This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
I actually like the new pay stations that Seattle’s been installing the past few years. For one, there are more spaces now around Seattle Center, where I often have to go for an hour or so during the day for my job. I’d rather pay a couple of bucks than circle for 20 minutes looking for a “free” space.
Additionally, I could never seem to keep a sufficient stash of quarters in my car’s ash tray to use the old coin-op meters. Between my coin-op laundry machine, the parking meters, and my geeky desire to collect every one of the new state quarters, I spent way too much time worrying about hoarding quarters.
But it seems like I’m in the minority, Rick Andrerson notes. People hate the new stations, and they’re going to hate them even more when the city starts making you pay 24/7. That last step seems extreme to me, and it seems really extreme to one of Anderson’s sources:
“I would hate to live there if I didn’t have a dedicated parking spot. Now they are talking about 24-hour paid on-street parking. Won’t that make life interesting? Well, if the mayor and city council in Seattle think my friends and I from the Eastside are going to bus down for an evening at Elysian Brewing or any of those other good places, they are mistaken. I can just as easily spend my money on the Eastside and not have to pay the extortion.”
“Extortion” is a strong word, but the commenter has a point, in regards to making people pay after 6pm (which is currently free). The bus service just ain’t there yet. Service during rush hour is great, but going via bus from one neighborhood to another even inside Seattle can take 30-45 minutes at night. All of a sudden meeting someone for dinner is a 3+ hour ordeal.
In other words, if the point is to simply raise revenue for the city, that’s fine I guess. We’ve got to raise revenue somehow. But if the point is to get people out of their cars for after-hours travel, it just isn’t gonna happen.