Seattle Times readers offer plenty of answers to the city’s parking squeeze.

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We asked you to tell us about your parking problems and solutions, and in less than two days, 426 of you responded. Here’s a sampling of your ideas.

It’s all about choices

“Keep building alternatives. The buses are too slow, and the bike-lane network is incomplete. It’d be even easier to leave the car at home if I could get more places safely and efficiently without it.”

— Quentin Compson

 

Driving your car is a privilege

“Give people realistic, convenient ways to get around the city without having to depend on a car by increasing transit funding and expanding bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets. Teach ourselves and the next generation that driving a private vehicle in a dense city is a privilege, not a right, and that one should be expected to pay fairly to exercise that privilege. To that end, institute congestion pricing during peak hours in the central city, with smaller fees for commercial vehicles (including cabs because we want to create incentive for cab rides when they can replace private car trips) or for people who demonstrably must drive, such as people with documented limited physical mobility.”

— Kimberly Kinchen

 

Help those who need to drive by leaving your car at home

“More bike parking, better transit and charging a market rate for those who need parking. If people choose not to drive when they can, those who need to drive (hauling furniture, a ton of kids, or making longer, transit-inaccessible trips) will have an easier time finding parking. Additionally, better land-use mixes and planning will allow more people to access destinations within walking distance.”

— Lisa Enns

 

The city needs to make transportation a priority

“Public transportation. If Seattle doesn’t up its transportation game we are never going to become a world-class city. I’ve lived abroad and traveled to many cities around the world, and it blows my mind that we still only have half of a single Metro line. This needs to become a priority or we will never be able to safely and efficiently move citizens around our growing region. I love Seattle, but due to the traffic and parking issues that have rapidly overtaken our city, I hardly leave Capitol Hill or go anywhere I can’t walk to.”

— Lliam Porter

 

The bus is the way to go

“I always bus downtown. No exceptions. It’s much cheaper and usually faster than dealing with traffic and then looking for parking.”

— Linda Williamson

 

Choose biking over driving and parking

“I am a middle-aged woman, not athletic. I bike, as it is faster than driving, and I can lock my bike up right by any store, coffee shop, restaurant or office building. I am finally seeing more folks like me out there, yay! So much less hassle than driving. A hybrid bike is great for those of us who aren’t super fit, or young. No more planning around the hills.”

— Karen Henning

 

More bike commuting to make parking easier — or fewer bike lanes to open up more spots? (MIke Siegel / Seattle Times file)
More bike commuting to make parking easier — or fewer bike lanes to open up more spots? (MIke Siegel / Seattle Times file)

We need better cycling infrastructure

“Bicycle. I use it for most local activities and don’t have to worry about paying or looking for parking (although there is a shortage of bike racks). Also I can bypass traffic jams. For those who don’t have the stamina for cycling, consider an e-bike. They’re great “hill levelers,” so I hear. Also, help support more cycling infrastructure so you don’t have to ride in traffic. And, yes, I pay property taxes and vehicle licenses, so I am paying my share of local road maintenance.”

— Peri Hartman

 

Maybe bikes are the problem

“Stop turning Seattle’s streets into a political gift for the Sierra Club and the Cascade Bicycle folks.”

— Gary Kunis

 

You can find parking, if you look off-street

“Unless you know where you can find easy, free parking, just go to a parking garage. There are apps to help you find a cheap place to safely park your car.”

— Taylor

 

The city should charge more for on-street parking … and you should be willing to pay for it

“It’s not hard to solve the parking problem: Charge market rates for parking passes and spaces. If a given area has, say, 500 available viable street spots, auction 500 passes online, in which the 500th lowest bid is the price. Auction theory is well-understood by economists. It’s not hard to ensure reasonable parking. We just have to make people pay for what they use. Undercharging results in overuse and shortages.”

— Jake Seliger

 

Pedestrians heading toward Pike Place Market have the right idea. In some areas, walking to your location can be easier, cheaper and faster than driving and finding parking. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
Pedestrians heading toward Pike Place Market have the right idea. In some areas, walking to your location can be easier, cheaper and faster than driving and finding parking. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

Don’t drive, there are plenty of other options

“Don’t expect publicly subsidized storage for your private property to be an inalienable right. If you can’t find a public spot right in front of your destination, plan on using one of the myriad private lots in the immediate vicinity. There are too many people with too many cars to expect to find hyper-convenient, cheap public parking. A much better idea is to carpool, walk, bike, or use transit.”

