Searching for parking costs Seattle drivers $1,205 per year, study says
SEATTLE -- It's no secret that trying to find a parking space in Seattle can be a huge pain, and struggle.
As it turns out, it can also cost you big money, according to a new Inrix study.
The study claims Seattle drivers spend an average of 58 hours per year searching for parking.
That's the fifth worst of the 10 cities they studied.
According to the report, drivers lose about $1,205 dollars annually in time and fuel. The total loss in Seattle, the study says, is about $490 million per year.
The study's claims are no surprise to Bill Rieg, owner of Seattle Flowers located in Pioneer Square.
Too often Rieg's delivery drivers can't find parking near their store as load zones fill up fast, and several spots along 2nd Avenue were turned into a bike lane.
"My drivers have to park down the street, or drive around the block over and over trying to find a place," Rieg says.
Rieg says he and his staff have paid hundreds of dollars in tickets just this year.
"It's very frustrating," he says.
Seattle Department of Transportation says adding parking spaces isn't a solution, especially with ongoing traffic concerns.
"We are a growing city, we're getting about 1,100 people moving into the city every week," Benjamin De La Peña with SDOT says.
They do adjust parking prices for demand, trying to keep some spaces open. The long term focus, SDOT says, is other modes of transportation.
"More chances to take the bus, more frequent bus, light rail, bike options, safe bike routes, and more walking," De La Peña says.
The study also found 40 percent of drivers say they avoid going to shops because of parking problems.
"Obviously not having customers come down to my store is huge," Rieg says.
The trend is pushing Rieg to a harsh conclusion.
"It doesn't make sense for me to pay what I pay to lease a building downtown," he says.
This September SDOT will relaunch their "Park like a Pro" campaign which shows people where they can find a parking spot for the best deal.