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such as it is, was established when demands for parking were significantly less than they are now, making the system outdated.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?

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Jenny JRegistered

It might be useful to have something like this for the residents in the neighborhood around Multicare and Stadium District, but I worry about how complicated it would be to have a guest pass or whatever they end up with, every time someone drops by for a visit.

September 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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The problem is Tacoma is destructively,excessively motor vehicle dependant leading to a soon future of a devastating catastrophe of absolute ruination when petroleum fuels will become scarce in a few decades from now.It will happen and there won’t be enough electricity if everyone had an electric car instead.
What would you do if gasoline cost $150 per gallon and there were immobile junkers parked on the street blocking any traffic?
In that time cars will be the ugly unwanted garbage heaps of society.
Instead of letting these unsustainable environmentally destructive killing machines hog valuable street space (especially for parking),the city should wisely plan to free the space instead for active travel vehicles (human powered) like bicycles and velomobiles.Face it there is a car basically for every Man,Woman,Teenager,pre teen and toddler in the United States.It’s ridiculous and insane.People have a hard time getting anywhere because of the gridlock caused by cars.Car traffic takes over half a cities space making many destinations twice as far as would be needed otherwise.Outlaw on street residential parking except for perhaps commercial purposes which will be needed.
If you can’t park in your driveway you or your family have too many cars.

September 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3


Cool story, bro.

The obvious solution is that we all scrap our cars and take turns riding your high horse.

September 15, 2014 at 3:08 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3


If cars are outlawed, then only outlaws will have cars.

September 15, 2014 at 10:46 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ron Pulliam

It would be helpful to know Where the meeting is taking place.

September 14, 2014 at 9:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Sorry about that - the meeting will be held in the Wheelock Student Center at UPS.

Here’s the event:

September 15, 2014 at 9:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I recommend resident only parking passes for Proctor Safeway. I have the hardest time finding parking after having driven 5 blocks to get there. And don’t even get me started on Met Market! These are MY grocery stores. Get outta my way.

September 15, 2014 at 10:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Unless you’re badly physically handicapped 5 blocks should be an easy short distance walk maybe between a quarter and a third of a miles distance.At 2 miles per hour walking that would be merely a 10 minute walk (should be easy for normal people).
Just buy your own personal shopping cart like many Pierce Transit bus passengers do.Need to carry more for your family get your wife and kids their own carts too and have them come along.Either that or just purchase less groceries more often with your own cart.Integrate it into a daily walk health program.
No need to waste gas and pollute the planet for such a very close destination.
You won’t be frustrated by desperately looking for a parking space and you will be healthier in the long run too.

September 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Nice to see Narcissus has the time stop by to offer one way enlightenment to the benighted.

September 16, 2014 at 9:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 1


Now I understand why your username isn’t RHTCCSarcasmfan.

September 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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June 12, 2018 at 8:26 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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