It’s Econ 101, really. Raise the price of parking spots at a given time and watch, like a smug Milton Friedman–turned–meter maid, as more spots magically become available. And to that end, this August the Seattle Department of Transportation will begin rolling out a demand-based pricing model. SDOT will increase prices in four locations, including Pike/Pine where average occupancy is 93 percent, and decrease them in seven, like around the U District where occupancy hovers around 56 percent. It’s also extending paid parking hours until 8pm in five locales, including downtown Ballard.
This approach isn’t exactly new. SDOT has experimented with data-driven parking policy since 2011, when, for example, it extended paid parking into the evening. And—surprise—it freed up more spots. So as irritating as it may be that the new regs will force you to consider parking less, it also means others will do the same. Which means more spots will be open, which—as economics works—means you might be able to park more.