EDITORIAL: New parking rates are a good step forward

Street parking in the International District has been an issue for a while. In tandem with the weak economy, restaurants in the International District have seen a drop in dinner-time business by up to 40 percent since the original increase in parking rates. But there’s good news. After much work by the CIDBIA, parking rates will finally be dropping in March.

Though it’s not a return to pre-2012 levels, it’s a good start.

The new rates will see the outer parts of the International District drop to $2 an hour for parking from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Most importantly, parking is free after 6 p.m. Unfortunately, streets in the center of the International District (King and Weller between 6th and 8th) won’t see a return to free dinner-time parking, which would have been the most helpful thing for the district. The central portion is, of course, where the bulk of the restaurants and businesses are located, but things like these are about compromise and once the rates drop, there will be no restaurants further than one block away from free street parking.

A bright spot is that the city has pledged to work actively with the ID for the next six months to look at data and make any additional decisions.

A commitment to continue working with us is almost as good as a return to full free dinner-time parking. With some hard work and cooperation, hopefully we’ll be able to return business in Chinatown to levels before the recession and, eventually, continue to grow. (end)

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