Business owner aims to start Broadway protest over Capitol Hill paid parking increases

With a jump in paid parking rates coming to Broadway at the end of the month, a local business owner is trying to gather support to force Mayor McGinn to rethink the extra buck an hour SDOT is planning to start charging for paid parking in the core of Capitol Hill.

Lisa Chang of Trendy Wendy and Broadway Boutique has posted this sign and taken to her social media channels to get out the word that she thinks Broadway shouldn’t get stuck with the planned $1 increase and the introduction of paid parking until 8 PM. Here’s one of her comments posted to Facebook:

 That’s what we’re trying to do right now, just beginning and encouraging everyone to contact the mayor’s office, he just LOWERED parking in UDistrict from pressure then raised ours underhandedly, not taking this anymore. Our zip code of techies, gays have a higher per capita income, it’s also discriminatory thinking we can take the hit when in actuality, there are blocks of empty spaces and other businesses doing everything to keep the neighborhood going like me

There has been a great deal of concern — and investment — related to maintaining Broadway as a business district as the massive Sound Transit light rail project disrupts the area and ongoing trends push the ebb and flow of business growth into other areas of the Hill. There are also the ongoing challenges faced by independent retailers — we reported yet another Capitol Hill shop going out of business just last week. For Chang, the increase in parking rates seems like a low blow. “Broadway owners protest Mayor’s unfair rate hikes while we need help during construction,” goes the message she started spreading via Twitter this weekend.

We’ve posted on some of the potential benefits of paid parking programs to local merchants in the past.

Trendy Wendy is located at 211 Broadway East.

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44 thoughts on “Business owner aims to start Broadway protest over Capitol Hill paid parking increases

  1. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to find parking up on/near Broadway to go to dinner or grab dessert/coffee and there is virtually never any parking at all…especially after 5:00. There’s been many times that I’ve just given up and spent my money elsewhere or how often I now don’t even consider Broadway an option just because of the parking issue. If this change helps force parking turnover so more people can find somewhere to park, then I’m all for it! At least we’re not going the route of Vancouver where you can’t ever park in most areas in the Village unless you live there and have a permit. All this handwringing and “the sky is falling” drama from people is really lame. Get over it.

  2. There’s a perfectly good garage at the Broadway Market and one at Seattle Central. When I DIDN’T live on the hill I never had that much trouble.

  3. The business owner has a good point. Theres plenty of open spaces during the day, which doesn’t work with the mayor’s plan, normally intended to help with the surplus of demand for parking. As T points out, it gets bad after 5 when people advance park for the free spots. Extend the hours all night imo, plus sundays and holidays. No rate increase.

  4. To recover from recession we need jobs.

    Why raise parking now, and threaten the very small businesses who will create them?

    Wrong time, and Bel Square is free. Makes NO sense. None.

    Wish Greg were still around, running things. Mc Ginn could be out in the woods counting rings to his heart’s content.

  5. People who are considering going to Trendy Wendy are probably not on the edge to to go Bellevue Square.

    Regardless, this isn’t likely to hurt business. More parking turnover and more available spots means that more people will actually be able to find parking. Finally, if parking is getting tough to find (and it is), then the government shouldn’t subsidize parking relatively to the market rate just because some business owners ask for it. The streets are our (the public’s) property and we should be concerned about picking winners or losers, merely ensuring that our property is getting its full value.

  6. I think she has a valid point as well, and it’s good to see someone standing up for themselves as well as consumers. I moved off the hill 2 years ago, and everytime I come back to grab drinks and shop at my old haunts, there is something gone, and also less places to park. US Bank’s lot is gone and Bank of America’s lot and that whole block are going too. I like to grab a spot on the street after work around 6, get some shopping in, then dinner, but with the extended hours, it IS like the city is telling people to stop going there and support chain stores.
    I will keep going and shopping local, and I’ve shopped her stores as well as Red Light, Aprie, Panache since I was in college, they have unique items at decent prices. Would be sad to see the rest of Broadway go as a casualty of the recession and smallminded Mayor.

  7. As a doctor on the hill who has treated every income bracket for the last 15 years, I see people are hurting in this economy. She is correct and justifiable to fight for every inch of her business, and admirable for wanting the neighborhood to survive. There are people skipping annual physicals and trying to save every penny. There has to be a trickle down effect I’m sure felt by small business.

