Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections has decided that its rule of determining parking requirements based on nearby “frequent transit” should be decided on scheduled bus service, not actual service.
The development proposed for 6726 Greenwood Ave. N., where Ed’s Kort Haus and Stumbling Goat restaurant used to be, calls for 57 housing units plus ground-floor retail with no parking. A group of neighbors called Livable Phinney banded together and appealed four parts of the project, including the frequent transit determination. Livable Phinney showed that Metro buses didn’t arrive as often as scheduled, meaning the project should be required to have some parking. Last year the Hearing Examiner reversed two of SDCI’s determinations and remanded two others for further analysis, including the frequent transit determination. The developers addressed the other three issues, leaving SDCI to analyze its parking requirements.
Based on further consideration, the Department has concluded that qualification for parking reductions based on frequent transit service must be determined based on scheduled bus arrivals rather than actual arrival times. No bus line runs perfectly on schedule, and it would not be possible to guarantee that any line would not have gaps in actual service, at times, that are inconsistent with the intervals stated in the frequent transit definition. The code provides no basis for evaluating whether actual arrival times meet the frequent transit parameters often enough for a bus line to be considered good enough to qualify. Evaluating whether the service on a route qualifies as frequent transit based on scheduled rather than actual arrival times is consistent with the definitions in the code and the City’s transportation planning practices. Based on the bus schedule, the project site has frequent transit service.
You can read the full Interpretation here.
SDCI’s Interpretation can be appealed. Appeals must state specifically why the appellant believes the Interpretation is incorrect, and be accompanied by an $85 filing fee in a check payable to the City of Seattle, and sent to: City of Seattle, Hearing Examiner, 700 5th Ave., Suite 4000, P.O. Box 94729, Seattle, WA 98124-4729. Appeals must be received by 5 p.m. March 1.