There are two fundamental ways of thinking about parking and car access. One view, understandably common among local businesspeople, is concern that some new activity will reduce the abundance of free public parking. It’s an entirely reasonable attitude for incumbent business owners to take.
What’s harder to understand is how higher demand for parking is against the interests of the city at large, but Councilmember Tom Rasmussen feels that way about the arena, possibly after listening to those incumbent business interests:
Add the arena into the mix, Rasmussen says, and the parking crush is only going to get worse. “Any major attraction that’s going to draw people is going to have an impact on parking further north” of the arena, which would be in SoDo. “People may come early, they may dine and give themselves 45 minutes to walk to the arena. There isn’t a lot of capacity.”
Follow this argument to its logical conclusion, and the City Council should actively militate against attractions in Seattle. The various venues and festivals at Seattle Center make parking much harder in Uptown and Belltown. UW makes parking much more difficult in the University District. Like any other activity that draws people, a new arena will make parking either more scarce or more expensive. That’s a vibrant city, not a problem to be averted.
There are plenty of reasons to be upset about the arena, but more competition for parking is one of those “concerns” that we should toss in the trash bin.