Seattle Testing Replacements For Aging, Frustrating Parking Meters

Feb 18, 2014

Paul Freed lives in downtown Seattle and currently uses the city’s app to pay for parking with his phone – even when he’s standing right in front of the meter. “It's way more convenient,” Freed said. “You don’t need to fumble around for your credit card in the rain.”

The app even sends him a text when his time is running out. “Then, more importantly, when you’re at your place you can extend the parking so you never have a ticket,” he said.

The app is sticking around, but the City of Seattle is testing out a new crop of parking pay stations along Fourth Avenue downtown. One of the new machines between Stewart and Bell streets will eventually replace the city’s current parking kiosks which, according to the city, are nearing the end of their life.

The years have not been kind to the old green machines, which now sit shrouded next to their shiny new counterparts. The new machines are all slightly different: Some dispense tickets instead of stickers. Some of them let you both add and subtract time, which isn’t available on the city’s current meters.

Edwin Zhang was running to a meeting when he tried out the new meter near Virginia Street last week. “The controls seem slightly more intuitive. They have the plus one hour, plus fifteen minutes, plus five minute thing – it’s pretty nice," Zhang said.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is hoping the public will help them choose the new meter. They're taking feedback until March 14.