The Seattle City Council voted unanimously today to allow the Director of Transportation to grant parking permits to employees working within Restricted Parking Zones (RPZ). The legislation will allow employees, under certain conditions, to have parking privileges similar to residents living near commercial districts and light rail stations.
The legislation was proposed by Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen after local residents asked the city to give Montlake Elementary School teachers RPZ 1 permits, allowing them all-day access to on-street parking near the school. In recent years, as RPZ 1 has expanded throughout Montlake, school teachers were forced to park farther and farther away, or move their cars every 2 hours. To reduce the burden, some residents donated their guest parking passes to the school. This new legislation could change all of that…
This is where “under certain conditions” come into play. The new rules intend to allow permits for employees without good alternatives for parking, as determined by the director of SDOT. The Council adopted the following guidelines to inform each judgement call:
Among the criteria the Director shall consider in determining whether to grant requests for employee RPZ permits are:
1. Availability of on-street parking on non-RPZ- signed blocks that is within a reasonable walking distance of the employer;
2. Availability of alternate modes of transportation within a reasonable distance;
3. Availability of off-street parking within a reasonable distance;
4. Availability of on-street parking in the RPZ;
5. Time of day that employees work;
6. Number of permits requested by the employer;
7. Existence of other employers within the RPZ that could potentially also request employee permits; and
8. Other hardships that may exist.
For many Montlake residents the call is clear — teachers should be able to park near their school. Whether local businesses should also have the same privileges for their employees is perhaps not as clear. Implementing these new rules is now the pleasure of Seattle’s Director of Transportation.