With the goal of making it easier to park, today the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is making changes to evening on-street paid parking in the Pike-Pine neighborhood, the first of nine such areas. The evening parking changes will support more reliable access and available parking for people going to restaurants and other evening activities such as theaters, movies and area nightlife.
Starting this week, as soon as new signs reflecting the time change appear on each block in the Pike Pine area, business patrons and visitors will be able to pay for up to three hours after 5 p.m., rather than the two-hour daytime limit. This means a person arriving after 5 p.m. can pay for three hours and be able to stay parked in that spot all evening, making going out to dinner and a movie or other event much easier and more convenient.
Funding for the installation of the new signage was approved last year by the City Council during consideration of the 2012 City Budget.
In 2012, SDOT is revising paid parking rates and/or hours in a total of 17 neighborhoods. SDOT is also introducing “Value” blocks, where edges of neighborhood business districts will have either a lower rate or a longer time period to park. By creating these “Value” blocks, SDOT hopes to influence some parkers to find spaces a little farther away, thereby freeing up some space in the crowded center, and better using the parking that is just a short walking distance from their destination.
SDOT’s past efforts to extend paid parking hours into the evening is proving to result in more parking availability. SDOT studies found in the Pike-Pine area that evening parking is consistently over 100% full, making customer parking extremely difficult to find, and an indication that cars are squeezed close together and parked too close to intersections. The results of the June 2011 Pike-Pine parking study at 7 p.m. showed average occupancy of well over 120%. After evening paid parking was enacted, the September 2011 study found the average occupancy had dropped to 105%. While still very full, this means that people are more likely to find a space on some blocks.
SDOT will continue to adjust rates and parking times based on a data-driven approach. SDOT will conduct the 2012 Annual Paid Parking study this summer and fall.
In addition, SDOT expects to launch its pay-by-phone program this fall, which will allow motorists the added convenience of being able to use their mobile devices to purchase street parking, as well as being reminded when their parking is about to expire, and being able to extend the time remotely if they have not yet reached the maximum time.
Contact: Peg Nielsen, 206.684.8114