— Zachary Crumbo

 

No cars downtown, ever!

“No cars in downtown Seattle! No cars — no parking problem. Replace cars in downtown with a public transit system that works … and if you want to keep playing around with tolls, toll anyone who wants to drive into downtown Seattle.”

— Peggy Steele

 

Think small

“Encourage smaller transportation options such as scooters, motorcycles and bicycles that can pack into smaller parking spots. This can be done with free parking spots and more parking spaces for them.”

— Bryce

 

Is this even legal?

“Put your hazard lights on and leave your car in any convenient NO PARKING zone. Because your hazards are on, everyone will understand. You can almost always find a spacious red zone near your desired location, giving you a good hour of convenient free parking.”

— Keith

 

Why hadn’t anyone thought of this?

“Why not add space by dredging Lake Union and Lake Washington and creating artificial land for parking lots?

— Sam Markert

 

Here’s where employers could help

“Encourage the largest employers to relocate within the city or county limits to spread out the congestion. Encourage flex work hours. … The lack of park-and-rides is not the problem, it’s where the people are going that is the problem. Everyone is coming to the center of the circle and then trying to get out.”

— Leon Sanders

 

You couldn’t really blame this driver for not being able to see the No Parking sign here. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
You couldn’t really blame this driver for not being able to see the No Parking sign here. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

Feeling lucky?

“Bend the rules. If your car is mostly parked legally you probably won’t get a ticket. Also after 8, I consider it fair game because there doesn’t seem to be much parking enforcement out.”

— Ryan Johnson

 

It’s the developers’ fault … and quit focusing so much on biking

“Developers need to pay impact fees. Apartments should be required to have adequate parking for their tenants; eliminate special deals involving removing parking requirements. Most critically, SDOT needs to be completely restructured to prioritize real transportation problems (traffic, parking); focus on biking and walking as secondary goals.”

— Jackie Ramels

 

Who are we, Spokane? Build a subway

“Build. A. Subway. Stop thinking you’re the size of Spokane, put on your grown-up pants and start acting like the major city you are, Seattle.”

— Justin Elder

 

A subway and another freeway ought to do it

“Every major metropolitan area in the world has a functioning underground transit system. As a former New Yorker I can tell you that only an idiot would use a personal car to get anywhere in Manhattan. Until there is a viable alternative, the parking and traffic problems in this area will continue, and worsen. More buses are not the answer. Connect every neighborhood with a subway and build another ‘ring highway’ to take the pressure off of I-5.”

— John Lester

 

Just say “no” to Seattle

“Elect a mayor and City Council that isn’t hellbent on eliminating cars and parking. Until then, avoid downtown Seattle. I moved our small company out of downtown and immediately saved $15,000 a year in parking costs. That went right to our bottom line, a concept that seems to elude our political leadership.”

— Jon Flora

 

After finding a spot, the next challenge is figuring out how to pay. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
After finding a spot, the next challenge is figuring out how to pay. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

The “war on cars”

“Avoid Seattle … I live in Lake City. When looking for a job a couple of years ago I turned down all jobs within Seattle city limits and now enjoy an easy, peasy commute to South Everett with plenty of free parking. I don’t shop downtown, I don’t go to downtown. No way, no how! The city is too far, too gone. Give the downtown core to only those that live there. Seattle hates cars! So go north … they love your business and will provide free parking.”

— Scott Leach

 

Oh, what’s the use?

“Give up. Go somewhere else that cares enough to provide convenient parking and access. Taking the bus is NOT realistic. Motorcycling used to be, until the city went to the kiosks and charged for motorcycle parking. It will be a LONG time before the light rail is a useful option, if ever.”

— Anthony Goodson

 

Parking problem? What parking problem?

“Nothing should be done about it. As more and more technology powers car trips, eventually almost all car trips will be by a driverless vehicle, dropping people at their destination and then moving on to the next person in a highly effective, efficient manner. As these come online, there could possibly be a central depot for them for quick deployment in extremely high use, but because they are automated, they don’t require ‘parking’ — they could be lifted and stacked in columns and then deployed like a Pez dispenser going downward. But our current mindset of open-lot parking spaces will be obsolete. We shouldn’t build out for something that will probably be totally obsolete in 25 to 40 years.”

— Daniel Doran

 

You could always try this

“I have … a prayer I have been saying for the last 40 years (always works, OK, 95 percent of the time). “Dear Mary full of Grace, Lupe needs that parking space.” My parking spot appears. Good luck.”

— Lupe