Area covered by city parking permits criticized, city to consider changes

By Jack Mayne

People living outside the city’s new parking permit restricted area want the SeaTac City Council to include their neighborhoods because of unavailability of parking near their homes, the council heard during its regular meeting Tuesday night (June 25).

Mayor Erin Sitterley also memorialized the longtime service to the city of former Councilmember and Mayor Terry Anderson, 87, who passed away on June 20, 2019. Anderson first took office in September 1989, during the City’s pre-incorporation, and she served consecutively until the end of 2015.

“She was one of the first four women who were on the Council when we were incorporated as a city, (she was) a mayor and deputy mayor. She served consecutively until 2015.”

Sitterley said Anderson was “a force to be reckoned with, one of the feistiest and funniest people I’ve ever met. She led our city with grace and honor. SeaTac would not be SeaTac if it weren’t for her leadership and influence.”

Demand Parking Permits
The SeaTac city website says the recently approved residential permit parking program is “to help manage parking in congested neighborhoods” and affects primarily the McMicken Neighborhood. Some resident complain either the system was never made clear to them or their area was not a part of the parking permit program. Many said they should have been included.

Councilmember Pam Fernald said later in the meeting after the parking permit protestors had left City Hall, that the city “is aware of their concerns … and it is in process of being resolved.” Some believe the restricted permit area could be widened to accommodate many who feel such restrictions could help. She added she was “a little disappointed that they came in and demanded anything — maybe the word has not gotten out that the city trying to solve the problem, perhaps widening the permit area.”

Basically, the permit program requires “residents or business owners who want to park for longer than three hours in the parking zone will need to register their vehicles” and that there will be “up to two parking permits per address for the vehicles that are registered to their address within the parking zone.”

During the Council public comment period at the Tuesday night meeting, several complained they were not informed or allowed to comment on the permit program, because the area in which they live was not considered or included in the parking permit area approved by the Council.

Never included
Rahel Ambachew (pictured, right), a resident of Windsor Heights Apartments, said residents there were “never included in the decision making on the parking permit program” and never received “any newsletters from the city.” She and others were protesting the fact the apartment complex was left out of the parking permit program.

Ambachew said the residents “demand that Windsor Heights Apartments receive up to two free parking permits” and would like to ask the Council “why are we being subjected to this program and not being included. It was never explained to us … we would like to know why we were never included in this parking program.”

Anam Hakim (pictured, left), 16 and a lifetime resident of the city, was also an objector to the recently approved parking permit program because Windsor Heights apartment complex is not included in it, and being excluded has “made it hard on many members of our community” and “many of us have to park at least five block away from where we live, which is difficult for many members of our community.”

Those who try to apply for a permit, said Hakim, are told they are denied “just because of where we live.”

Residents Yosan Testay and Sergio Chavez also said they wondered why their apartment complex was left out of the parking permit area, forcing them to walk several blocks, often at late hours, to find parking or to get to their parked cars.

New prosecutor
Acting City Manager Steve Pilcher introduced new Prosecuting Attorney Abraham Ritter.

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