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City to consider draft legislation on ‘flexible-use parking’ regulations

Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections is proposing the city adopt new “flexible-use parking” regulations, which would allow buildings with parking facilities to provide excess capacity for public use.

As recommended by the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), this legislation also clarifies existing regulations that provide flexibility for residential projects to tailor their supply of off-street parking in accordance with demand in Urban Villages, Urban Centers and other areas served by frequent transit. By reducing the provision of excess parking, this policy decreases construction costs and encourages more housing in communities best served by transit, lowering the cost of building housing overall.

In Urban Centers and Urban Villages with frequent transit service, we’ve found that 87% of housing units are in developments where parking is provided. However, a recent King County study that surveyed hundreds of residential buildings countywide (including 95 in Seattle) found that 35% of residential parking garage spaces were not in use. This proposal aims to remove code barriers to allow more daily and overnight use of these unused off-street parking spaces, creating more parking opportunities for residents, visitors, and shoppers to store their vehicles off-street and walk, bike, or ride transit to get around town.

You can see the draft documents here, along with environmental determinations, transit maps and other supporting materials.

And you can comment on the draft legislation’s environmental aspects until Oct. 5 by emailing comments to gordon.clowers@seattle.gov.