Exit133 is about Tacoma
Help Fix Tacoma’s Residential Parking Permit Program
The City's Parking Technical Advisory Group is a group of citizens that reviews City parking policy and recommendation improvements to the City Manager. The group has been working on improving Tacoma's Residential Parking Permit program, which a press release this week calls "broken." Now they're looking to the broader public for input on what a new, functional system would look like.
The Residential Parking Permit program is intended to help residents find parking adjacent to their homes in neighborhoods where there is a high demand for parking from nonresidents (think of areas around hospitals, schools, and business districts).
The existing program, such as it is, was established when demands for parking were significantly less than they are now, making the system outdated. It's been more than two years since the City has allowed for the creation of any new residential parking permits.
As Tacoma grows, parking demands from residents and businesses continue to increase. The challenge is to protect residential parking when it is needed, while allowing for some use by other drivers when possible. It's a tricky balancing act, as PTAG Co-chair Steph Farber describes it.
“We know that we want a system that, in neighborhoods, offers parking space priority to residents and their guests during high demand, while still maximizing the use of these publically-owned spaces for the benefit of all users.”
A flow chart from an April PTAG meeting gives you an idea of the complexity of the process... the question is how to make this process something the public can navigate, while still meeting the multiple demands on the program.
It's still a work in progress, but some of the ideas we see include an emphasis on promoting "access and livability," proposed guidelines for how big and how busy an area needs to be for consideration under the program, and a requirement that each permit be issued to a specific vehicle license number.
We also see a propsed system that would not place any limit on the total number of permits issued to any residential address, but would instead create a graduated annual permit fee structure that would make the first couple permits one price, with additional permits for the same household stepping up in price (for example: permits 5 and 6 would cost more than permits 3 and 4, which would cost more than the first two permits). There's also the question of creating a separate system for tracking guest parking permits in these zones.
The permit zones would be based on resident requests, with a majority of residential units in the area being required to sign on to a request before it could move forward.
The public is invited to attend a residential parking permit work session next Thursday, September 18, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Wheelock Student Center at the Univesity of Puget Sound. If you can't make the work session, you can share your thoughts via an online survey.
There are probably a few neighborhoods out there that could use a residential parking permit zone - is yours one of them? What considerations would you like to see included in the process?
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133