Hockey fans who drive to Seattle Center for games this fall could see higher on-street parking rates near Climate Pledge Arena as part of the city’s effort to discourage travel by car.
Under a proposal before the City Council on Monday, drivers would pay $3 per hour for their first two hours of street parking and $8 per hour for the second two hours during events that attract 10,000 or more guests.
That means Uptown visitors parking near the arena who spend four hours shopping, eating and watching the Kraken play would pay $22 to park. On-street parking would be limited to four hours during the day and evening hours.
The proposal also gives the city authority to charge up to $12 per hour in the area immediately surrounding the arena during large events.
“However, I want to make very clear that our intent in October, when the arena opens, is not to charge $12 an hour,” said Mike Estey, the manager of curbside management at the Seattle Department of Transportation.
The agency would evaluate street parking usage during games and other events quarterly and make adjustments as needed.
“Our job is to price the on-street parking in the Uptown area to prevent eventgoers from circling for cheap on-street parking and causing a lot of congestion,” he said.
Currently, parking rates in Uptown can range between 50 cents and $5 per hour.
Seattle Storm games don’t typically attract crowds of 10,000 spectators or more, but women’s basketball fans could face the same event-rate parking fees if attendance grows, Ethan Bergerson, a spokesperson for SDOT, said.
The changes won’t apply to areas in the Chinatown International District around T-Mobile Park and Lumen Field, under an amendment sponsored by Councilmember Tammy Morales.
“I firmly believe folks in the Chinatown International District have as much right to set the terms for their neighborhood rates as the folks in Lower Queen Anne,” she said. However, she added that she is “fully committed to moving our city away from a dependence on driving, supporting more robust multimodal networks, and prioritizing public transportation and biking and rolling.”
Meetings and discussions with community members in Sodo, Pioneer Square and the Chinatown ID would precede any parking rate changes there, and “we don’t have any intent in the near future to consider event paid-parking rates around the stadiums,” Estey said.
Hockey fans purchasing tickets would receive information about parking fees, varying based on distance from the arena, and how to access the area by transit or biking, said Ruth Harper, head of SDOT’s Residential Parking Zone program.
SDOT would update signs with new information about event-rate parking, and changes will be announced through the Pay-by-Phone app and within pay stations.
Council President M. Lorena González said the city should do more to discourage driving.
In a committee meeting on the proposal, González asked “how we as a city are fulfilling our obligation to prevent people from making the decision in the first place to drive and try to park in Uptown?”
“I still think we’re making it really easy for people, particularly for those who are wealthy, to get in their cars and congest our streets,” she said. “What are we doing to make it harder?”
Garage-parking fees will also be higher the closer you get to the arena, Harper said. For example, if you park in a garage near Westlake and take the 90-second Seattle Center Monorail ride in, it will be cheaper.
The Arena Access Management Plan for the Climate Pledge Arena calls for no more than 55% of attendees using private vehicles to get to a game. The plan calls for that rate to drop to 31% by 2035.
SDOT is also planning to build protected bicycle lanes on First Avenue and Broad Street in Queen Anne to encourage more biking to games and other events.