This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Mayor McGinn, the man who’s (unfairly) been labeled in the press as waging a “war on cars” in Seattle, today announced lower parking rates at the city-owned Pacific Place garage. The Mayor’s critics might expect him to be raising the cost of parking downtown, so this move might throw some off balance.  Plus, it’s good policy: parking should be set at a price that optimizes supply and demand.

Of course, the truth is that Pacific Place has been underperforming for some time, the city’s losing money on it, and the idea of lowering rates to boost performance has been floated before.  Still, it’s a political win for the Mayor in the short term.  Whether it buys him any political capital remains to be seen.

Over to you, Dan.

3 Replies to “The Mayor’s Parking Jujitsu”

  1. i’d say parking prices should take into account supply/demand, but also cost — cost to finance/build structures, costs in externalities (air and noise pollution, induced traffic congestion/delays, injuries and deaths to pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers), etc.

  2. Strange. I think it’s public knowledge that Pacific Place is one of the cheapest lots in the downtown mall area. If they’re struggling to fill the lot, I suspect we have too much parking capacity downtown. This might come from the common tactic of buying up land and sitting on it, waiting for the value to go up. The owners then put some minimal income business on the land to make up for lost taxes: parking or storage are typical. That’s why we see so many at-grade parking lots on some of the most valuable land in the city, and I wonder if these parking lots are creating inflated supply.

    Or maybe another of Dan’s posts explains this. Fewer drivers = fewer parkers.

  3. [Peter] Who should consider this? Just city lots? Then they’d be overpriced and empty. Street parking? Again, overpriced and empty. City mandated pricing for all lots? (including park-and-rides? office buildings? churches? single family home garages?) Good luck with that.

Comments are closed.