    I’ve walked up to Broadway many times a week for lunch the last 15 years, and it definitely needs help right now creating extra traffic to places like Julia’s and the Broadway Grill, which I see more and more empty after walking past the huge pit for the light rail station that’s a mess.
    In people’s minds saving money right now, an extra buck is an extra cheeseburger, it’s not something to be blown off. I’m making a call in support of this effort. I like my walk, and variety of lunch places.

  8. It’s cute that folks think that this is really about parking churn and not revenue gluttony from Mcmoron and his camp. Parking is going to be just as hard to find as current day, as the hill is now so dense with humans and cars.

  9. I used to live up on the hill and was just there this past weekend looking for parking. The area I lived in used to be a zoned permit area and it’s now got meters. What McGuinn seems to be ignoring is people who live and work in the area that need to park their cars somewhere without having to run out and feed a meter every 2 hours. Here’s a novel idea to get more $. If you’re appling for a zone permit, you should have to register your car in WA. I would often see lots of out of state cars with zone permits. We need to come up with better solutions than to increase hourly parking rates in neighborhoods.

  10. It’s difficult enough right now to park on Broadway during business hours, and that has to be hard on some of those shops that are barely hanging in. For lord’s sake, find some other way to make money.

  11. The Mayor is so clueless about what really goes on in the neighborhood that he’s grabbing at the low hanging fruit. That’s raising fees. I don’t agree with it, but I can see that’s what he’s doing.

    Nickels was a lousy Mayor unless you were a developer. The only Democratic candidate I’ve seen in a long time with any business sense was Malahan and we all know Mayor McBicycle beat him somehow.

    I made sure when I rented on the hill that I had a parking spot with my apartment. If I need to, I snag a spot on the street until one of my non cap hill friends drives up and then I let them have it and go back to my spot in the garage. Not ideal, but it helps out the folks who don’t live IN our hood.

  12. People who work in the area really should use an off-street parking lot or garage. The on-street spots are for max 2-hour parking during the day — You can get a ticket after 2 hours even if you have feed the meter.

  13. I think car drivers are subsidized way too much by non-car-drivers. Therefore, I will stay out of any business with a sign like this, or at least talk to the employees about why I disagree.

    (Which is no loss to these two stores anyway. I’m sure they are nice, I just haven’t been in the habit of going there.)

  14. Seriously. If you live downtown, why are driving anywhere? Seattle is so little you can walk practically anywhere. And if you live on Cap Hill and are driving to your favorite Cap Hill business, you are lazy. Use your legs or get on a bus.

  15. Finally! Businesses should have been outraged ages ago about Seattle’s parking policy. This City was built in the mechanical age, not the horse and buggy age. For that major reason many business areas like Broadway formed on TOP of hills. Cars quickly replaced the cable-trolleys, which were ripped out. Our current metro bus system is 2nd-world at best going on 3rd-world. The bus is totally not practical for 90% of our citizens’ local trips. Bus riders don’t buy stuff – and percentage of sales is the foundation of our City’s tax base. People in cars buy stuff-bigger ticket stuff at least. Car transport, like it or not, is a vital fact of our economic and social lifestyle here, and will be for many, many years forthcoming.

    Sales taxes are the financial fuel for our City NOT parking fees! The purpose of parking policies, like meters, was to PROMOTE business not kill it.

    The Gestapo Parking Department of the City however has other thoughts. For years they have been vastly restricting parking to create some kind of urban utopia. Either they are just stupid or Bellevue, Lynwood, Tukwila and the other suburbs must have paid them off because those areas have thrived and boomed while our City’s business areas have descended into a big dark economic and social abyss – most now barely hanging on.

    The right solution has been totally missed by the City of Seattle’s Gestapo Parking Department and most air-headed citizens. Using some of the City’s OWN parking policies (as outlined in their OWN white-paper), parking spaces in a two to four block bubble around our business centers should be vastly expanded – by 500 to 1,000% at least – minimum.

    Massive areas of parallel parking should be replaced with angle-in parking with the area between sidewalks and the curb ripped out to accommodate this where these areas are now not used. 50% of the ridiculous parking restrictions and hard-to-read signs should be immediately removed. The 30 feet in front of stop signs restriction eliminated.

