A “new normal” that preserved our currently free street parking situation indefinitely during the coronavirus pandemic was always a pipe dream. Still, the Seattle Department of Transportation's inevitable announcement that paid parking will resume wasn't the dose of reality we needed this week.
The new policy, which goes into effect on Monday, July 13, will also reinstate time limit enforcements for free spots. The city had suspended these regulations back in April, allowing drivers to park anywhere outside of restricted zones scot-free.
Rates won’t be as high as normal; they’ll start at 50 cents per hour, the minimum allowed by the Seattle Municipal Code. (The maximum is $5 an hour, if you’re curious.) After a month of data gathering, SDOT will revisit the cost.
The return of these policies should open up spaces in front of stores more frequently, SDOT writes in a blog. “Businesses are reopening, and reliable access at the curb for customers is critical for recovery.” The city’s curbside pickup zones were also established with that goal in mind. (Some drivers may have picked up tickets in recent weeks while parked in those areas or loading zones.)
Health care permit parking, which lets workers park for free on streets around hospitals and Covid-19 testing sites, will continue through at least the end of the month. So, at least there's that.