parking

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Most of us know the drill: You walk up to one of those green parking meters on the street, put in your change or a credit card, and it spits out a little sticker for your car window. Those machines brought in $37 million last year.

But the city of Seattle says it’s time to upgrade those 10-year-old machines, and it wants the public’s input in choosing the next model.

SDOT: Try The Machines, Give Us Feedback

Seattle Launches Pay-by-Phone Parking Service

Jul 18, 2013

Paying for parking in Seattle is about to get easier.

The city of Seattle is partnering with PayByPhone to allow drivers to pay for street parking on their phones, rather than through pay stations. Likewise, Seattle Police Department Parking Enforcement officers can check their phones for a real-time update on license plates of drivers who have paid by phone. 

The state auditor says the Seattle Center hasn't done a good job of making sure people pay at three city-owned parking garages. 

The three garages took in almost $5 million in revenue last year that went into the Seattle Center budget. State auditor Troy Kelley says he doesn’t have an estimate of how much money the Center may have lost out on, but he says his team found a lot of problems with record-keeping at the garages – one on Fifth Avenue North, one on Mercer Street and one on First Avenue North. 

A single tow-truck charge of nearly $800 made headlines last winter. Now, Seattle leaders are proposing rules that would keep most impound charges under $200.

The city also will create a new inspector's position, to serve as tsar of tow-trucks.

The complete removal of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is years away. The tunnel replacing it won’t open till 2015.

But this summer marks a crucial moment for the iconic Pike Place Market as the waterfront is redeveloped.

Another landmark retailer is leaving Seattle’s Pioneer Square. 

Masins Fine Furnishing and Interior Design has put its building up for lease and started looking for another Seattle location where its customers won’t get so many parking tickets.

The Seattle Department of Transportation writes in its blog that sure enough, a number of on-street parking pay stations “recently experienced some technical problems.”

SDOT says a cell tower lost signal strength intermittently and that caused all the trouble.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Seattle's downtown restaurant owners are still grumbling about rate hikes for metered street parking.

The city's new scheme has been in place for a little over a month. But the controversy hasn't gone away. One of the city's most famous restaurant owners is going public with his concerns.

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.

Brian Teutsch / Flickr

Seattle drivers who've been accustomed to paying the same curbside parking rates at all times of day could soon be faced with variable parking prices based on market factors, with rates higher at busier times. The Seattle Times reports city officials hope variable fees will mean quicker turnover of scarce parking spaces and reduce congestion caused by people who circle blocks looking for an opening. Market-based  parking rates are already in place in several U. S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D. C.

"It helps reduce the traffic congestion, of people finding a spot", said Mary Catherine Snyder, a parking strategist for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

The Seattle Department of Transportation will publish data from its study on parking trends in mid-January, then take several weeks to to reprogram meters to reflect new neighborhood-level rates. Parking meter rates in Seattle will increase this spring to as high as $4.  Included in the City Council's budget is a proposal to require paid parking to a later hour, from the current 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

By 2012, the city would be able to customize rates block by block and alter parking rates by time of day.