In Seattle, where a walk in the neighborhood is threatened by more cars and less parking

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Walkway or driveway? My neighborhood strolls are often blocked by vehicles straddling the sidewalk.

I’m not talking about a quick pull-in to unload groceries or building supplies. Cars and trucks are parked overnight and often left that way all day. Some partially block the sidewalk, forcing walkers to squeeze between silver bumper and prickly shrubbery. Other cars are completely blocking the sidewalk, forcing school children and dog walkers out in the street. 

The parking practice has become noticeably more common in my North Seattle neighborhood. The other day as I walked with my son, I counted more than a dozen vehicles blocking our pathway to school.

Parking is a looming flashpoint in my neighborhood and other popular neighborhoods in Seattle, especially were people are used to ample parking in front of their homes.

The city’s population is booming, with planners predicting we will see a million new residents here over the next 25 years. The city’s solution: More density and fewer off-street parking requirements for new development. In my neighborhood that means the next time a developer tears down an older single-family home, the developer could be allowed to shoehorn in a multi-story duplex or fourplex building..

We love living close enough to cafes, the grocery store and the library to ditch the Subaru and set out on foot. I am not against growth and urban density. But I do worry that my walks will become less and less enjoyable as more car owners take to the sidewalks in protest.

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