Finding parking on busy Capitol Hill now even tougher

SEATTLE -- It's become even tougher to find parking on Seattle's Capitol Hill, and there a reason why: A lot of parking spots are now gone.

Some people are peeved and others are pleased with the changes on Broadway from Denny to Yesler, and it's all part of a bigger plan.

Parking in the area has always been tough, but construction on the First Hill street car project is compounding the problem and taking away even more prized parking spaces.

"It's pretty bad," said Adam Martinez. "We have to go around, see parking and then someone will park there already and we have to go back, check for another spot."

The city hopes to slash the need for that lost parking. The $134 million street car project is connecting Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square so residents, students and workers can reach neighborhoods along the route without driving.

Officials from the Seattle Department of Transportation say 40 percent of the parking along the alignment is disappearing.

"I think it's going to affect a lot of people on Broadway, but it won't affect us too much cause we have two parking lots," said Bill Metcalf.

Some of the parking vanished to make way for Broadway's new cycle track that Capitol Hill's Community Council requested as part of the street car project. It's a two-way bike path, but instead of a painted line, a barrier in the road protects cyclists from cars.

"I think it's great," a resident named Lauren said. "I live in the neighborhood, one of the densest neighborhoods in the city, maybe the country and most people don't have cars. I don't think we need to be accommodating cars necessarily. We're very well served by public transit."

SDOT officials say for now it's a construction zone, and with that comes temporary inconveniences.

Even though the street car isn't on track to be operational until next year, a small stretch of Broadway's cycle track will open in the next few weeks.