New site to help drivers find parking in Seattle

Parking just got easier in downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square and waterfront neighborhoods thanks to – a new website featuring hours, rates and directions for nearby parking spaces.

Designed to help drivers locate affordable, convenient parking, the Washington State Department of Transportation launched the site this week to encourage visitors to spend time in two of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods during state Route 99 tunnel construction and other local work.

“Instead of circling the block looking for parking, we want people to spend their time enjoying the great things these neighborhoods have to offer,” said Linea Laird, administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “Construction is complex, but parking doesn’t have to be.”

The website features an interactive map that shows the locations of parking garages and lots in both neighborhoods. Addresses, directions, rates and hours are available for each parking facility.

Visitors can access information via the web before leaving home, or via mobile phone.

Nearby businesses hope the site will match their customers with the perfect parking space.

“Having affordable parking available doesn’t help if people can’t find it,” said Bob Donegan, president of Ivar’s Restaurants. “The site makes parking easier by putting valuable information at our customers’ fingertips.”

Even before construction removed spaces in Pioneer Square and on the waterfront, parking was the biggest barrier for people coming to downtown Seattle according to a four-county perception study conducted in 2011 by the Downtown Seattle Association and Metropolitan Improvement District.

Survey respondents specifically mentioned a perceived lack of parking spaces and/or affordable options.

“The reality is that parking is available in these areas, with several parking lots and garages offering rates lower than on-street metered parking,” said Randy Hurlow, vice president/communications and marketing of DSA. “Efforts are now under way to make visitor parking spaces more available and at lower rates.”

Besides the website, online parking ads are currently running in several newspapers throughout Seattle. Efforts to boost parking are funded by WSDOT as part of a commitment to mitigate for the loss of parking during SR 99 tunnel construction.

WSDOT has worked closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation, DSA, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and other stakeholders from the affected neighborhoods to develop a number of strategies to mitigate for lost parking.

Some of those include expansion of the city’s electronic parking guidance system, e-Park; improved signs directing drivers to parking garages and neighborhood attractions; and implementation of special events such as a free-parking campaign last Mother’s Day.


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