Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

McGinn suspends enforcement of ordinance banning private park and rides near light rail

Newly inaugurated Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn deserves big props for moving quickly to fix a recently publicized problem resulting from enforcement of a Seattle city ordinance intended to promote mixed use development.

The problem was that the city had been telling private landowners who own lots adjacent to stations that they could not sell all-day parking permits to would-be Link light rail riders. That's because one of the objectives of the aforementioned ordinance is to prevent the further proliferation of parking lots, which take up valuable space that could be occupied by homes and businesses.

Enforcement of the ordinance, however, was resulting in an unnecessary city crackdown on private parking. This isn't new parking we're talking about; the all-day parking spaces that were being sold (before the city showed up) to riders already exist. Why not let people take advantage of them?

At the price of, oh, say, thirty dollars a space, the parking is hardly "free", so it doesn't encourage automobile use, nor does it promulgate the myth that there is no cost to society when we drive everywhere.

As Mayor McGinn acknowledged in a press release yesterday evening, "We don’t want the primary land use around those stations to be parking, and we certainly don’t want businesses to be torn down for parking... [but] it’s good for local businesses and commuters to be more flexible now."

We agree. Kudos to Mayor McGinn for reversing the city's course and pledging to develop a smarter parking policy in the coming days. This is the kind of responsive and accountable government that we like to see.


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