    Pike and Pine, as an example, in “the bars” area, and all the cross streets should be angle in parking. (The City’s own parking policy states that angle in parking helps safety by reducing speeds). This alone would result in huge percentage increases for all those businesses.

    Our City should be a world-class trend setter in parking policy – not lost in the last century. But no, because of complacency, fraud, conspiracy, ignorance or arrogance the Gestapo Parking Department has totally missed the boat.

    For example, long rows of angle in parking could be designated for car-pool parking (2+ in/2+ out). Easy. Other areas could be designated for high-efficiency car parking (30+ mpg vehicles only!). Some spots could have glass covered sheds for bikes, scooters and motorcycles (with a public web-cam so people could watch their stuff from thugs). Heck some areas could be for high-efficiency cars AND car-pools. I’ve seen a little Honda four-door pull up in front on the Broadway Grill with 5 big hunky guys getting out to drink and dine inside.

    Face it – cars are vastly efficient. If you live just outside the business area, say Montlake or Madrona in the case of Capitol Hill and you want to shop, dine or party on the Hill, driving is very efficient, especially if you take others with you. The bus is NOT on option, especially our current Metro. (which is pathetic compared to any 1st-world system). This is true even if you normally ride the bus for all your commuting!

    A 1,000-5,000% increase in parking spaces would have no negative impact. It would VASTLY increase the economic activity around the business areas. Bigger ticket higher-level businesses would return to our business areas (which were replaced by large numbers of low-dollar, crummy walk-ups years ago, or now, empty storefronts!). People-traffic of all kinds would vastly increase. Sales tax revenue would enormously expand. Living areas would be in greater demand-hopefully resulting in higher quality buildings. Lifestyle in all ways would improve. And guess what – bus ridership to these areas would sky-rocket!

    If Trendy Wendy can start a trend in THIS direction there is hope for our Greater Capitol Hill business area not to mention all the other business areas in our City from Beacon Hill to Ballard.

    Otherwise, if the idiots at the City of Seattle’s Gestapo Parking and “Urban Planning” Department continue to win-out – it’s guaranteed that the long, slow decline in economy and lifestyle will continue for many more decades to come. Businesses getting smaller, lifestyle getting worse, Metro becoming 3rd-world going on 4th-world, buildings even more heinous than “Joule” constructed, etc.

    Everyone of you who reads this, and “gets-it” should right now send an email to the City Council and Mayors office. It takes less than 5-minutes and would help to stop this dumb, horrible and totally destructive parking policy and at a great level combat the acceleration of civic apathy which over the years has gotten us into this mess. It’s YOUR duty as a citizen! Write NOW! I’m copy/pasting this comment to them – you should send your OWN message too – even it it’s only one sentence!

    http://www.seattle.gov/council/councilcontact.htm

  16. Parking rates on the Hill are not the problem – it’s lack of parking! If this empties a few spaces so some of us can come up and shop more often – I’m all for it. Besides, nothing comes for free. That includes the roads, sidewalks, street lights and police coverage that make it possible for some of us to feel comfortable shopping on Capitol Hill.

  17. No one is addressing her claim that the U District got their rates lowered after complaints…. If this truly is about freeing up parking, then why would they lower they after comaplaints???

  18. Wait a minute, this plan is aimed at FREEING UP parking on Broadway by taking away the park all night option after six. Seems backwards to be complaining about lack of parking while at the same time moaning about limiting parking to a couple hours by making people pay. I don’t get it. But then again, I don’t go to the most dense neighborhood in town thinking I’ll be able to find easy, convenient parking. I go there willing to pay a little more for the privledge.

  19. I am confused by your statement. The car tabs and tax on gasoline help fund roads, sidewalks and public transportation. Plus, car drivers carry insurance that help pay for costs related to accidents caused by bikers and/or pedestrians. Bikers or strictly pedestrians do not contribute to these. How are car drivers therefore subsidizing non-car drivers?

  20. I’ve just sent a letter in support of this new initiative to free up more parking spaces in the neighborhood, while increasing revenue, by raising the parking rates in these targeted areas. This forward thinking measure really harnesses the desirability of the hood, as seen in low vacancy rates and increasingly upscale restaurant and retail occupants, to engineer socially a burden for inefficient private automobile usage and reward and encourage public transportation and other alternative means of transport. World class cities aren’t free and we got to start somewhere! Thanks for the link and the encouragement.

