Seattle parking hours could last even later into the night

Sep 22, 2016, 5:50 AM | Updated: 12:57 pm

Parking is a lot of things in Seattle: a skill, a prize, and a major pain. Now city officials are considering how to manage Seattle parking in the future. And that likely means people will pay for parking later into the night.

“We know we have occupancy issues in areas where we have a nightlife,” Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson said during Tuesday’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting. “Where we don’t charge for parking after 8 p.m.”

That includes neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and Belltown.

Seattle city council considers lowering speed limits in town

“Having a data-driven approach would lead us to conclusions of having longer periods of (paid parking) time,” he said.

That’s exactly the direction Seattle parking could be heading, according to representatives with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

SDOT representatives informed the council committee that Mayor Ed Murray’s coming budget will include a portion that will raise paid parking hours in some areas past 8 p.m.

Seattle parking until 10 p.m. or midnight?

The City of Seattle implemented a parking plan in 2010. That plan sets policy in which parking is not managed to create revenue. Rather, Seattle parking prices are aimed at keeping some spots open. The idea is that people will move their cars, or not park as long when they have to pay a certain price. Therefore, a spot will be freed up for the next driver. Ideally, one or two spots will be available in each block in paid areas throughout the day.

At first, paid parking went to 6 p.m. Then it was upped to 8 p.m. in some areas over the past few years.

“We set on-street prices based on demand,” said Mike Estey, SDOT’s parking program manager, further commenting that Seattle has the best parking program in the country – the best practices. “The beauty of all of this, it has taken the politics out of what is a third-rail, controversial, challenging issue in terms of setting rates.”

While Seattle parking is not revenue driven, it does take in considerable cash for the city. According to SDOT’s presentation to the council committee, Seattle’s 12,250 parking spaces generated $37.04 million in 2015. A majority of those parking fees — $23.16 million — were collected in district 7 of Seattle which includes downtown. The second highest generator of parking fees was district 3 with $7.26 million. District 3 includes Capitol Hill and the Central District.

But paid parking until 6 or 8 p.m. is not handling the high demand for spots in some areas of Seattle.

“We followed the data and found that there’s not some cliff that demand falls off at 5 or 6 p.m.,” Estey said. “Now, in most parts of the city we have parking extending to 8 p.m. In places like Pike, Pine and Capitol Hill where it looks like the data continues out, we’ve started to collect more data out to 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight … that’s where the data shows there is still a lot of demand, occupancy is still high, and so those are the next places we’ll go to and look and see if we have access issues.”

“We will work with the community, look at the data and see if we need to extend hours a little further,” he said.

He said that the city adjusts parking prices annually to better manage the spots. Estey informed the committee that Seattle will soon be replacing old pay boxes with updated technology. This will give the city the ability to charge different rates at different times of the day. Morning rates will be different than afternoon rates, and different than evening rates — all depending on the demand for parking in an area.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Ultrasound of Akenji's baby. Akenji is a gorilla at the Woodland Park Zoo....

Julia Dallas

Woodland Park Zoo shares ultrasound pictures of popular animal for the first time

For the first time in its 125-year history, the Woodland Park Zoo has shared ultrasound pictures of this animal.

9 hours ago

Photo: A Washington State ferry pulls up to the dock on March 29, 2020 in Edmonds, Washington....

Julia Dallas

Why were Washington ferries out of service this weekend?

It's been a tough Memorial Day weekend for those using Washington ferries as many travelers have been faced with cancellations.

11 hours ago

Photo: Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle detectives looking for vehicle involved in deadly hit-and-run

Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened in the Denny Triangle neighborhood Friday.

11 hours ago

Photo: Seattle police are investigating a deadly shooting that happened in Pioneer Square....

Julia Dallas

Seattle officers investigate deadly shooting

Police are investigating a deadly Seattle shooting that happened Saturday around 11:15 p.m. in Pioneer Square.

14 hours ago

Photo: King County deputies are searching for this suspect in connection to an assault on a Sound T...

Louie Tran, KIRO 7 News

King County deputies search for suspect in connection to Sound Transit light rail attack

King County deputies are searching for a woman in connection to an assault on a Sound Transit light rail on April 21.

15 hours ago

Image:A portrait of Officer Vancouver Police Department officer Donald Sahota is displayed as he is...

The Associated Press

Man convicted of murder in death of Vancouver police officer shot by deputy

A Yakima man was found guilty of murder for his role in the death of a Vancouver police officer who was shot by a sheriff's deputy in error.

1 day ago

Seattle parking hours could last even later into the night