Even the Downtown Seattle Association points out that a solid 30% of parking spaces are not used in their yearly reports from back before the recession
Wags have dubbed him Mayor "McSchwinn," suggesting he's anti-car and caters to bicycles. McGinn calls that "silly" saying the parking changes are a way to help close a $67 million dollar budget gap without raising taxes, including business taxes.
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Four dollars an hour is a hilariously bad idea.
I've seen his junk yard dogs in Bellevue City Council meetings demanding, nay, threatening the officials about a new development because it may take away
his business at Bellevue Square.
He doesn't have a clue on how to behave like a human being, much less running a city.
Freeman's a mall operator, of course he only thinks about retail. Downtown Seattle's biggest problem right now is office space, and parking isn't even the biggest problem with retail, let alone the city as a whole.
If I were downtown retail or restaurant owner, I'd be painting protest signs right now and getting geared up for a BIG fuss
What's all the more telling is that a large part of the $4 increase will go to methods designed for safe routes to school: sidewalks, school zone and commercial district enhancements, safe bike lanes and community outreach.
Remember when kids could safely walk to school? Remember when old timers would tote their groceries home twice a week on foot?
Additionally, and this question is for anyone, are you predicting that at $4/hr, there will be a significant shift in availablity of on-street parking? Are you suggesting that people won't pay it?
Because my guess is that at $4/hr, which is significantly lower than private parking lots, on-street parking will still fill up. Which means that shoppers will still be here.
So, unless you're predicting that $4/hour will clear the streets, the argument doesn't seem to make sense.
It's kind of a Chicken Little thing to complain about the price of street parking in downtown Seattle when, from a practical perspective, few people can avail themselves of it anyway.
Retailers and restaurants who want to encourage their customers to drive in need to offer validated parking (this is what the mall in Bellevue essentially does: it pays for the parking by offering it for free). I don't see that as the city's responsibility, although, to encourage retail downtown, the city could allow downtown merchants to validate street parking somehow I guess.
In any case, I don't think this Bellevue-based mall operator has any credible grasp of the density and traffic and parking situation in Seattle.
But you can't complain, "Oh, woe is this city, McGinn is declaring war on drivers" without offering a reasonable tax alternative that could actually gain some traction. What other revenue sources would you tap? And don't just say, "Tax the rich." I'm sick of seeing the first answer for tax increases be to always point at the other guy.
In fact, though, a world with parking meters is actually better for the very drivers who have to feed those meters. There's a terrific, albeit wonky, book about this called "The High Cost of Free Parking." As "Westlake, son!" writes: At $4 an hour,… finding a spot in downtown Seattle will be a breeze. I wouldn't be surprised if it's still hard to find a spot at $4 an hour.
If this story is true, your parking karma is so bad, I'm afraid to even be on the same comment thread as you.
It's thanks to friends like these that Americans end up sitting for hours on end in massive traffic jams on 10-lane freeways.
On weekENDS I would still go downtown because I already take the bus for that. However, my evenings of leaving right from work and hitting a happy hour or perhaps catching a 7 pm film at Pacific place (I usually do with with my sister who comes in by bus and then I drive her home)on a weeknight would be over because I could no longer afford both those AND the extra $10+ of parking fees for a simple evening out.
(the reasons I don't bus to work are (1) it would take over an hour each way as per Metro's travel planner versus 20-25 min each way in my car to drive and (2) I have a part time second job and only 30 min to get from job one to job two on the nights I work)
Let's put this to a thought exercise:
1) To maintain the status quo and parking availability to you, the city will have to make hard choices and cut more services and staff, or
2) To provide temporary budget relief in a crippling economic downturn, you will have to find places more local to you, like your neighborhood pub, theater, restaurant, museum or park while unnecessary (i.e. "happy hour") trips are reduced and revenue buffered by an uptick in take from those who absolutely have to park
Well then it sure makes sense to raise prices, doesn't it?
Obviously, being a privileged scion who owns some malls is not the same thing as knowing how to operate a city.
Market-rate solutions are the last ditch, but they are exactly that: solutions.
@29: Downtown cores are driven by destinations. The retail core and market stay surprisingly busy while the financial district are ghost towns. One reason it's difficult -- nay, near-impossible -- to get an accurate read on the pace of downtown after dark is the lack of open air business and covered sidewalk amenities, a holdover from the pearl-clutching reactionaries of the 70s and 80s.
