Changes to late-night on-street parking restrictions are under consideration for areas of Capitol Hill. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is taking a particularly close look at on-street parking near the commercial corridors of Broadway and Pike/Pine. SDOT says that parking utilization continues to regularly reach the 100% utilization mark from the 8pm to 11pm time period. To address the high demand, SDOT is evaluating changes that could extend paid park and and two-hour time limit restrictions to encourage more turnover of parking spaces. Importantly, higher turnover rates generally increase access to a location and increase business activity.

Parking utilization in the Capitol Hill South area in 2015 and 2016, which is locate north of E Pine St and includes the areas along and between E John St to the north, Harvard Ave E to the west, and 12th Ave E to the east. (City of Seattle)
Parking utilization in the Capitol Hill South area in 2015 and 2016, which is locate north of E Pine St and includes the areas along and between E John St to the north, Harvard Ave E to the west, and 12th Ave E to the east. (City of Seattle)
Area of where the parking changes are proposed. (City of Seattle)
Area of where the parking changes are proposed. (City of Seattle)

Currently, paid parking and time restricted parking is in force Monday through Saturday across Capitol Hill. Paid parking is variable by time of day with the highest rates generally in the evening. Paid parking runs from 8am to 8pm with two-hour time limits from 8am to 5pm and three-hour time limits after 5pm.

SDOT has put forward three different options for changes with all three extending paid parking until 11pm. Option 1 would retain the three-hour maximum time limit with variable demand-based pricing. Option 2 would create a flat-rate paid parking price between 5pm to 11pm. And Option 3 would create an hourly paid parking scheme between 5pm and 11pm; this would drivers to pick a minimum of one hour and up to six hours of paid parking.

The three options that SDOT is considering. (City of Seattle)
The three options that SDOT is considering. (City of Seattle)

Option 1 would lead to the most amount of parking turnover out of the three options while Option 2 would likely have the least.

Examples and comparisons of the options. (City of Seattle)
Examples and comparisons of the options. (City of Seattle)

Public input on the proposals is due by Friday, May 12th. SDOT plans to institute a change this fall, so feedback on the draft proposals will be instrumental in shaping the outcome. Other changes to Capitol Hill parking restrictions are already in the works with the major expansion of Restricted Parking Zones (RPZ) near Capitol Hill Station. SDOT is currently installing the signs with the expansion coming into effect in June. Separately, SDOT has chosen not to create an RPZ in Central Ballard due to opposition to the proposal.

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Capitol Hill Station Is A Factor In Restricted Parking Zone Changes

23 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting. I assume Option 1 and Option 3 would both lead to either nearly empty streets or more likely a high rate of ignoring the law (I suppose this depends on how much enforcement happens, and I doubt the city will have many traffic officers on the street at 3am). At least with flat rate we have an incentive to legally use the space for what most people use it for anyway after 11pm: storing their vehicles.

    • I’m pretty sure the time resections end when paid parking ends, so if you pay through the end at 11pm, you are allowed to stay in that spot until the meters start again the next morning.

      • Oops. I clearly misunderstood. In that case I like Option 3. People can park overnight starting at 5pm if they want to enough, and the city can adjust this rate to keep a few spots open.

  2. Why does Capitol Hill need parking at all? They have light rail and a street car, they can go to either the UW, Downtown, or Angle Lake. Make Capitol Hill a parking free zone, they deserve it.

    • On street parking has a safety benefit towards pedestrians while providing options for those that drive. I have no issue with on street parking provided that it is priced such that taxpayers are not subsidizing the drivers for driving.

      • You “have no issue with on street parking provided that it is priced such that taxpayers are not subsidizing the drivers for driving.” Well you must be against light rail where riders are being subsidized by others not riding.

        • Over the full life of the automotive age the amount of money that has been spent on car centric development and subsidies far outweighs that of mass transit. That fact has contributed to a toxic culture of “free parking.” I’m for subsidizing efficient, environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

          • The net cost to the government when you factor in subsidies for health care and environmental damage caused for someone to bike are huge in terms of return on investment. It makes sense to provide free bike parking.

        • The other issue is mode accessibility. Those that own cars are far more likely to be able to afford an ORCA card than vice versa. Asking those who can’t afford a car to subsidize the cost of owning one for those who can is regressive AF.

          • No one is subsidizing the cost to own my car. All those property tax raises for ST3 are “regressive AF” for everyone in Seattle.

          • Then perhaps you ought to do some more research because every time you park for free anywhere other than your own driveway, people are subsidizing the cost of owning your vehicle.

          • I never knew a parked car cost so much money. If I park in 5 different spots in 1 day, does that cost more than if I keep my car parked in the same spot all day? Are all free parking spots costing everyone money used or unused? How come know one has given me any subsidy $’s?

          • Land has inherent value. If you owned a parcel of land with a house and left the house vacant then you would not be getting the full value of the land. If you let someone use that house for free then you would be subsidizing their cost of living by letting them use it for free. The same principle applies to parking spaces with the exception that those spaces are owned by the city and the city is a proxy for the people. When you allow people to park for free on the public right of way, you are subsidizing the cost of owning a car by letting them use a valuable piece of land for free. In regards to your previous question about parking in 5 different places vs the same place it would depend on the location. Parking close to popular areas would be more expensive because there is more demand (just like how the parking garages next to Safeco during baseball games are $30 but if you park a mile away it is free). It all depends on where you would park.

          • The marginal cost of me parking on one side of the street or the other side is $0. Are we not talking about real, actual costs? like the increase in costs in car tabs and property taxes due to ST3.

          • Fine, if you want to talk about actual costs (even though the lost value on expensive land is a real cost) then how about the Sightline report that those that rent apartments on average pay about $250 towards the cost of the parking garage in their rent each month regardless of if they own a car or not. City parking minimums require that apartment buildings build parking for their tenants, the costs to rent the spaces in those garages nowhere near meets the initial cost of the garage over the life of the structure and all tenants are forced to make up the difference through the cost of their rent. That’s nearly $3000 a year that each renter subsidizes parking for drivers so that nearby neighborhoods can maintain their free on street parking.

            Here’s the link: http://www.sightline.org/research_item/who-pays-for-parking/

      • Taxpayers are subsidizing light rails that won’t get full utilization. Transit is great, but the way we are developing transit is extremely inefficient.

        We are a growing city but we are not NYC, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

    • Parking remains an important part of the transportation toolkit, especially for off peak trips.

      I’m happy to remove parking if that space is being re-purposed for bike lanes, bus lanes, etc., but I see no need to remove parking from the secondary streets in CapHill. As Alex states, parking on those streets plays an important role in traffic calming and protecting pedestrians.

    • I’m actually with Mike here. Superblock Capitol Hill, west of Broadway at the very least. Good idea, thanks for your contributions to Urbanist thought.

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