  21. You’re wrong, Jack. Most road work, pedestrian, and public transit money comes from general revenues, property tax and sales tax which we all pay. Gas tax goes to pay a small portion of big state highway projects.

  22. The complaints were that SDOT had used faulty methodology in certain areas where blocks are not standard sizes. It has nothing to do with Capitol Hill.

  23. I personally will not patronize these businesses and will urge others to do the same. If you run a good business, then people will be willing to pay more for parking. Lisa Chang clearly wants to be able to be lazy and rely on cheap parking, not quality, to draw people to the Hill. I would rather have more expensive parking that leads to more turnover so that more people can find spots rather than circling around blocks forever. Not to mention there is tons of off-street parking available that is not being used because on-street parking is too cheap. I would love to support the business community on Capitol Hill, but wrong-headed initiatives like this make it really hard to do so. The city is trying to change parking policy to something based on science and reason, and businesses act like it’s the end of the world.

  24. I’ve lived on the Hill for the past 10 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen every off-street lot in the Broadway or Pike/Pine are full. People are complaining that street parking is being brought up to market pricing. Boo hoo is right on.
    We have a parking crunch because these spots are so cheap to occupy, and their free just as people are making their way to hit up the business district, whether resident or not. If residents cared about being able to park near their apartment they would cheer on every parking increase and extended paid hours proposed.

  25. What? You are completely missing the point. I’m sure the majority of people living in the downtown area already walk/bike/take transit. Believe it or not there is a huge population of people that live outside the area. Raising parking fees is not a good way to entice people into area businesses.

  26. I understand both sides of the Parking issue as I have been a store owner on Broadway for over 20 years. Increasing parking prices right now when areas like Broadway or Pioneer Square and trying to survive are just not practical. Broadway has had many of our parking spaces disappear these last 2 years. With Sound Transit taking 2 blocks and Metro deciding it was now more feasible for them to use 6 parking spaces permanently for parking busses all day and night across from Star Bucks, instead of doing this a few blocks north (away from the main shopping district) we are now limited the amount of spaces we have available. Unfortunately some of the spaces that are being taken up are being used not by shoppers or visitors but by employees of Sound Transit. Even the side streets where it was once free to park are being turned into pay parking. The city continues to make more and more excuses as to justify increases and in the same breath makes it seem like they are doing this to help all of us out. Perhaps instead of wasting countless tax payers dollars to do a study on parking they send people to speak to the actual businesses and owners of these businesses instead who have been here for years and trying to stay afloat. They would tell you the real issues of the parking problems on the street. Days like Friday, Saturday and Sunday Broadway is in high demand of people wanting to come visit and shop and yet the DOT decided it would be best to tear up the street and do construction on these days. The last 2 months the block where QFC is located has construction almost every other weekend on a Saturday (our highest demand parking day) as well as other areas. Instead of the city doing this on a Monday or Tuesday where it is in less demand. It doesn’t take an expensive study to determine that this will hurt the shopping district. You cannot encourage businesses be on Broadway if you are discouraging customers from shopping here. In this economy this is not the time to be raising prices. This is the time to find smart ways to make it all work together. Also, why is it that some areas parking prices are being increased and others are being decreased. Let’s have a fare price for all of us to pay when it comes to parking so we know what we need to have before we walk to that meter to put our money in.

  27. To be clear, the city is changing this not due to science and reason, but due to lack of a general fund that they are trying to replenish. All other reasoning beyong that is hogwash.

  28. I think you are missing the point. These businesses on Broadway are just trying to survive these next 5 years during the Sound Transit construciton as so many have all ready moved out. Broadway use to be a place where businesses wanted to move to but now it is not and the handful of shops still around are keeping whats left of a dying street from actually dying. I will support these businesses as I hope more shops move back on the street.

  29. Completely agree with you! Seattle is supposed to be built on small business, free spirits, and an eclectic mix of people and Capitol Hill is one of the last areas that embodies that. No one can fault her for speaking up to defend her right to earn a living.
    And why is the UDistrict having their fees lowered while Broadway is having theirs raised? If there was an overall King County increase then there would be no arguement or need for a request for an appeal. Something is definitely up with this one.

