By Ryan Packer
Capitol Hill’s on-street parking rates are going to stay pretty affordable, at least for the foreseeable future.
Last week, the latest adjustment to citywide metered parking rates took effect, as the Seattle Department of Transportation says it is trying to match demand as vaccination rates increase and businesses welcome more customers. But unlike other cities that have reinstated their old, pre-COVID parking meter rates, Seattle is keeping a base rate of 50 cents per hour and adjusting that based on demand. As a result, parking a car in Pike/Pine will actually be cheaper than it was when SDOT adjusted rates back in February.
Will you be paying early 2020 rates to park a car in any on-street spaces on the Hill anytime soon? Not likely. Pre-pandemic rates hit as high as $4.50 per hour during evening hours in the heart of Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, rates in First Hill are inching just a bit closer to their former peak rate of $5 per hour, with $2 per hour morning rate and $1.50 at mid-day.
Here are the new hourly rates as of June 1st:
- Pike/Pine: $0.50 per hour, all day until 10 PM
- Central Capitol Hill: $0.50 per hour, all day until 10 PM
- 12th Ave: $0.50 per hour 8 AM-5 PM, $1 per hour 5-8 PM
- First Hill: $2 per hour 8-11 AM, $1.50 per hour 11 AM-5 PM, $0.50 per hour 5-8 PM
The City used to adjust parking rates every year but is switching to quarterly adjustments this year to stay attuned to changes in demand.
“The goal is to adjust rates so that one or two parking spaces are available on each block throughout the day so people driving have reliable access to the curb for short-term visits”, SDOT’s Sara Davis wrote in a blog post on the new rates.
Away from the metered parking stalls, enforcement of the longstanding 72-hour parking rule has resumed after the Durkan administration put that rule on hold during the pandemic. District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant has called on Durkan to keep that rule suspended as Seattle’s eviction moratorium remains in place. King County’s most recent count, taken pre-pandemic, showed 2,748 people were living in their vehicles countywide. Most residential areas in Capitol Hill require a $65 Residential Parking Zone sticker, renewed every two years, intended to keep on-street parking spots available, but the every-three-day game of musical chairs was revealed to be particularly counterproductive during the pandemic. The Durkan administration so far hasn’t shown signs of budging.
Street changes in many corners of the neighborhood this year may impact your parking habits as well. The new protected bike lanes along East Union Street eliminated a few parking spots to make way for a safe path for people biking, and the upcoming Melrose Promenade project’s first phase will see parking spots eliminated in I-5 shores as well. Other on-street parking spots have been converted to loading spots for curbside pickup, while others have been turned into beloved cafe and restaurant seating as the City Council recently voted to provide another year of permits for businesses to expand their seating into the street.
You can stay up-to-date on parking rates in every neighborhood via Seattle’s on-street parking rate map.
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