Seattle adjusting street parking rates and considering high event rates around arena

SEATTLE — In the pandemic, Seattle street parking suddenly got very cheap.

Salvio Varchetta lives downtown, where he pays 50 cents an hour instead of the pre-COVID-19 five bucks.

“What I’m paying right now is good. Right now the fares are really good. When they go back to normal, it’s not good. It’s way too much,” Varchetta said.

Starting June 1, street parking rates will rise in several neighborhoods, but only to a maximum of $2.50 an hour.

“We use the laws of supply and demand to find the right parking rate in order to make sure that people can find one or two open spaces per block in busy neighborhoods,” said Ethan Bergerson of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

The Uptown neighborhood will soon get a lot busier when Climate Pledge Arena opens, bringing more than 10,000 people to hockey games and concerts.

New bike lanes and transit upgrades will help fans get here, and neighborhood leaders have a message for those who still plan to drive.

“We want them to leave their house and go directly into a parking lot and not circle neighborhoods looking for that unicorn parking space that everybody wants to find,” said Deborah Frausto of the Uptown Alliance.

To avoid that, the neighborhood organization wants special event street parking rates, just as expensive as private lots, approved by the city before the arena opens.

“We think you need to create people’s habits from day one so they get used to having to do that,” Frausto said.

SDOT stated officials are developing a proposal for event rates in Uptown to present to the City Council in June but that no initial opening rates have been finalized.

Event rates in Uptown are among the parking changes the city is considering for later this year.

Others include expanding residential parking zones and more paid street parking around the new light rail stations in the University District and Northgate.