Sunday, April 1, 2012

What this blog is all about

This blog is about what parking in Seattle is really like.

I live in Seattle and while I bus and bike often, I also own a car and sometimes it's just easier to drive. After the city of Seattle changed parking rates throughout the city, there has been a lot of media attention to what effect this would have and many critics have stated that parking in Seattle is impossible and that the price of parking keeps them away from their favorite restaurants and shops.

From my personal experience, I never seem to have an issue with parking and nothing so drastic that it would keep me from a place that I love. With the negative message in the media and my general experience of parking being a non-issue, I felt that it would be a good idea to generate some actual numbers that could be discussed and used to answer the question, "Is parking really that bad in Seattle?"

Data is entered to the best of my abilities when I'm parking wherever I happen to be going. This is an informal study on my own time, which means that there is no attempt to survey the entire city (although I do end up parking in some of the busiest areas, so it should be fairly representative). Here's how I collect my data:
  1. The timer starts when I start looking for parking after turning off of a main road. 
  2. The timer continues until I have found a spot that is legal for that given time, that fits my car, and is where I actually parked for that occasion. It stops when I start parking.
  3. If I am parking in a garage or parking lot, the timer continues until I am in the garage and have found an available spot and start to pull in to it.
  4. If the spot that I pull into turns out to be illegal or unavailable for some reason (lot full or a misread sign), the timer picks up as if it had never stopped. 
  5. I enter the data in to a personal online survey with my phone, which is then automatically posted here. Information includes what I submit and a rolling average of time spent looking for parking, distance for my destination, and the overall cost per hour. 
    1. Average time is the sum of the time spent looking for all entries, measured in minutes, divided by the number of entries.
    2. Average distance is the sum of the distance from destination for all entries, measured in blocks, divided by the number of entries.
    3. Average cost is the total cost of parking associated with all entries (unpaid parking is counted as $0 per hour) divided by the total time spent parked in all those entries.
  6. This is focused on personal expenses and inconvenience caused by parking. Unpaid parking is counted as $0 per hour, regardless of if it is on the street or business provided. Validated parking is counted as the total out of pocket expense for parking so long as the goods or services purchased to receive validation would have been purchased anyways.
A couple basic rules about the results I post:
  1. Parking at home for the night is not included or entered.
  2. The parking must be on public access or in a paid public garage.
  3. In many areas, parking is not remotely an issue. Parking in these areas will not be included to ensure that the focus remains on the busiest areas of Seattle and the major Seattle neighborhoods.

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