Seattle parking changes mean higher prices, longer hours

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:

Paid parking will cost more and extend to later hours in certain areas all over Seattle, beginning next week.

The first neighborhood is the Pike and Pine area on Capitol Hill, where prices will jump from $2 an hour to $2.50 an hour.

Signs from the Seattle Department of Transportation popped up at parking meters along East Pike Street on Monday.

They were not a pleasant surprise for Jay Hines.

“It sucks that you have to pay so much to park in- where you live!” she said.

Hines works at the Wildrose bar and lives nearby. She parks on the street, she said, because her apartment’s garage is too expensive.

“It’s just terrible that they keep raising it,” she said. “They’re just going to raise it again and again and again.”

More than half a dozen other areas in Seattle will see parking prices jump before the end of the year, including blocks in the International District, South Lake Union, and the University District.

Five other areas will see paid parking extend until 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. like it is now: streets around 12th Avenue, Cherry Hill, Fremont, Green Lake, and Ballard along a section of Northwest Market Street and along 22nd Avenue NW.

“We need to set the parking rate based on the demand,” Mary Catherine Snyder, SDOT parking strategist, said.

Snyder said increasing rates and extending hours in some busy areas creates more spots because some people choose to park farther away or use public transportation.

“Aren’t you worried that that will hurt some of the business there?” KIRO 7 asked.

“We haven't seen a dramatic drop in activity in the business districts that have had evening paid parking,” Snyder said. “That’s the data we're using to make the decisions about our parking rates.”

But Bradley Howe, the owner of The Kangaroo and Kiwi on Market Street, doesn’t believe it.

Howe worries about his happy hour, which runs until 6:30 p.m., and hopes that customers will still come to his bar rather than another that has easier parking.

“That's rubbish,” he said. “That's rubbish. I don’t have any other word for that.”

SDOT points out that some areas will see decreases in pricing, or no change at all. The department collected $38.6 million from paid parking spaces last year.

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