Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car
You’ve got about a week to figure out how you’re going to get to the first events at Climate Pledge Arena.
I’m sure that a lot has changed in the neighborhood since you were last there, including the parking rules, and the city and the arena don’t want you to get there by car.
If you have tickets to Coldplay next Friday, or maybe the Seattle Kraken home opener against the Vancouver Canucks the following night, you’d better start planning your trip now because the days of jumping in the car and finding an on-street spot or parking lot near Climate Pledge Arena are over. It is not going to be easy.
There are still garages a short walk away, but most of those will be filled with pre-paid parking passes. Most of the surface lots are gone, and there will be new special event rules for on-street parking to discourage fans from using those spaces, with rates that could go up to $8 an hour the longer you stay.
The Seattle Department of Transportation’s Ethan Bergerson said the city wants to make sure local residents and businesses can still find parking around the arena on event nights.
“We want to prioritize those on-street parking spaces for people who either live in the neighborhood or are going to some of those local businesses,” he said.
If you’re planning to go to the arena, the first thing you need to do is download the Climate Pledge Arena app. You can check if there is still parking available. I found a $50 parking pass for the home opener at a garage two blocks away, and I found a $12 rate at several garages downtown.
But let’s be clear: The goal here is for driving to be your third or even fourth option for getting to the arena. The top option should be public transportation, according to the city and the arena.
For my trip from Snohomish County, Bergerson suggested I drive to Northgate and leave the car there.
“Hop on a light rail, take the monorail, which is another 90-second ride, and then be able to get to the new arena without having to fight your way through that last bit of traffic,” he said. “That’s better for a lot of people in the neighborhood, but it’s probably also faster and easier for you.”
And that is what the city and the arena are pushing. Park elsewhere, take light rail or a bus, and then the monorail. All of those rides on public transportation will be free, if you have a ticket to a game or concert. Parking at the light rail garages is also free. That all means that you will likely save time and money using transit over driving to the game and hunting for parking.
“I’ll bet if you had a race between someone doing that or hunting around for street parking, the person taking transit those last couple of miles is going to win,” Bergerson said.
Public transportation might not be an option for you now, though, if you’re at all concerned about being squeezed into packed trains or onto the monorail during a pandemic. It depends on your personal comfort level.
The city is also installing new traffic signals and finishing a protected bike lane on First Avenue as well. Some streets in the area might be closed or reduced to one lane of traffic on game days.
If you’re thinking of taking a rideshare to the game, be warned that you will not be allowed to be dropped off or picked up on First Avenue near the arena. There are designated places for that closer to MoPop.
Here’s the takeaway: The old ways of getting to the arena have intentionally been made more difficult in order to make public transit a more palatable option for more people, and it might just end up saving you time and money.
Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.