Free all-day parking now a tougher find

Free all-day parking now a tougher find
SEATTLE -- New parking rules took effect for all of Seattle Monday, and it could mean be the end of free all-day parking on many neighborhood streets if you don't have a permit.

One area about to see big changes is Columbia City, where parking is a real challenge. Staff at a nearby school spend each morning circling streets searching for a spot.

"People that work here really have to look," said resident Cait Callen.

On the other hand, once they find a spot, they could park there all day long. And that creates havoc, for example, for people looking for parking on farmer's market days.

But new signs just went up in Columbia City. Street parking will be limited to two hours, and only residents who buy permits will have unlimited parking.

The big change is how neighborhoods will get the new restricted parking zones.

Some busy neighborhoods like Eastlake have restricted parking on neighborhood streets to two hours with the exception of permit holders. But to get those restrictions put in place, residents had to collect signatures, petition the city and pay for a permit.

Now, as a result of a city council vote, the Seattle Department of Transportation will decide whether each neighborhood should restrict parking. And the change isn't sitting well with everyone.

"I think it's ridiculous 'cause that's in front of my house. And I don't want to have to buy a parking sticker," said resident Julia Allison.

The new parking rules limit the number of parking permits to four per household. And residents in Columbia City say they have a two-year reprieve before they have to start paying for their permits, which are valid for two years and cost around $45.

The changes coincide with next month's opening of the new light rail system. There's no parking at the train stations. That means the new rules may prevent commuters from leaving their cars on neighborhood streets all day. Commuters who park near the tracks in Columbia City without a permit can only be parked in that spot for two hours.

"I think it was one of those things just bound to happen," said Columbia City resident Michael Ross. "Parking all over the city is getting tighter all the time."