Seattle Plans Clamp Down On Free Parking

Crews will soon begin installing metered parking on many of the city's free curbside parking spaces in an effort to move residents away from private cars.

1 minute read

May 8, 2007, 10:00 AM PDT

By Christian Madera @

"Next month, Seattle crews plan to begin installing pay stations for 2,600 curbside spots in the South Lake Union neighborhood, most of which are now free. The city is trying a different game plan -- and set of rules -- for those spots, which may set the tone for parking restrictions throughout Seattle.

It's the latest in an incremental but sweeping plan to get Seattleites out of their cars. Officials say cheap and easy parking encourages driving, and commuters who search for it create their own congestion.

City Hall's strategy is to offer just enough parking to keep shoppers and diners coming to neighborhood businesses, yet keep it scarce enough to push those who work there onto buses, sidewalks or bicycles."

"Some neighborhood activists complain that the city's goals are unrealistic, at least until there's more convenient public transportation in Seattle.

"The city's living in a planner's fantasy that ... if you make it hard to park people will magically walk or ride their bike," said Matt Fox, a longtime activist in the University District, where the city has substantially reduced free parking.

"Until the transit alternatives are in place, I think this is a punitive approach that's going to make people's lives really miserable." "

Monday, May 7, 2007 in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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