If parking were a true market-based commodity, we might use the city’s networked system of parking pay stations to operate a real-time price exchange with rates calculated based on the number of spots available when you park.
For better or worse, the Seattle Department of Transportation uses a more blunt instrument: count the number of available spaces in a given area and adjust the rates annually.
Based on their 2013 parking count (PDF), SDOT is recommending a 50 cent raise to metered street parking in Pike/Pine, bringing the hourly rate to $2.50 an hour between 8 AM – 8 PM. Pending council approval, the new rates would begin in August.
With the new rates, SDOT is aiming to have 1-2 spots available on each Pike/Pine block throughout the metered parking times.
Despite previous rate increases and extending paid parking to 8 PM in 2011, parking in Pike/Pine is still a mob scene in the evening hours. According to SDOT’s 2013 Evening Paid Parking Study, average Pike/Pine parking capacity at 7 PM is at 104%, meaning all spaces are taken, plus some questionable parking decisions near intersections and fire hydrants.
That’s still a big improvement from 2010 when 7 PM capacity was pushing 120% as metered parking only went to 6 PM. Overall SDOT found that extended paid parking in 10 nightlife areas around the city lead to 20% more available spaces at 6 PM and 18% more available spaces at 7 PM.
There are a slew of other parking rate changes and time extensions scheduled to take effect this year, however no changes are planned for the Broadway core. The other notable change on Capitol Hill is the planned roll-out of the city’s new parking pay stations.