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Seattle to extend evening paid parking to more popular neighborhoods

The Seattle Department of Transportation will adjust paid parking hours and rates for a number of areas around the city based on the findings of its annual survey. (MyNorthwest.com file)

Drivers in Seattle will soon have to pay later in the evening to park in five more areas including Fremont and Ballard. And the cost of parking is going up in some of the busiest neighborhoods.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has just completed its annual paid parking study, which it uses to determine rates, time limits and paid hours of operation.

SDOT says its goal is to ensure drivers can reliably find a parking space and that parking turns over frequently enough to provide regular access to local businesses. When more than 85 percent of the spaces on a street are regularly full, the city changes the rates or hours.

“City law set parking rates so one to two spaces are open per block throughout the day,” says SDOT parking strategist Mary Catherine Snyder.

Drivers will find paid parking extended until 8 p.m. in the following neighborhoods:

-Ballard core, including Northwest Market Street

-Fremont

-Twelfth Avenue near Seattle University

-Green Lake retail areas, northeast of the lake.

-Cherry Hill near Swedish Medical Center

Snyder says parking in those areas has grown increasingly difficult, especially in the evenings.

“I think putting in paid parking until 8 makes it easier for people to find a spot, especially at 6. It can really help people find a spot, go out to dinner and stay for the evening.”

In all, the city plans 22 different rate and hours adjustments between now and the end of year.

While some might complain about having to pay later in the evening, Snyder says it hasn’t deterred drivers from flocking to popular neighborhoods where parking has been enforced until 8 p.m.

“So people are really still going to Pike/Pine, Capitol Hill, downtown, the areas that we have evening paid parking right now,” she says.

Parking fees will increase to $3.50/hour in Capitol Hill’s booming North business district, and $3.00/hour in the Denny Triangle South neighborhood. The University District and Pike/Pine areas will see hourly rates increase to $2.50, while rates will increase to $2.00/hour in South Lake Union.

In some areas where demand for parking is lower than target occupancy, SDOT will lower hourly rates to encourage more people to park. Hourly rates will decrease to between $1.00 and $1.50/hour in neighborhoods including the Ballard Periphery, Belltown North, the edge of the International District, Denny Triangle North
and the University District Periphery.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure there’s reliable, convenient parking available in the morning, evening and afternoon so that people can always find a place to park,” Snyder says.

The Seattle Times reports SDOT generated $38.6 million in parking revenues from 12,500 paid spaces, last year, a 5.4 percent increase from $36.6 million in 2012. Analysts attribute the growth to the city’s continued economic growth.

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