Thursday, June 11, 2015

Council Considering Relaxing Parking Rules for Businesses in Neighborhoods

Wisconsinburger, one of the restaurants that had
requested not to have to provide parking.
A proposed change to parking rules will be on the agenda for next Monday's Spokane City Council meeting. The changes will allow exemptions to parking rules for small buildings located in neighborhood retail zones considered “neighborhood serving and pedestrian-oriented.”

The Spokesman-Review reports that parking spots will no longer be required for buildings smaller than 3,000 square feet. Parking requirements for buildings with less than 5,000 square feet floor area will be determined after the 3,000-square-foot exemption is subtracted from its total area, reducing the amount of spaces they currently must have. Larger buildings will see no change.

There are 313 parcels zoned as neighborhood retail throughout the City. The City Council was looking at exemptions for several of these businesses already on a case-by-case basis and it soon became clear the issue should be examined citywide.

The change could help to stimulate small neighborhood businesses, bring unoccupied buildings back into use and make business areas more walkable and “less car-centric.”

In reality though, having a popular restaurant in a neighborhood can come with problems. The Flying Goat pizza restaurant on Northwest Boulevard had many complaints after opening in 2010 about customers parking in front of driveways and creating traffic jams on a residential street.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.