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Addressing Affordability in Seattle through Parking Policy


While many people enjoy the luxury and convenience of on-site parking, most do not know that their parking spot is raising the cost of their housing. Many cities, including Seattle, have minimum parking requirements that regulate the amount of parking spaces built for new residential dwelling units. The average cost of building a parking space in Seattle is $35,000, so housing developers drive up costs to cover the expensive cost of parking. Given the high cost of housing in Seattle, how can we change our approach to parking policies to address affordability? My qualitative study examines current policies around minimum parking in Seattle and uses case studies from various international cities to explore alternative practices. This information is supplemented with feedback from local multi-family housing developers to grasp the financial implications of my recommendations. I recommend that Seattle look into maximum parking limits and parking caps as a change in direction that could decrease housing cost through construction savings and by freeing up existing parking lots for infill housing developments.