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Where and when it will be cheaper to park on Capitol Hill in 2020 (and where the appetite for parking is apparently insatiable no matter how expensive it gets)

2020 mornings will bring cheaper paid parking to most of Capitol Hill’s streets — the nightlife crush means prices are rising. Seattle announced its annual adjustments Friday to be rolled out in its regular rebalancing of pricing for the city’s paid parking based on demand studies over the past year.

“Our goal is to make it efficient and accessible for people who need to drive to find a parking space,” SDOT says in its announcement and explainer of the 2020 adjustments. “This reduces how much time drivers spend circling for parking, which provides other important benefits” —

  • Improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists – drivers circling for parking are often distracted
  • Reduces congestion – drivers circling for parking contribute to congestion
  • Improves transit efficiency – less congestion and fewer cars stopping in the bus lane means our public transit is more reliable
  • Decreases greenhouse gas emissions – less circling means fewer emissions

Simplified, SDOT says its goal is to price so that “two parking spaces are available on each block throughout the day.”

It’s not clear how high prices would have to rise across SDOT’s Capitol Hill paid parking regions to hit that “two space” goal at night were capacity is also measured at hitting greater than 100% thanks to creative — and illegal — parking strategies some nightlife visitors deploy. Prices will hit from $4 to $4.50 across most of Capitol Hill at night.

That’s a relative bargain to trying to park on First Hill at any time of day or night. The demand for the limited street parking around First Hill’s medical facilities has pushed rates to a solid $5 per hour morning, noon, and night. Cherry Hill’s medical services traffic also will mean 2020 boosts there during morning and midday hours.

For 8 AM to 11 AM parkers, prices will drop across much of the Hill. 12th Ave will now drop below a buck, weighing in at $0.50 per hour. Or you can park for an hour in Pike/Pine for a dollar — a bargain!

Seattle has now regularly adjusted its paid parking prices for a decade but the process has been greatly simplified by rolling out the new era meters and a reduction in the number of spaces. Last summer, the city boosted its efforts to transition more drivers to use a third party mobile app to make it easier to pay for parking — and to add more time when you’re stuck waiting for the check.

Seattle has also extended paid hours for many areas where nighttime demand is greatest. On many Capitol Hill streets, paid parking runs until 10 PM. If late night demand remains at similar levels, rates could eventually approach $5 and overnight paid parking could be another option for managing the seemingly insatiable appetite for drivers looking for a spot.


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1 year ago

Does Metro have an analysis of where parking demand rises and falls with transit use, and where they’re independent? A little tricky to work out as it takes people (me) a while to plan on using a new transit route.

1 year ago

I would like to mention that an hour of storing your car on the street still costs less than a drink at just about anywhere in the neighborhood.