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Seattle's latest push to restrict parking tells us a lot about priorities

parking KOMO_paybyphone.jpg

A Seattle City Council committee is proposing reducing parking city-wide. The proposal, made during Wednesday’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting, would limit the number of parking spaces required for residential buildings; reduce parking in areas well-served by mass transit; prohibit parking on some streets and in certain neighborhoods; and limit parking in city parks. (Photo: KOMO News)

New year, new month, same old Seattle.

According to our sister station, KOMO News, Seattle's city council will soon establish even tighter parking restrictions to discourage drivers in an effort to force them to rely on mass transit. It's an obvious and blatant example of social engineering. When you can't get someone to use your product (light rail and bus service), just make it extremely difficult for them to use their preferred method of mobility.

But that's just the macro. How about a few thoughts on the micro-economics of this news story:

1.) For all the money that Seattle voters are approving for mass transit ($54+ billion for ST, bus levies, etc) why doesn't anyone want to ride the Seattle City Council's fantastic mass transit system (and instead prefer their cars!)???

2.) How do you feel if you're a Seattle business owner (Capital Hill, So.Lake Union, Beltown, downtown, etc) with the city actively discouraging drivers from accessing your business? Or making it far more time consuming for customers to access your business by waiting for buses. And what if your business isn't located in proximity to the current light rail line? The city is telling customers: don't even bother coming to Seattle neighborhoods if you're driving a car.

3.) The Seattle city council wants to crack down on shoppers/commuters driving/parking but council members like Mike O'Brien are crowing about how they want to do more to allow homeless RV campers to park their rigs wherever they want for extended periods of time. Quite the hypocrisy, city council!

4.) In 15-20 years when many (if not most) cars are non-polluting and/or automated as the internal-combustion engine goes the way of the horse and carriage, how will the Seattle City Council demonize cars and drivers when they pollute as much as a bicycle does? When zero-emission, automated cars are no longer polluting and/or congesting the planet, where will the ridership levels for $54-$74 billion (for all three phases) of mass transit be in Pierce, Snohomish and King County??

5.) This news story is a perfect example of carpool lanes. The majority of Puget Sounders want everyone else to carpool so they can have a faster commute. In "polite" Seattle it appears that pro-transit voters are doing the same thing: they hope everybody else rides transit so they can continue driving their car.

I'm sure some pollyannas will write off these questions/complaints with some mantra that 'the transit system is only partially complete'. But these same pollyannas love to talk about the need for sustainability.

The Seattle city council is obviously terrified that their commitment to an exorbitant light rail system is clearly not financially sustainable so their only hope is to prevent car travel anywhere near the city in an effort to create a transportation monopoly. Don't be surprised if the Seattle city council eventually starts to put up more road blocks to ride sharing like Uber and Lyft in an effort to insulate their unpopular transit system. They've already started doing this with their recent tax levied on room/rental sharing like Air BnB and VRBO.


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