Random Access Memories

September 29, 2010

Partaking of Seattle Parking

by @ 8:08 am. Filed under Personal, Politics

So our “relatively new” Mayor in Seattle wants to raise downtown parking rates.

His budget proposes parking meter fees of $4 per hour. A sharp increase from the $2.50 per hour that is charged now. People are taking sides on the measure now with some downtown businesses saying it would be very bad for their bottom line.

My take on it as a North-Seattle resident with a car? It’s not enough. I say double the current rate to 5$ per hour.

I’ll happily explain why.

First and foremost I only own a car because I previously owned it before I moved to Seattle. Most things I need are within walking distance for me, and if I want to buy something big I could easily go rent a pay-by-the-hour car to pick it up. My car is old and I’ve been hesitant to replace it, because I really just don’t need a newer one. Moving out of Phoenix reduced my driving by over 95%. It’s much better to take the bus and let someone else do the driving. Having said all this if I want or need to drive downtown for something that requires a car I want to be able to find a parking space.

Downtown Seattle is notorious among residents for it’s lack of available street parking with a large number of the available curbside slots taken up by downtown workers that drive. They find the $20 parking fee for 8 hours curbside beats the average 25$ daily commercial garage fees and it’s hard to blame them.

This seems to indicate that a rise in parking fees would be beneficial rather than detrimental to downtown businesses allowing more customers parking spots for an hour or two since fewer workers are using them. I know I would pay more for this.

Also, one needs to look at what businesses there are downtown. The area is not filled with dolor stores, or big box stores, or huge furniture outlets, it’s primarily small retail establishments and high-end restaurants with a smattering of expensive furniture stores and art galleries where the customers are most likely happy to have things delivered and don’t care about the added expense.

The there is the amount of the increase, which would make us the second most expensive city to park in behind Chicago.

Again I say that’s a terrific idea. Seattle is tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and building a multi-billion-dollar tunnel to route traffic past downtown in favor of pedestrian amenities on the surface. This was supported over cheaper projects that took a huge chunk out of the waterfrost area for an above-ground road.

In short we are simply not a “car-friendly” town and our parking rates should support the general attitude of the population to move towards public transit and pedestrian access and away from automobiles. There was no public outcry over previous parking increases, and I doubt there will be one now.

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