens
  • Sound-insulated floors and walls/quiet hours
  • Onsite laundry
  • Walk Score: 97
  • Transit Score: 53
  • Bike Score: 68
  • Professional maintenance of common areas and grounds
  • Close to Zipcar locations
  • Flexible lease terms

We’ve emailed Footprint Investments several times to ask how much rent will be but have not received a response.

Our October post about the development drew a lot of neighborhood criticism because it does not require parking.

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Controversial extra-wide turn lane into Fred Meyer on 3rd Avenue slimmed down

July 17th, 2013 by Doree

Neighbors of the remodeled Greenwood Fred Meyer complained after an extra-wide truck turn lane was painted on 3rd Avenue NW before the store’s grand reopening in February. The wide lane meant street parking  in that stretch was prohibited, and cars heading northbound drove dangerously close to the curb and driveways of neighboring houses.

But, a neighbor tells us that after repeated complaints to Seattle Department of Transportation, the turn lane has been repainted and is much smaller, allowing more room for drivers going straight.

3rd-Ave-turn-lane-Fred-Meyer-resized

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Reminder about pre-paid overnight parking if you need to leave your car after a night out

March 18th, 2013 by Doree

Simon Thwaits, a journalism student at the University of Washington’s News Lab, reports on the City of Seattle’s so-called “liquor sticker” program, that encourages drivers who’ve had a few drinks, to leave their car overnight and pick it up in the morning.

Use of Seattle’s pre-paid parking program to prevent drunk driving, sometimes referred to as the “liquor sticker,” has continued to increase, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said at a press conference last Wednesday at Spitfire, a sports bar in Belltown.

“We launched the pre-paid parking program in April 2011, and when we did that we had 600 purchases in that month for pre-paid parking,” McGinn said. Now the program is averaging 2,500 uses per month and has a total of more than 45,000 uses.

The program, part of McGinn’s Seattle Nightlife Initiative, allows people to pay starting at 10 p.m. for two hours of parking for the next morning. By doing so, people can ensure they get home safely by taking a cab or public transit, then pick their car up before 10 a.m. the next day. The liquor sticker is available at any parking meter in the city.

“We’ve been working really hard in the city to give you options so that if you want to go out and have a good time and enjoy yourself, you don’t need to drive home,” McGinn said.

“We’re super thrilled about how well it’s been used, how well it’s been received,” Jerry Everard, the owner of Spitfire, said.

Mike Nolan, captain of the Seattle Police Department, also spoke in praise of the program.

“This sticker program not only is an educational outreach, it’s a proactive prevention that is where ultimately we want to be,” he said. “It encourages people not to get behind the wheel of any kind of a vehicle when they’re impaired.”

More information about the Nightlife Initiative can be found at seattle.gov/mayor/nightlife.

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Zoo hosts open house for North parking lot reconfiguration

February 21st, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo is hosting an open house from 5-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, to show neighbors designs for its reconfiguration of the North parking lot. The open house will be in the zoo’s ARC building, next to the West entrance, at 5500 Phinney Ave. N.

The reconfiguration will add 165 spaces, remove two storage buildings, and relocate at least seven portable trailers that currently house the zoo’s administrative offices.

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Woodland Park Zoo applies to expand North parking lot

February 7th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo has applied for a permit to expand and re-stripe its North parking lot, adding 165 parking spaces. Two storage sheds will be demolished, and seven portable office buildings will be moved to another site. The project requires SEPA Environmental Determination.

Zoo-north-parking-lot-resized

The North lot, seen from the northeast corner.

The project includes moving about seven mobile trailers that house administrative offices from the Inner North parking lot. They will move to a currently unused space between the penguin exhibit and the zoo’s ARC Building near the West entrance.

Zoo-inner-north-parking-lot-resized

Entrance to the Inner North lot. The administrative trailers are just inside to the right.

David Schaefer, the zoo’s director of public affairs, tells me the zoo currently has 754 parking spaces in five lots: South lot – 265; Tower lot (just off Phinney Avenue near the water tower) – 145; West lot – 57; Inner North – 92; North lot – 195. The project would add another 165 spots, for a total of 919.

The City of Seattle has said it will pay 75 percent of the construction costs, up to $2 million. The zoo is paying for the other 25 percent. Schaefer said they don’t have the final costs yet, because the final design is not yet finished. He says the city asked the zoo to apply for SEPA environmental determination first, then the city will appropriate the money.

The zoo plans to have an open house at the end of the month for neighbors to look at the parking lot designs. The zoo will notify neighbors by mail when the date and time are set.

“There are 30 or 40 days in the summer where there’s just no place to park around here or on the streets,” Schaefer said. “And we think this will be a significant help toward that.”

Comments on the project can be submitted through March 6. You can comment online, by fax to 206-233-7901, or by mail to: Department of Planning and Development, ATTN: Public Resource Center or Assigned Planner, 700 Fifth Ave, Ste 2000, P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA 98124-4019. Include the project number (3014618 ), project address (5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle 98103), and your mailing address with your comment.

(The DPD permit application says the comment period goes to Feb. 20, but Schaefer said they asked for two additional weeks to give people more time to comment. Land use signs on the perimeter of the zoo show the comment period ending March 6.)

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Seattle Department of Transportation paid parking survey

August 9th, 2011 by Doree

While Phinney Ridge and Greenwood do not have parking meters or pay stations, nearby neighborhoods such as Ballard do. Seattle Department of Transportation is conducting an online survey about paid parking, as part of a project to make paid parking more available downtown and in certain neighborhoods.

You can find the survey here (I just did it, and it took less than 10 minutes).

By the way, SDOT has a parking map that lists every paid, permit, carpool, time limited, no parking and unrestricted zone, as well as parking garages and lots. You can zoom in by address, intersection, major landmark, or neighborhood.

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