Some restriping work has already been done, and tomorrow, pay stations will be installed at the about-to-no-longer-be-free West Seattle Junction Association-operated parking lots. We first reported eight days ago that the change was on the way. At 12:01 am Friday, the lots are officially paid parking. So here’s what you need to know. First, here’s a map:
Medium blue marks the Junction lots that are changing from free to paid – off 44th SW just south of Oregon, off 42nd SW just south of Oregon, on the southeast corner of 44th and Alaska, and off 44th north of SW Edmunds. Dark blue marks lots that are already paid, but are not and have not been managed by WSJA.
Not shown on the map – parking that’s not affected and remains free – street parking as well as some parking spaces adjacent to businesses and marked for exclusive use of their customers, such as the spaces behind Chase Bank and Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), plus parts of some garages in the area. WSJA says the lots that are changing over include 228 spaces, a little less than a third of the 720 free and paid parking spaces throughout the business district.
From the WSJA FAQ on the parking change, here are the rates for the lots that are changing, not including taxes and credit-card fees (if any):
$2 for up to two hours
$4 for two to three hours
$6 for three to four hours
$10 for four to ten hours
The charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plans for an “early bird” special are on hold pending a review of the first few months of paid parking. (Some monthly parking is available – email email@example.com if you are interested in information on that.)
You will be able to pay via either the pay stations or via CallToPark. Citations for running overtime or not paying will cost $49, and vehicles with multiple tickets are subject to towing. The first week – January 15th through January 22nd – parkers that go overtime will get warning notices; citations start after that.
The change was inevitable. Backstory, as we explained in this report almost three years ago: The WSJA, a nonprofit Business Improvement Area organization, leases the lots from West Seattle Trusteed Properties, a consortium of local business/property owners. In addition to base rent, WSJA has to cover the cost of the property tax for the sites, which has risen sharply in recent years – tripling between 2016 and 2018 – as it’s all prime, developable land in the heart of one of Seattle’s “urban centers.” WSJA had tried various fundraising campaigns in recent years, but none provided a sizable-enough stream. This won’t cover all the costs either, but it’ll help.