The first key finding of this study is that more than 90% of Center City alleys are only one-lane wide.
This [not so] surprising fact creates an upper limit on alley parking capacity, as each alley can functionally hold only one or two vehicles at a time. Because there is no room to pass by, when a truck, van, or car parks it blocks all other vehicles from using the alley.
Another key finding is that 73% of Center City area alleys contain entrances to passenger parking facilities [and all new projects are proposing their parking garage entrances in the alley]. Placing garage entrances in alleys has been a city policy goal for years. But it increases the frequency of cars in alleys and adds demands on alley use.
According to the study, "these findings indicate that, due to the fixed alley width constraint, load/unload space inside Seattle’s existing Center City area alleys is insufficient to meet additional future demand”. So, with this UW/SDOT study confirming the inadequacies of Seattle's 100 year old downtown alleys, why would the City continue to allow irreversible disastrous decisions with generational adverse impacts to be made in Downtown Seattle? There can only be one answer…the city thinks this is the answer to their budget problems, and the developers are more than willing to open their pockets and accommodate them.
While the 119 page study has a wealth of good information, and we agree with the basic Recommendations, there is once again not the sense of urgency that is desperately needed. The streets are overflowing, we need to act now to stop the insanity. The residents of Downtown Seattle don’t have the luxury of waiting for years for policies that should have been implemented years ago.