Some cry foul as Seattle agrees to lower parking rate in International District

SEATTLE -- There are good news and bad news for parking rates in Seattle.

After business slowed in the International District, the city agreed to reduce parking rates there to help shop owners. Now businesses in other neighborhoods want the same deal.

Workers at the Seattle Pinball Museum in the I.D. say high parking rates have been driving away customers.

"We charge $10 admission, and we had people tell us they paid as much to park. And they did, to enjoy our business," said Charlie Martin.

After Martin and other businesses complained to City Hall, city officials agreed to lower parking.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced come March, he will lower the parking rate from $2.50 per hour to $1.50 per hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Other areas will offer free parking after 6 p.m.

But the good news for I.D. shops isn't sitting so well for some in other parts of the city.

"Not fair. Definitely not fair," said Seattle driver Nino Tursic, who pays $3 per hour to park in Capitol Hill.

And even in Ballard where the parking rate is $2 per hour, people are not happy. Cyrena Preszler, who owns Trove, says the rate is tough for her workers and customers to manage.

"It would be nice if it was less for my customers," she said, "because the parking situation for people who work around here isn't really the best."

After studying parking rates in the I.D., the city found business there dropped 30 percent.

For Martin, if it's between the city generating income and businesses possibly going under, it's a no-brainer every time.

"You can't have it both ways," she said.

For other neighborhoods like Belltown, the overall success of businesses could be keeping the parking rates higher.

The city plans to take another look at the lowered rates in the International District in about six months.