The economic recession has introduced uncertainty into the development process even in areas near the Link light rail system. Limited prospects for new development exist in the near-term. Vacant and underused lots and those awaiting development in and around light rail stations in Southeast Seattle may pose a safety hazard as well as create an unsightly condition. In addition to the issues raised by the recession, concerns have been raised that ridership of the new Sound Transit Link light rail system has been lower than projected.
Providing temporary additional parking in this area can facilitate light rail ridership. Additional parking can be provided on sites that are currently vacant, where development is halted, or where parking lots now exist. This is also true of the sites of several institutions outside of Station Area Overlay District boundaries but within a quarter of a mile of the light rail stations themselves.
The Mayor directed DPD to prepare legislation to help address issues of safety, improve the appearance of neighborhoods and provide more riders for light rail. The proposed legislation is intended to help encourage additional people to ride light rail and provide for some economic return on lots near light rail stations. The following is a summary of the proposal.
The legislation would allow light rail parking as an interim use on existing lots in station areas in Southeast Seattle (North Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Othello and Rainier Beach Station Areas) where principal use (commuter) parking is not currently allowed.
- Owners would be able to make parking available to rail commuters, employees and patrons of nearby businesses.
- Light rail commuter and business support parking would further be allowed on lots owned by institutions within walking distance of these light rail stations.
- The proposal would not allow principal structures to be demolished in order to establish a parking use.
- The proposal would limit the number of non-accessory parking spaces that may be established on a lot to 40.
- The interim use parking allowance would be permitted for a maximum term of three years, and the ability to apply for a permit would expire at the end of 2012.
For more information, visit DPD’s website, www.seattle.gov/dpd/planning/LightRailInterimParking/, or contact:
Mike Podowski, Planner