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City of Seattle

August 27, 4:37 PM click here to comment > 0

The importance of short-term parking

[NOTE:  The following blog post is a letter Jon Scholes, vice-president of advocacy and economic development for the Downtown Seattle Association, wrote to The Seattle Times today in response to Sonia Krishnan’s front-page story inaccurately characterizing short-term parking fees as a city policy meant to “discourage driving.”  Scholes’s letter is posted here with his permission.]

Hi Sonia,

I’ve got to come to the City’s defense in regards to your story this morning on parking fines.  The characterization that the “goal” of the City’s parking enforcement program is to “discourage driving” is entirely inaccurate as is the implication that parking Downtown would be easier to find and more plentiful if the City didn’t enforce parking rules (or were less effective in enforcing the rules).

It is very important to the vibrancy of the Downtown neighborhood that metered on-street parking is managed in a way so that those spaces are available to serve people in need of short-term parking.  There is a limited supply of on-street parking Downtown and we aren’t making any more of it.  Parking rules – and the fines and officers deployed to enforce those rules – are key to making sure this finite resource is available to as many people as possible who come Downtown by car to shop, eat, go to the market, etc. and need short-term parking.

Without parking rules in place and fines to enforce those rules, drivers would have fewer opportunities to park on the street Downtown, not more.  We’d see more blocked driveways, illegally parked cars in load zones and spaces tied up all day by the same vehicles.  All of these scenarios would negatively impact individuals driving and looking for parking Downtown and restaurants, hotels, retail stores and other businesses who depend on their customers’ ability to find parking Downtown.

There is a limited supply and a high demand for parking Downtown.  Making on-street parking free and/or eliminating fines will not increase the supply or make it easier for people to drive Downtown.  In fact, it would do the exact opposite.


Jon Scholes

V.P. of Advocacy and Economic Development
Downtown Seattle Association
600 Stewart Street, Suite 200
Seattle, WA  98101

Posted by: Aaron Pickus, Spokesperson