Parking the moped
Some who ride will tell you the biggest problem isn’t riding, it’s parking. Seattle seems especially schizophrenic on this subject, saying it would be great if more people would ride scooters but zealously slapping $35 tickets on 2-wheelers far and wide.
Things are improving, however. Not to the point where buying an annual sticker for 25 or 30 bucks gets you free parking in metered spaces (this is difficult for local government to grasp, probably because it’s too easy), but some parking garage operators are starting to get it.
I needed to stop at REI’s flagship store, and was a bit dismayed to see they now charge to park in the underground garage if you’re there for more than an hour. Okay, I’ll do my errand quickly and split. You’ll have to feed the green kiosk if you park on Yale.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to see an area in the garage where people used to park scooters and motorcycles is now officially designated “Motorcycle Parking.” Someone was paying attention. Some kind of deal for 2-wheelers would be nice, but maybe if lots more bikes took advantage of the newly-marked spot that might happen.
The city-owned Pacific Place garage downtown has a couple of sweet deals. Five bucks gets you and your bike a spot in one of several large motorcycle parking areas. The best part is, you don’t take a ticket—you go around the gate, park and give your money to the cashier on the concierge level. You even have in and out privileges!
When you pay, you put your bike’s description and license plate number on a list. I get the impression the fiver expires at midnight.
But there’s another deal: after 5:00 pm, four bucks gets you four hours. They say this is intended for people attending plays and concerts downtown. At the moment, on Monday and Thursday nights I’m taking a class that runs from 6:00 to 9:00 at 4th & Union, so this might offer a savings over the motorcycle space. But I don’t know how taking up a whole space with one scooter would go over. And the motorcycle spots are just a few steps away from the elevator.
Still, a much better deal than the metered motorcycle spaces in front of Tully’s at 4th & Union. Those only last two hours, and feeding the meter is not an option, for a variety of reasons.