Residential Parking Permits along South Congress

From Mary Lovell:

The following two posts by Bryan King & Girard Kinney are copied from Austin Neighborhoods Council(ANC)Talk concerning the VMU/RPP resolution to be introduced at Thursday’s City Council meeting.
Please take time to read the resolution and these opinions & think about whether our side of S Congress might need RPP in the future. We have not asked for RPP to date (except one spot on Academy) because we like our merchants and want them to succeed but the changes proposed may make it impossible to get relief if needed in our neighborhood. If you are concerned, please email the city council asap.

Mary Lovell(who has a driveway, but not everyone does)

Chris and/or Bill; please feel free to give me a call about this. I am
very concerned that modifiying the expedited Residential Permitting in
neighborhoods adjacent VMU along corridors is even on the table in this
resolution. As you may know, Cherrywood voted very aggressively to
allow VMU on our perimeter corridors, but that was with the
understanding that, in the future, as the corridors are built out, we
would have this tool to ensure that the projects along the corridors
will provide enough off-street parking to avoid undue overflow into the
adjacent neighborhoods.

I understand that you are only calling for a period of study, and I can
only speak for Cherrywood Neighborhood here, but our neighborhood
identified Safe, Walkable Streets as the number one goal in our Vision
for the neighborhood over ten years ago, and we see overflow parking
into the neighborhood to be one of the, if not the, most important
threats to safe, walkable streets in the interior of the neighborhood.

A very important point is that, in fact, many neighborhoods will not
actually have to USE the expedited RPP as long as it remains an option.
Removing it as an option would be a signal to the development community
that they do not have to provide the parking that their market studies
will show are necessary for the uses they propose. The solution is for
these businesses to provide buildings that provide plenty of off-street
parking, but designed in such a way that today’s structured parking can
morph into tomorrow’s pedestrian-oriented retail, office, etc.

As I think you both know, I believe that alternative modes of
transportation and more live-work options are crucial long-term goals
and are potential solutions to this problem. But the reality is that
overflow parking is a huge problem in the neighborhoods, and it will
only get worse as the corridors densify. I suggest to you that the only
viable solutions to this problem are more structured parking along the
corridors as the corridors are built out, along with frequent transit
service from structured parking not within walking distance. Of course
these parking structures, where they exist in urban areas, should be
designed so that their first floors are flat with enough height that
they can eventually house pedestrian-oriented uses.

I have not yet taken this before Cherrywood (but I will at our Steering
Committee Meeting this Wednesday), so I am only speaking for my self
when I urge you to take any relaxation of the expedited RPP in
neighborhoods adjacent commercial corridors off the table as an option
within the proposed study.

Council Members Chris Riley and Bill Spelman have brought forward a
resolution (see 3. in the draft resolution
the City Council meeting next week that will undo the expedited
residential permit parking (RPP) benefit that was promised to
neighborhoods during the VMU (Vertical Mixed-Use) opt-in/out process.
Neighborhoods and neighborhood plan contact teams diligently and in good
faith spent countless hours during the VMU process determining where VMU
would best fit in their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods with major transit
areas (Core Transit Corridors) were asked to allow zoning overlays
essentially upzoning properties along those transit areas to allow more
density (VMU).

As a trade-off for doing so, neighborhoods that did not opt-out of VMU
along their transit corridors were promised an easier way to obtain
residential permit parking in order to protect single-family areas close
to the corridors from the major overflow parking problems many were
already experiencing. The benefit was not tied in any way to when a VMU
project was actually built because it was a trade-off given to the
neighborhoods for accepting the VMU overlay upzonings. The “expedited
permit parking” benefit was codified as part of the commercial design
standards. Now that the VMU zonings are in place and entitlements have
been granted to commercial property owners, the city wants to renege on
what was promised to neighborhoods and change the commercial design
standards to remove that benefit.

Taking away this important negotiated perk is being done without even so
much as reaching out to or discussing with the affected neighborhoods or
neighborhood plan contact teams. If this resolution is passed it will be
very clear that the city places no value whatsoever on keeping it’s word
where neighborhoods are involved.

Please contact Council with your thoughts with an email before the
Tuesday morning work session where Bill and Chris will introduce the

Bryan King


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