SEATTLE -- Starting later this summer, you will need to know your license plate number if you want to use Seattle's public parking. The city council just voted to phase out parking stickers.
You know the ones. You finally find a parking spot; get out of the car, go to the nearest parking meter, pay for however much time you're planning to stay, and go back to your vehicle armed with a printed sticker to display on the window or dashboard.
The system works, but there are limitations. If you accidentally put your sticker on the wrong window, you risk getting a ticket. If your visit goes longer than you expected, you have to run back to the car and pay for more parking. And of course, you're putting stickers on glass, which can leave sticky residue behind.
Enter the parking app. Once you've downloaded the app and set up an account (using your license plate number and credit card info) all you have to do is enter your location and click "pay." Receipts go to your email; the app sends alerts when your time is about to run out; and you can add more time if you need to. Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien says about 30% of the drivers parking in Seattle use the app. The other 70% rely on parking stickers.
It turns out, having two ways to pay is making a lot of extra work for parking enforcement officers, because there's no way to tell at a glance who has paid for parking and who hasn't.
"Going forward, whether you use a smartphone app or use cash or credit card at the station, you would enter the vehicle license number to verify that you've paid...It streamlines the ability of parking enforcement officers to check one specific place to see if this vehicle's paid or not, as opposed to [checking] both on the database...and check the sticker." O'Brien told the council.
You'll still be able to get a printed receipt from the parking meters if you're worried about documentation. Parking meters will be updated to work with the new system later this year.