Special parking rules ease musicians' blues

SEATTLE -- Sometimes figuring out parking rules in Seattle is like sight-reading a symphony.

And if you're trying to haul musical instruments and gear to actually play a symphony, you might as well expect a parking ticket.

"I don't really know how realistic it is to unload anything in three minutes," said Sherrill Gossett-Moore, the manager of Tula's in Belltown.

She says musicians are often slapped with parking tickets for parking in loading zones too long when unloading for a gig.

"It took a good 15 minutes of wasted time just to find a spot that I could double park to load stuff in," Matt Jorgensen said. He is a drummer playing big band originals at Tula's Monday night. He said it is such a hassle to park near venues that he drives his car from his Shoreline home with his bicycle in the back seat.

Monday he ditched the car at Green Lake and pedaled downtown with his cymbals in a backpack.

He supports Mayor Murray's new move to create "Musicians Priority Loading Zones" near different clubs around the city.

The zones aren't free parking, but rather extended load zones that give musicians more space and time to get the gig ready to go. The Mayor's office says it is an attempt to help the nightlife culture be safe and supported.

Gossett-Moore says it's a good way to make sure that the musicians' paychecks are larger that parking fines.

"They are artists. They do it for the love, not the money," she said.

The city started the project with five clubs, the High Dive in Fremont, the Crocodile and Tula's in Belltown, Triple Door in downtown and Showbox at Pike Place Market. The Mayor's office wants other clubs to apply and see if the program should expand.