Downtown Bellevue still is filled with empty retail places. No wonder they have free parking - most restaurants there can't stay open for long, and they have such a high retail vacancy and residential condo vacancy rate it's just pitiful.
But distelleries for the win!
It shouldn't be free, but damn, $4 an hour will hurt retail. The problem with office space is that it is priced waaaaay to high. And with large vacancy rates, it's hard to attract new business. So many businesses flock to the eastside for considerable price breaks in office space. Why not provide a city tax credit for new businesses that want to operate downtown?
If it's that high you use OFF-STREET PARKING in a parking garage or you get there by transit.
I’ve been around long enough to remember the early 90s fiasco when parking meter rates exceeded what people were willing to pay and everyone (downtown businesses, the city) lost revenue. People stayed away or used lots. The city (on the occasion below) eventually dropped rates back to their previous level.
As for the question of what I would do to raise much-needed city/state revenue instead? Income tax (with lower sales tax rates) even though, perversely, such a thing would not be in MY favor. I’m not a big shopper/consumer at all (I mend/remake clothes, drive the same car for 15 years, cook at home from scratch most of the time, etc) so I probably pay a lot less in sales tax than others in my demographic group. But I still feel it would be fairer to everyone to switch.
The problems facing urban downtowns are far more complex than parking rates, you pissant.
Plenty of empty spaces in the Bellevue Square parking garage, or Northgate or Southcenter. You'd think if free parking was the only thing people wanted, they'd be filling those spaces. Instead, they're downtown filling every space they can find.
Office space in downtown Bellevue's not doing any better than downtown Seattle. It's not the price that's keeping people out; it's the lack of businesses. They'd have trouble filling downtown offices right now if the rents were free.
1) Street parking is easy to find on Sundays. The very few exceptions are major events - Bumbershoot, Pike Place Market festival - and their impact is still localized to 5-7 blocks around the event.
2) In 90% of the area McGinn mentions, street parking is easy to find after 6 PM. Only a few square blocks are consistently busy until 8 PM: 1st Ave between about Stewart & Union, and 2nd Ave on Fri/Sat nights.
This proposal uses their traffic patterns - which aren't at all representative of downtown - to justify a much bigger change.
3) Less than 2 years ago, the parking rate was raised from $1.50 to $2.50 city-wide: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/lo…
Objectively, neither parking usage nor transit-vs-car tradeoffs have changed since 2008.
4) The proposal doesn't even try to differentiate between busy areas (say, 1st and University to 6th and Stewart) and the rest of "downtown" (which, as proposed, includes 4x that footprint).
I don't know enough about McGinn to have an opinion about him. However, this proposal seems like his halfhearted way to avoid proposing broader layoffs or program cuts. It's not based on facts, and I doubt McGinn actually expects it to pass.
More than that, tens of thousands of people live in and around downtown Seattle. If it follows with them (us, really; I live downtown) as it does with you, then the average downtown patron will have a smaller distance traveled as more downtown residents hit up the awesome snacks at Noc Noc, a nice curry at the tasty Mae Phim or snag that last slice of pizza at Unconventional.
When it becomes more feasible for you to come down, then nothing is stopping you.
A city shouldn't have to lend more weight to the wants of its citizens when certain needs are currently unmet.
Seattle is lower.
P.S.: Two hour free parking in Fremont in the RPZ zones until 8 pm!
And of course this is a revenue grab, troy. It's called scraping the bottom of the barrel since we are really, truly and legitimately at the end of a rapidly-shortening rope.
"Parking Meter Revenue: The 2011-2012 Proposed Budget makes several changes in the City‟s management and regulation of on-street parking, including increasing the hourly rate on parking meters by $1.50 downtown and $0.50 in other parts of the city, extending paid parking hours by two hours until 8 p.m. in the evenings (Monday – Saturday), and instituting paid parking on Sundays (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.). These adjustments in the management and regulation of on-street parking are recommended for several reasons. First, the increases better align the charges with the costs to the City to regulate and manage the parking program. Second, the increase brings parking meter rates in line with the current market rates for parking in private garages. Third, the existence of market rate prices for parking will better encourage turnover of parking spaces so that people can find a parking spot when they need one, thereby encouraging residents to frequent commercial districts and reducing congestion and carbon emissions."
