Urban Fold

Free Parking Eliminated In Seattle

New solar-powered pay kiosks are increasing city revenue at formerly metered or free spaces, and new plans are afoot to rollback after hours free parking, meaning nights and weekends could cost drivers.

"The program to replace parking meters on city streets with a pay- station system is a financial success no one at City Hall wants to brag about. New figures show the ubiquitous curbside kiosks, which issue time-stamped parking stickers that can be affixed to a car window, are already earning about $3 more a day per parking spaceâ€"at $6.50, they're bringing in almost twice as much as the clunky electronic coin meters they replaced. The wireless, solar-powered kiosks will collect $16 million in coin and credit- or debit-card revenue this year, officials say. That's an impressive $6 million jump since 2003, when the system was launched and parking meters collected $9.9 million.

Being a government program, there's a catch, of course, which might be why politicos and bureaucrats don't seem to be talking up the big score. A great deal of the added revenue is coming from hundreds of pay stations that have been or will be installed at once-free downtown and neighborhood parking spaces. The target is the citywide conversion of 2,000 free or time-limited parking spaces (30-minute and two-hour spots, for example) to paid kiosk spaces."

Full Story: Parking Sticker Shock


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