That was the cry yesterday of the restaurant association. That was the cry last month of the Seattle Times, which reported "the longer parking-meter hours that started in August have cut business by as much as 50 percent." Even back in 2010, when the mayor and Seattle City Council considered raising parking rates and extending evening meter hours, that was the cry from editorial writers.
But now that the parking scheme is in effect, that's not the cry of people who are, you know, actually looking at the data. Take it away, Sightline Institute:
DATA How do they fuckin' work?
"After paid parking hours were extended in mid-2011, gross receipts for downtown restaurants climbed by 5.4 percent," writes Eric de Place, contradicting the restaurant-industry claim that charging for "on-street parking until 8 p.m. hits them where it hurts our businesses the most: their wallets." More data—including a zip-code-by-zip-code breakdown—is over at the Daily Sightline.
Why the parking paradox?
The leading theory—how higher and longer rates can correlate with more business—is exactly what the city predicted when it raised the rates. Eliminating free parking during prime dining hours actually discourages drivers from abandoning their cars in parking spaces all night, thereby promoting parking-space turnover and helping customers to find parking where they need it most: downtown.