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Seattle saying goodbye to those pesky parking stickers

City of Seattle parking slip (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Parking stickers in Seattle are going, going, gone.

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to make upgrades and changes to Seattle's parking ordinances.

The change will allow anyone who parks in Seattle to "pay by plate." Instead of running back to your vehicle and putting a sticker on the window, you'll be able to enter your vehicle's license plate number, choose an amount of time to park, and pay.

Motorists also will be able to create an online account with their payment and vehicle information. That will allow anyone to park, swipe their card, select the car they drove that day and selected a desired time. The information is then entered into the driver's personal account, along with their parking history and previous receipts.

“I’ve used this exact same system in Vancouver, B.C. and the biggest challenge for me was realizing how easy it was," said Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of Commute Seattle. "I felt like, 'Wait, I don’t have to go back to my car? What am I missing something?' It just takes a whole step out of it."

The council's Sustainability and Transportation Committee OK'd the change earlier in a unanimous vote.

Under the measure, all 1,700 of the Seattle's parking stations will be converted to the pay-by-plate format between August and December.

The new system is expected to make life simpler for people who park along Seattle's city streets.

"I know a lot of business men and women use the app because they can stay in their offices all day," said Moira Holified, the Assistant manager at Swink, at beauty salon located in downtown Seattle. "It’s easier. You just plug your license plate in. You don’t always have to have change like you to do with the meters."

However, it will eliminate one benefit of the current system - motorists will no longer be able to park in a new spot if they have time remaining on their original parking location.

City transportation officials say they hope the ease of the new system will more than make up for that loss.

Other changes under the new ordinance would be updated parking signage and updated language to define a pay station.

Nearly 1 million transactions currently are recorded at Seattle parking pay stations each month. The vast majority of motorists - some 71 percent - make their payment at a pay station. About 29 percent pay by phone and 4 percent pay by coin.

Seattle’s Dept. of Transportation says the new Pay by Plate system will be available starting in August.

The meter rates for Pay by Plate will range from $.50 to $5, which they believe will leave one to two spaces open on each block throughout the day.

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