Source: http://www.seattle.gov/financedepartment… (Overview PDF)
Note that after skimming the full budget (http://www.seattle.gov/financedepartment…), it seems to say that the enforcement until 8 PM and on Sundays may not be specific to downtown.
Given that the same justifications were made in 2008, I'd prefer they either admit that it's an outright revenue grab - "This policy serves no other purpose beyond raising additional funds for the city" - or explain how the costs or usage have changed since Nov 2008.
Assuming parking hours are flat or nearly so, costs of using the public right-of-way and enforcement are spread across the same # of meter hours. If usage plummeted or skyrocketed, I could see adjusting rates to either maintain revenue or increase availability, but nobody's arguing that a sea of people stopped parking and started riding.
Worth noting that while 17.6% to 19.5% may be "the largest recorded shift in mode share in this current decade," it's what you'd expect from a trailing indicator during a recession, and all of that change probably isn't permanent.
Thanks for affirming my main point: it's disingenuous not to just say "This is a revenue grab with no practical purpose besides raising money."
Environmental reasons (reducing car load in the city, for example) are suitable policy positions to tack onto a major fiscal policy.
"if transit usage has gone up.. why would that affect parking rates?"
You claimed there was no big shift in the past two years in transit and car usage. There has been. I was pointing that out for you since you were trying to slip in an "importance of the auto" argument in there by way of "we haven't done much to get people onto buses with parking rate increases, so it obviously hasn't helped".
"Assuming parking hours are flat or nearly so, costs of using the public right-of-way and enforcement are spread across the same # of meter hours. If usage plummeted or skyrocketed, I could see adjusting rates to either maintain revenue or increase availability, but nobody's arguing that a sea of people stopped parking and started riding."
If usage rates are unchanged but more people are being attracted to other forms of transportation, then we haven't reached the actual legitimate break point of parking costs. Especially when other lots average more than $4.
"Worth noting that while 17.6% to 19.5% may be "the largest recorded shift in mode share in this current decade," it's what you'd expect from a trailing indicator during a recession, and all of that change probably isn't permanent."
I figured you'd try to pry that chestnut out without research, so here are the other year over year mode shares:
That's citywide. In the downtown core, 24% of workers arrive via transit, a figure that's bounced around in the mid-20s, up from an earlier mid-teens.
"Thanks for affirming my main point: it's disingenuous not to just say "This is a revenue grab with no practical purpose besides raising money.""
I guess you weren't kidding when you said you didn't know enough about McGinn.
People adapt. The solution is not to make the world one giant strip-mall after another with freeways connecting them, which is Kemper fucking Freeman's idea of paradise.
Streetside parking after 8 PM is not easy to find. It's almost impossible to find a spot west of 6th in Belltown, or anywhere downtown.
are you running for Judge?
My hope is that developers who have found a way to make TOD pencil and even provide some community benefits like affordable housing and open space will become the norm and help some of their curmudgeon peers see how profitable it can be to do the right thing.
The supply of on-street parking is effectively fixed. There is a perfectly substitutable good, namely off-street parking. Thus, as prices for on-street parking go up, demand goes down.
The correct price for on-street parking at a given time is the one that results in about 95% utilization. In other words, on average, every driver will find an open space within the first 20 they pass. This takes cars out of traffic and gets drivers to their destination sooner. This is fantastic for businesses, since a single parking spot can now serve a greater number of customers, which means more revenue.
Anyway, suffice it to say that I hope this happens, and that Freeman stays on his own side of Lake Washington, as much as he wants to screw up mine. :)
Also, it's only $2.50 an hour in NYC, and $1/hr in Boston (I just googled this, I don't feel secure about this fact) so, I'm not quite sure what your argument is here.
Somehow this reminds me of an old Seinfeld or other NY comedy episode ...
The libraries, public health, SHARE, the food banks, parks and rec, you name the agency and they we're there begging for funding that had been cut.
Is this a revenue grab? You bet your ass it is. We need the revenue, so please stop whinning about spending an extra, what? $5.00 on parking when you're going downtown for $9 martinis?
P.S. to BaconCat: I heart you.