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City says Capitol Hill Uber and Lyft pickup zone will continue and there could be more to come

The test of a new ride-hail pickup zone is achieving its goals and will continue and could be expanded to other nightlife and rideshare heavy areas of the city, the Seattle’s department of transportation announced Monday.

“We’ve seen improved traffic circulation in the area, and the Seattle Police Department has reported that their ability to patrol and respond in the area has been improved and that crowds are disbursing more quickly with fewer disturbances at the end of the night. Additionally, more riders are catching their rides at the curb and not blocking traffic in the street,” the SDOT announcement reads.

CHS reported in November on the start of the weekend nightlife pilot that carves out four pickup areas from existing Pike/Pine parking where customers looking for a ride with either Uber or Lyft are directed by the apps. The geo-fencing is in effect during the highest demand times for the services: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between midnight and 3 AM and includes a total of 36 legal parking spaces that change to loading zone restrictions during the program’s hours.

The “ridehail zone” comes amid a continuing boom in the Pike/Pine nightlife economy where huge crowds can gather as last call approaches and revelers head for home. Police have long sought strategies to better manage the 2 AM rush to help cut down on traffic issues as well as assaults and fights that can break out in the crowds.

SDOT says the Pike/Pine area pilot will “continue to run for the foreseeable future and may expand to other areas and times across the city where ridehail services are in similar and consistent high demand.”

Seattle, meanwhile, is also adding a 51 cent fee to every Uber and Lyft ride in the city to pay for the downtown streetcar, housing, and industry regulation.

Officials are also reminding that the new loading zone restrictions need to be followed for the program to work. “There will be active parking enforcement in these zones, and parked vehicles may be subject to ticket and tow,” SDOT writes.

The new restrictions add to an already tight and, for many drivers, complicated area to park on the street. But there is an upside on the parking end of things. For locals familiar with the new signage, the ridehail load zone areas make for easier pickings — tourists and visitors more often than not would rather keep looking than try to sort out if they’re going to get towed.

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