  30. good in theory for treehuggers and people without cars, but people will not give up their cars and she is trying to get the maximum amount of people to shop our neighborhood from all areas of washington. what about the person who comes in from bellevue, lynnwood, eastern washington, the tourists. not a friendly way to welcome people.

  31. Carl,
    You say it doesn’t take a study to show that less parking hurts a business district but, actually, I think it does. If you don’t have any real data to support a correlation between the amount of parking around your store and sales, then all you have is an unfounded belief. Do you know what percentage of your customers or targeted customers drive to get to you? What percentage are within walking distance?

  32. All the passion is mis placed. $$$$ in city coffers is the ONLY issue. This is not cheap parking cult vs. expensive parking cult.

    The city wants more revenue, simple, anyway they can get it.

  33. Carl – thanks.

    After all these years, running your business interests, hands on, some think you know less than – a study?? How bizarre.

    The voices of the owners on the street should carry a lot of weight. Apparently, not true. Amazing. Some kid on a bike, who eats at Dicks – of course those are the true experts on how to keep Broadway vital – and the “science” of parking. Almost bizarre. Not true.

    Organize Carl,you make sense to the max.

  34. … one must wonder wonder what the the anti car activists will do as car owners convert to electric energy and the pollution issue is moot?

    Mobility is the one of the most important global changes in the history of mankind. Who wants to live and work their entire life 30 miles from the village? Nobody, kids, nobody.

  35. Those of us who work in local businesses on and around broadway have seen a lot of places go under lately. The vacant buildings aren’t being refilled, and with all of the construction going on between Thomas and Denny, the area is becoming less and less attractive to shoppers. This rate hike won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it is part of a continuing trend that is putting a lot of strain on the shops and restaurants around here.

    I don’t expect the average driver (or pedestrian) to see why this is a big deal, but like someone else said, local business owners need to fight for every inch they can get.

  36. I would agree that the decision to let Metro take that extra space for parking, when the space they had (and still keep) behind the Brix was just fine for that purpose.

    The Brix management got the buses moved because it was “incompatible” with the Brix being there. Which was bullshit. The buses sitting there with their engines off did not cause any problem. The Brix management feel way too entitled — look at how often they have abused the temporary no-parking zone permit system.

  37. I suggest that local businesses should work with whoever runs the parking in the Joule and Broadway Market buildings to get them to extend their hours to something more reasonable. And perhaps negotiate discount bulk parking rates for their employees, to get the employee’s cars off the streets so that customers can use those spaces.

  38. i work on broadway and its unfair for businesses here. this has been an ongoing war between the city and business owners for years. they have done their homework and they do it for you, the customer.

    be thankful for that.

  39. basically, sound transit butt raped a good chunk of businesses on broadway, took all that parking away between denny and john, started pay parking on the other side of cal anderson park, and raised the parking on broadway to 3 dollars per hour, and might possibly raise it again to 4, while businesses in the U district don’t have to suffer or down in south lake union.

    but then again if you want capitol hill to be another BELLTOWN, by all means, just let the city have their way.

  40. goodbye capitol hill. you’ve once been a colorful subculture full of cool shops, and historic buildings. now you are being crushed by big brother, and regurgitated to look like belltown. mom and pop shops are replaced with big, shiny condos and prices are being raised faster and faster and faster!

    bye bye capitol hill. its been nice.

  41. I live on Capitol Hill, a block off Broadway, I own my property and pay taxes and I always have to circle for 10 minutes to find a parking spot that is usually about 7 blocks from where I live. The increase in paid parking doesn’t “free up” parking- it in effect moves the cars that would normally pay to park on Broadway to the side streets where there is still the possibility for free parking. I understand the concerns on both sides, but as a resident of the neighborhood, I’m really tired of not even being able to park where I live. The city hasn’t taken into consideration the people who live in this neighborhood- there are more than just shoppers and businesses in this equation. I would even be willing to pay for zoned parking if the city made it available. With the ongoing construction of the light rail tunnel, the parking has been even more reduced by the closing of streets and the workers themselves that park all over the neighborhood and take up available free parking.
    The city of Seattle doesn’t seem too concerned about small businesses or it’s citizens. And don’t even get me started about the city’s lame parking enforcement officers…..