News, Politics, Transportation

Seattle Transit Blog on Rainier Beach Parking Fees: When RPZs Attack

The South Seattle Beacon recently published an articlereposted by your RVP – about city plans to start charging Rainier Beach residents $65 to park in front of their own homes.

Today, the Seattle Transit Blog says that article contains inaccurate statements and presents a negative slant on the issue that serves to alienate Sound Transit and the City from the community.

“…at the end of the day, [Sound Transit and the City] would be doing a greater injustice by not fighting the hide-and-riders hogging parking in Rainier Valley neighborhoods,” wrote Seattle Transit Blog writer and Sound Transit employee Sherwin Lee.

From the article:

The Beacon notes that the enactment of the RPZ fee was initiated to help plug up funding for operating the Link Station, when in actuality, the money goes to fund municipal parking enforcement, not Sound Transit coffers.  There’s also no indication of the true nature of RPZ 31– an agreement publicly formed years ago after extensive public outreach, not some deal struck overnight.

Some of those quoted in the article imply that Rainier Valley residents are being unjustly singled out to bear the brunt of RPZ costs.  But not only are RPZs not just limited to the Valley, they’re prevalent across the city, even in neighborhoods that supposedly get the preferential rock-star treatment.  The Beacon also doesn’t any mention of an important component of the RPZ program–a discounted $10 permit available to low-income households — less than 2 cents a day over two years. More.

Photo/Rainier Valley Post

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16 comments on “Seattle Transit Blog on Rainier Beach Parking Fees: When RPZs Attack

  1. The article does seem to misunderstand RPZs – they’re set up by the city, not Sound Transit. And the fees basically cover the enforcement cost to keep outsiders from parking in your neighborhood. The RPZ is self funding; if you don’t want the fees then you should be lobbying to remove the RPZ, not get someone else to cover your bill.

    I know on Beacon Hill when these were initially set up the worry at City/ST outreach or Neighborhood Council meetings was overwelmingly about hide-n-ride parkers clogging the streets and what the city was going to do about it, now now now! This is what the city did to address those concerns – it’s an example of the city responding to South End problems, contrary to the tone of the article.

  2. ” But not only are RPZs not just limited to the Valley, they’re prevalent across the city, even in neighborhoods that supposedly get the preferential rock-star treatment.”

    Like I said before, a co-worker lives on Capitol Hill in an RPZ zone but his permit is paid by Group Health as they are the ones that caused the problem, the same should go for Sound Transit.

  3. Patrick, the problem with the RPZ in the south end is that there isn’t/wasn’t a problem with hide-and-riders. The RPZ was set up in anticipation that there would be, therefore the residents don’t have a frame of reference to understand why they might actually want one. They don’t see the RPZ as doing anything to address parking problems because it’s hard to be concerned about a problem that doesn’t exist.

    The only parking problems I know of in the South end are in Columbia City in the evenings (particularly farmers market days), after the RPZ time has expired for the day.

  4. Chris – agreed, and that’s basically my point. If it’s worth having, it’s worth paying for (especially when it’s $5/year for low income). If it isn’t a problem or not worth the cost, petition the City Council to have it removed – but I don’t see that, I just see requests to have it paid for by someone else (Hi Mark). It’s that kind of attitude that makes Seattle Times comment threads fill up with morons who think “Social Justice” is code for attempting to get free money.

  5. (Hi Patrick)
    Either way this does not effect me as I do not live in an RPZ (yet).
    But I do not understand how I am a moron because I am of the opinion that if you cause the problem you should pay for it (as Group Health does on Capitol Hill)

    “If it’s worth having, it’s worth paying for (especially when it’s $5/year for low income). ”

    But thank you for not explaining it in “Seattle latte math”

  6. “But I do not understand how I am a moron because …” Well neither do I because that’s very clearly not what I stated above. Go read it again and look for who the morons are.

    As for Group Health, I seriously doubt that Link riders are anywhere near the numbers/impact of the GH complex. Particularly at any one station.

    In my personal opinion the RPZs are probably unnecessary, and the city overreacted to resident concern about hide-and-ride parking. But again, it was local residents who asked for these! And if they don’t like it, there’s even a process to remove your block from the RPZ… if they can get 60% of their neighbors to agree.

