Seattle responds to criticism, adjusts scheduled parking rate increases

Jan 27, 2011

Seattle parking rates are going up in 4 neighborhoods, down in 11 neighborhoods and will stay the same in 7 others. Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan says the upshot is that 73% of the city’s paid parking spaces will either stay the same or get a rate reduction. But several areas still face big hikes and community leaders are worried.

Rates in Seattle’s commercial core will still increase, from today’s $2.50 an hour to $4 an hour, while rates in Ballard will drop from $2 an hour, to $1.50 an hour.  The city has published a chart with details for each neighborhood.

These are adjustments to rate changes previously announced and criticized by neighborhood groups and affected businesses.  As KPLU has previously reported, the Downtown Seattle Association is worried the increased cost will scare away evening customers, as are many small businesses in adjacent neighborhoods. They say the changes could actually do more harm than good to the city's budget. 

But the city promises to will monitor the changes and continue to adjust rates as necessary.  Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, transportation committee chair, issued the following statement:

“The Transportation Committee will be watching implementation of the new rates closely.  We’ll be asking SDOT for regular updates on whether they are achieving our policy goal of making parking more readily available in neighborhood business districts.  We will also be asking neighbors and business owners for their observations about how the new policies are working.  This information will allow us to determine if we must make changes in the policy, ” Rasmussen said.

The city’s new parking rates will be phased in over two months, neighborhood by neighborhood, beginning in February.