Today, in a top-billed story about efforts to build a two-block-long park in Ballard on a median strip currently occupied by parking, reporter Lynn Thompson portrays the park discussion as a "battle over parking." Noting that Mayor Mike McGinn has proposed giving condo developers in areas with frequent transit service the ability to build less parking if buyers don't want it, Thompson writes,
Opponents point to two big apartment buildings being built within a few blocks of the park project — a 265-unit building at 14th Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street and a 165-unit building on the opposite side of Market.
They say that if the new parking regulations were in place, their neighborhood would be overrun with other people's cars.
Notice that rhetorical flourish? If the parking regulations were in place. Which they aren't. Not to mention the fact that, again, the new "regulations" (actually, deregulation) would only enable the free market, rather than the government, to dictate how much parking gets built. It's pretty hard to imagine a successful condo development with hundreds of units and no parking; in fact, the 265-unit building Thompson mentions includes far more parking than is required under current law---320 stalls.
So what's the real story here? In short: A few cranky neighbors (fewer than 20 out of more than 100 who've shown up at two recent park-planning meetings, Thompson reluctantly notes, six paragraphs into the story) are mad that some parking may be removed in an area that has more available on-street parking than nearly any other neighborhood in the city---about 400 spaces in a four-block radius.
The Times has made it clear that they believe parking should be dictated by government fiat, rather than the free market. It's unfortunate that they can't keep that view on the editorial page, where it belongs.
Ironic footnote: The reason Ballard has so much parking is because the city tore out the old Ballard streetcar, which previously occupied the median.