    And Mark, you’re welcome. Even if it is only 1/10th of a Boracchini’s sheet cake.

  7. Patrick,
    Can you cite where the local residents asked the city for these RPZs? According to Mayor McGinn at the Seward Park Town Hall last month these were city imposed.
    Thanks,
    Tom T

  8. “I just see requests to have it paid for by someone else (Hi Mark). It’s that kind of attitude that makes Seattle Times comment threads fill up with morons who think “Social Justice” is code for attempting to get free money.”

    That’s how it reads.

    “And Mark, you’re welcome. Even if it is only 1/10th of a Boracchini’s sheet cake.”

    I like the substitution, but Sally Struthers holding a malnurished child telling you how much it would cost to feed him / her for a month would probably get more sympathy.

  9. Tom – it’s just my recollection from North Beacon Neighborhood Council meetings at the time and SDOT/ST open houses at El Centro. They were city imposed in the sense that there wasn’t a public vote, but my impression was very much that the city created them in response to people loudly complaining at these types of meetings that outsiders would be coming and taking their parking spots once light rail opened. I’ll willingly add the caveat that maybe no one was worried about the parking impacts at the Rainier Beach meetings, but I doubt it.

    And anyway, who’re you going to believe, McGinn or me? :)

  10. Hi Mark – apologies if it reads that way. I’m trying to say that the borderline-racist Seattle Times comments on any given South End story that dump on us as always wanting a handout or free ride are written by morons.

    But because of that perception we should keep our powder dry and only ask for mitigation in cases that really deserve it, and I don’t think this does. Demanding that everyone gets free permits forever, to be paid for by the city or by Sound Transit, just feeds into the storylines that they’re peddling. If the community as a whole doesn’t think the RPZ is worth the cost, get rid of it and don’t have someone else pay for parking enforcement to drive around in circles.

  11. Well it’s ironic that as I get home tonight, there on the evening tv national news is a lady who is distraught because she cannot afford to pay her mortage. I suspect a few other RVP readers saw this news segment. And that is happening all over the country, including Seattle, along with high unemployment. So Rainier Beach gets hit with a parking fee when its residents are getting their electricity and water shut off.

    In the meantime loads of cars are parked in a long lines up both sides of Renton Avenue, not because they are hide and riders, but because, bafflingly, our public servants did not plan for a parking area at the lightrail station. Is it any wonder that residents of the area are angry? How did our public servants become so out of touch with the needs of the local populace?

  12. This week I had occasion to take an express bus to Bellevue (from downtown Seattle where I work). It was amazing to see all those buses zooming over to Bellevue (where residents have a five story parking garage) to encourage use of public transit! It’s amazing what planners will do for folks in the suburbs! The message is clear. If we want faster and more frequent bus service, and parking near transit hubs, we have to move. (By the way, those low-income RPZ passes are a rip because they are easily sold to the highest bidder.)

  13. Might want to check Seattle Transit Blog’s take over here
    http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/08/19/when-rpzs-attack/

    And in other news that will affect the valley, get ready for the attack of the TOD zealots – http://seattletransitblog.com/2011/08/17/game-over-what-comes-next-after-tunnel-debate/

    “Tunnel opponents (and I am one) have failed to make their case to the voters who cast their ballots in the election on Referendum 1, for all practical purposes an up or down vote on the deep bore tunnel. The question some of us find more interesting than parsing whether this means Seattle is becoming decisive all of a sudden, or if this was a referendum on the Mayor, is what do we talk about now. The answer, I think, is shifting our attention to the far more critical issue of appropriate land use decisions around light rail stations and the expansion of Transit Oriented Development beyond light rail station areas”

  14. The problem with the city is that they let critical opportunities slip by for SE. Google announced in the paper they are expanding offices to Bothell. They already have offices in Kirkland and North Seattle. Did the city even court any tech companies to get their employees to live/work near light rail and diverse employees? Nope, and neither did the city council members seeking relection. The office of economic development and city planners are giving southeast seattle the shaft. The restaurants and shpos and amenities follow after an employer decides to relocate or expand in an area. Just look at SouthLakeUnion.

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