The El Centro de la Raza parking lot is a step closer to existence. On March 21, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that allows parking lots of up to 100 spaces as interim uses on sites “occupied or owned by established institutions within a quarter mile of a light rail station, including the North Beacon Hill light rail station.” Earlier proposed versions of the ordinance limited all lots to 40 spaces.
El Centro has expressed an intent to put 80 parking spaces on the lot directly south of their building, which is located across South Lander Street from Beacon Hill Station.
The ordinance also allows parking lots of up to 40 spaces on other properties within Southeast Seattle station areas, however, this part of the ordinance excludes the Beacon Hill station area.
The City Council’s press release on the ordinance quotes Councilmember Sally J. Clark: “We want to see these lifeless, empty parking spaces serve a use, at least until the economy rebounds. Allowing longer-term parking, particularly at places like El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill, will serve as a handy resource for game-day fans hoping to avoid parking around Safeco Field or Qwest Field.”
The ordinance will not allow permanent parking lots; permits for the lots will expire after three years.
The El Centro parking lot has been the subject of some neighborhood controversy, as seen by a lively discussion on our earlier post. BHB contributors Melissa Jonas and Joel Lee also posted dueling opinion pieces, one supporting the parking lot, and one suggesting different uses.