City Hall

Downtown Seattle Association: Don't Raise Parking Rates

By Erica C. Barnett January 24, 2011

In a move that is, presumably, too little, too late, the Downtown Seattle Association has called on the city council to refrain from raising parking rates as high as $4 an hour until it has time to "reevaluate" the proposed rate increases. In a letter today, the DSA---along with a number of business groups, most of them downtown---writes,
[W]e do not believe that increasing meter rates to $4.00 per hour Downtown, or $2.00 per hour in neighborhoods such as Fremont and the University District, is consistent with the policy objectives established by the City Council nor do we believe the proposed increases are supported by [the Seattle Department of Transportation]’s study. Further, charging for on-street parking until 8 pm in some neighborhoods will directly impact many restaurants that bring pedestrian-scale vitality to our business districts.

Noting that parking demand is less than the maximal 78 percent (enough to leave a space or two per block free) through most of the city for most of the day, the DSA letter continues, "Setting all day rates based on the one hour of the day when demand is greatest is the equivalent of the Seattle Seahawks charging Super Bowl ticket prices for regular season games. We believe this approach is fundamentally flawed and will discourage people from parking in neighborhood business districts."

As we reported earlier this month, the city plans to raise on-street metered parking rates to $4 downtown and reduce rates in neighborhoods north of the central city.
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