Forch: Lower Parking Rates Downtown, Don't Charge for Parking on Sundays

By Erica C. Barnett October 4, 2011

During a fast-paced joint interview with council incumbent Jean Godden on KING-5 with Robert Mak this week, city council candidate Bobby Forch said he would not support requiring drivers to pay for parking on Sundays, and would consider lowering parking rates downtown. [pullquote]"When you raise these rates people start making conscious choices about whether they want to come downtown or not."---City council candidate Bobby Forch[/pullquote]

Although the city's own analysis showed otherwise, Forch repeated the pro-business dogma that higher parking rates destroy businesses and drive consumers out of town.

"I believe in something called emotional retail, and I do think that when you raise these rates people start making conscious choices about whether they want to come downtown or not," Forch said. "As you walk through different corridors downtown, you'll see a lot of small businesses starting to close up shop. I talked to a gentleman who made just sweets, he's from East Africa, and he made little sweets. He said to me Bobby, if you raise the cost of my sweets and double them, people won't come back, and so for some of these stores, they're losing business because of [higher parking rates]."

As Godden pointed out, Forch's position on downtown parking contradicts findings by his own agency, the Seattle Department of Transportation, which concluded that higher downtown parking rates had no impact on the number of people who chose to park downtown (and that, in fact, lower parking rates didn't increase parking in neighborhoods outside the city center).

In addition to opposing paid parking on Sundays, Forch said he'd want to prioritize freight mobility when deciding whether to add bike lanes or sharrows to existing roads. He did take a more progressive position on the proposed $60 car tab fee to pay for transportation, saying that while the fee is "regressive" (or is it?), "we don't have a lot of other options to get revenues" to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements.
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